Summary and Analysis Part I Chapter 3: The Torrance Tornado


By 1934, teenage runner Louie Zamperini is a force to be reckoned with. He runs the mile in 4:21.3, setting a national high school record, and earns the adoration of his local community as well as the nickname, “The Torrance Tornado.” Setting his sights on the 1936 Olympics to be held in Germany, Louie surprises everyone and makes the Olympic team at the Olympic Trials in New York City


Pete’s intervention in Louie’s life not only redeems Louie from criminal activity, it also gives Louie an emotional center and a sense of competence and confidence he hasn’t had before. While Louie had previously been a neighborhood scourge, he now becomes a neighborhood hero. Earning his community’s respect and acceptance changes Louie’s view of himself and expands his goals in life.

Reaching the Olympic Games in Germany becomes the first symbol of Louie’s newfound self. Will he have the grit and determination it takes to reach that pinnacle? The old Louie would have given up, but buoyed by the faith of others—his brother, his family and friends, and even the girls who flirted with him as a popular athlete—Louie exceeds even his own expectations.

Pop Quiz!

Why did young Louie take up running as a sport?


In 1984, does Winston die from a bullet at the end of the book or is he in a dream-state?

Back to Top