Study Guide

Unbroken War

By Laura Hillenbrand


Take a look at the cover of Unbroken.

Oops. Wrong Unbroken. Take a look at this cover. "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption"—it's right there on the cover: World War II. So of course war is a theme.

Unbroken is less about the politics of war, however, and more about the horrors of war. Atrocities weren't just committed by the Japanese, and Louie often falls victim to mishaps caused by his very own country, the one he's sworn to protect. It feels like all is un-fair when it comes to war. 

Questions About War

  1. Imagine Louie's life if WWII hadn't happened. How would it have been different? Would he have been a track star? Would he have met Sylvia?
  2. Do you wish Unbroken had gone into more information about the world politics around WWII, or are you glad it focused mostly on Louie's story?
  3. Why were some of the Japanese guards nice to the POWs? Does war turn good people bad, or does it only bring out the bad in people who already have it in them?

Chew on This

Some of the greatest atrocities of war are inflicted on Louie by his own country. He's forced to fly constantly, in planes that are shoddily constructed and lack proper emergency supplies. It's amazing his own country's shortcomings don't kill him.

Not everyone agrees with the war. Louie is befriended by some Japanese who put people before politics. 

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