Hannibal Free Public Library
1. Was there something special about Louie that could be seen at an early age or did his actions reflect more on a style of parenting? (e.g., climbing out the window and running down the street as a two year old with pneumonia or jumping off the train to California)
2. Louie moved from being a rambunctious toddler into what some would call a delinquent. Did you find it difficult to empathize with Louie given his devious behavior?
3. Do you think in today’s society Louie would face more trouble with the law or school authorities as a young person?
4. What are the ways in which Louie’s childhood prepared him for his time in the war?
5. What impact did seeing the German dirigible Graf Zepplin have on Louie as a12-year-old boy? Why did Hillenbrand choose to open the book with this image?
6. If his older brother Pete had not come up with a plan to get him into track, would Louie’s life have been different? How?
7. Did the Great Depression prepare Louie, and perhaps others of his generation, to persevere through the great hardships they would later face in the war?
8. Why did young Louie long to be a cowboy?
9. How was Louie able to set the NCAA record for the mile with a cracked rib, cut shins, and a bloody foot?
10. What did you take away from Louie’s time on the boat to Berlin? Can you believe he gained 12 pounds eating the almost unlimited amount of food?
11. Louie came in 7th place at the Berlin Olympics, but had such a fast stride at the end that Hitler wanted to meet him. What did you think of this experience?
12. Do you think Louie would’ve broken the 4-minute mile if it hadn’t been for the war?
13. How many of you knew Zamperini survived? Did that affect your reading of the book?
14. Did anyone find it unusual that Louie had so many photographs of these different times in