For Students

Hello Students of Middleboro High School!

The mission of the
Middleborough Schools is…
“to prepare all students to excel as
educated, responsible, global citizens.”

Here are a few questions for you to keep in mind, by section and by subject, as you read along.


  • How does Hillenbrand’s use of imagery and third person perspective impact the category of the novel as a nonfiction memoir?


  • In Louie’s boyhood, he was severely bullied, and then became a delinquent and hellraiser. In these experiences, did he already display attributes that would help him survive his wartime ordeal? Did he also show weaknesses or tendencies that foreshadow the struggle he would face postwar (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Why, after World War II, did the medical profession fail to acknowledge Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
  • Did Louis’ athletic career help prepare him for what he would face in war? What characteristics do athletes and soldiers share?


  • Unbroken reveals that, under the “kill-all” order, the Japanese planned to murder all POWs , a plan that was never carried out because of the dropping of the atomic bombs. The book also explores the lengths to which the Japanese were prepared to do avoid surrender. How did the book make you feel about America’s use of the atomic bomb on Japan?
  • Why has most WWII literature focuses on the European war, with so little attention paid to the Pacific war?


  • How does the leadership of a country affect the behaviors and actions of its people?


  • Find example within the novel where math is vital for the character.


  • In the book Unbroken, Louie’s plane is shot down and he survives 47 days at sea only to be captured by the Japanese, tortured and starved in a POW camp. Compare and contrast the survival methods needed to survive both at sea and in the POW camp.
  1. Biology – How did Louie maintain homeostasis in his body?
  2. Chemistry – What were some of the physical and chemical challenges Louis had to overcome?
  3. Physics – Louie and the other member of his crew flew a B-24 bomber. The author describes several combat incidents that result in damage to the plane, after which it safely returns to base. In Louis’ final flight, the plane is damaged, but not as a result of combat, and ultimately crashes. Consider the forces that act on an airplane in flight. Create a diagram that indicates the plane and the forces that act on it when it is flying. Create a second diagram that shows the forces acting on the plan when it starts to crash. Discuss the difference, in terms of the identified forces, between the two diagrams.
  4. Technology – What modern technological advances would have assisted Louis and his crew when there were stranded?


  • How does the novel demonstrate aspects of both the American and Japanese culture?


Adult Books for 9-12 Grade/University and College Random House Discussion Questions


Thank you to Laurie Davis, English Department & One Book One School Committee Chair for support of this initiative and providing these questions.