Quotes from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand ·  473 pages

Rating: (584.8K votes)


“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when their tormentors suffer.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought: Let go.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“What God asks of men, said [Billy] Graham, is faith. His invisibility is the truest test of that faith. To know who sees him, God makes himself unseen.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“When he thought of his history, what resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperini, the war was over.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louie and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work toward their survival, and each success renewed their physical and emotional vigor. Mac's resignation seemed to paralyze him and the less he participated in their efforts to survive, the more he slipped. Though he did the least, as the days passed, it was he who faded the most. Louie and Phil's optimism, and Mac's hopelessness, were becoming self-fulfilling.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Such beauty, he thought, was too perfect to have come about by mere chance. That day in the center of the Pacific was, to him, a gift crafted deliberately, compassionately, for him and Phil. Joyful and grateful in the midst of slow dying, the two men bathed in that day until sunset brought is, and their time in the doldrums, to an end.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when they make their tormentors suffer. In seeking the Bird's death to free himself, Louie had chained himself, once again, to his tyrant. During the war, the Bird had been unwilling to let go of Louie; after the war, Louie was unable to let go of the Bird.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Finally, I wish to remember the millions of Allied servicemen and prisoners of war who lived the story of the Second World War. Many of these men never came home; many others returned bearing emotional and physical scars that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. I come away from this book with the deepest appreciation for what these men endured, and what they scarified, for the good of humanity. It is to them that this book {Unbroken} is dedicated,”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Louie found the raft offered an unlikely intellectual refuge. He had never recognized how noisy the civilized world was. Here, drifting in almost total silence, with no scents other than the singed odor of the raft, no flavors on his tongue, nothing moving but the slow porcession of shark fins, every vista empty save water and sky, his time unvaried and unbroken, his mind was freed of an encumbrance that civilization had imposed on it. In his head, he could roam anywhere, and he found that his mind was quick and clear, his imagination unfettered and supple. He could stay with a thought for hours, turning it about.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Without dignity, identity is erased. In its absence, men are defined not by themselves, but by their captors and the circumstances in which they are forced to live.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“His conviction that everything happened for a reason, and would come to good, gave him laughing equanimity even in hard times.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“I just thought I was empty and now I'm being filled...and I just wanted to keep being filled.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness, had fallen away. That morning, he believed, he was a new creation. Softly, he wept.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“People had long conversations with him, only to realize later that he hadn't spoken.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Louie found himself thinking of the moment at which he had woken in the sinking hull of Green Hornet, the wires that had trapped him a moment earlier now, inexplicably, gone. And he remembered the Japanese bomber swooping over the rafts, riddling them with bullets, and yet not a single bullet had struck him, Phil, or Mac. He had fallen into unbearably cruel worlds, and yet he had borne them. When he turned these memories in his mind, the only explanation he could find was one in which the impossible was possible.
What God asks of men, said Graham, is faith. His invisibility is the truest test of that faith. To know who sees him, God makes himself unseen.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“But on Kwajalein, the guards sought to deprive them of something that had sustained them even as all else had been lost: dignity. This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be dehumanized, to be cleaved from, and cast below, mankind.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“I am in an altogether new world now. I can think of nothing more wonderful. It is a real touch of all that heaven means.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“If I knew I had to go through those experiences again," he finally said, "I'd kill myself.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Louie was furious at the sharks. He had thought that they had an understanding:The men would stay out of the sharks' turf - the water - and the sharks would stay off of theirs - the raft. That the sharks had taken shots at him when he had gone overboard, and when the raft had been mostly submerged after the strafing, had seemed fair enough. But their attempt to poach men from their reinflated raft struck Louie as dirty pool. He stewed all night, scowled hatefully at the sharks all day, and eventually made a decision. if the sharks were going to try to eat him, he was going to try to eat them.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“We just sat there and watched the plane pass the island, and it never came back," he said. "I could see it on the radar. It makes you feel terrible. Life was cheap in war.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“That night, before he tried to sleep, Louie prayed. He had prayed only once before in his life, in childhood, when his mother was sick and he had been filled with a rushing fear that he would lose her. That night on the raft, in words composed in his head, never passing his lips, he pleaded for help.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“Only the laundry knew how scared I was.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“some men may be wired for optimism, others for doubt.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“She dressed in bohemian clothes, penned novels, panted, and yearned to roam forgotten corners of the world. She was habitually defiant and fearless, and when she felt controlled, as she often did, she could be irresistibly willfull. Mostly, she was bored silly by the vanilla sort boys who trailed her around, and by the stodgy set in Miami Beach.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


“ALL HE COULD SEE, IN EVERY DIRECTION, WAS WATER. It was June 23, 1943. Somewhere on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Army Air Forces bombardier and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay across a small raft, drifting westward. Slumped alongside him was a sergeant, one of his plane’s gunners. On a separate raft, tethered to the first, lay another crewman, a gash zigzagging across his forehead. Their bodies, burned by the sun and stained yellow from the raft dye, had winnowed down to skeletons. Sharks glided in lazy loops around them, dragging their backs along the rafts, waiting.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, quote from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption


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About the author

Laura Hillenbrand
Born place: in Fairfax, Virginia, The United States
Born date May 15, 1967
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