The Life of Louie Zamperini

Biography Project for Mrs. Hemry's 8th grade Language Arts class
made by Peter D. about the book "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.

Louie Zamperini January 26, 1917 - July 2, 2014 at the age of 97.

Events That Affected Him

  • World War 2.
  • The Spanish Flu epidemic.
  • The overtake of the Nazi party in Germany.
  • The bombing of Wake.
  • Billy Graham bringing religion to California.


    Louie was born in January 26, 1917 at the city of Olean, New York. At a young age Louie and his family moved to California The Golden State. He was a very rebellious kid a good example was. When he was 3 sick in bed with pneumonia he hopped through  the window and streaked through town. Also he always got in trouble for pulling pranks and stealing anything that he could find. He had no regard for his body at all. Louie smoked at 5. And started to drink at 8. The thing that I think was the coolest of all. Louie would dig caves to store all the loot that he had stolen.


     He was a delinquent failing grades, and getting in trouble countless of times. The principal called down Louis' brother Pete a star runner and excellent student.  Together they had come to a conclusion. Pete would get Louie to start running for the team to get rid of some of his energy. So every morning Pete would get Louie outside and running. Soon Louie was the fastest on the team. Louie finally stopped smoking and drinking for it made him slow. Louie loved running he was the best in his school shattering several school records.

People of Influence

  • Pete: His only brother helped him through his trouble making childhood by. Introducing him to running at school. Like most big brothers Pete forced Louie to run or else he would get in huge trouble at school.
  • Louise (Mom): Louie and his mom where always very close. She knew what was ever on his mind. She was one of the biggest reasons why he wanted to get home. To see his mom.
  • Phil: The one person that made the Air Force bearable. Him and Phil where always together the most best of friends.  He was the pilot of their B-24 plane.
  • Anthony (Dad): He supported him through everything. Him running away for a week during the depression giving Louie the little money they had. And helping his family through the absence of Louie.
  • Virginia: His youngest sister. Growing up Louie was a extremely over protective brother. He always kept a keen eye his little sister.

Unique Facts

  1. Louie and his family can speak Italian.
  2. Sadly post-war Louie turned into a alcoholic. Almost ruining his marriage.
  3. Him and his crew nicknamed their plane Super-Man!
  4. At the POW camps the Japanese kept him alive for the chance of him being a propaganda tool.
  5. He met Hitler at the Olympic Games. There while being intoxicated he almost got shot for stealing a Nazi flag.  


  1. Louie came 7th in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
  2. He had the position of a bombardier in the Air Force.
  3. Successfully bombed the Japanese city of Wake.
  4. He survived starvation,slavery, and abuse at Japanese POW camps.
  5. He quit alcoholism after he forgave his captors and put the war in his past.


       The theme of Louie Zampertini's life is. What it means to be a survivor. Also hope is a topic of the story. He went through so much but he never left them break him. Hence the title "Unbroken."

Words of Advice

In the story it never really said any advice directly from Louie. So I am putting just what I have learned from him.
  • Work hard and you will achieve your goal.: Every day Louie would get up at the crack of dawn and run. Soon he was the fastest person at his school. Then he made it to the Olympics. He went above and beyond most of us has ever done.
  • Even in the worst of places there is always room for kindness.: At a POW camp he was abused very badly. But there was a beam of hope for Louie. And his name was Kawamura. He was the only person to be kind to Louie for months. Later we learned that he was killed for being kind, or as they called it "weak."
  • Revenge is never the answer.: Years after the war he wanted to meet his most cruel captor "The Bird." He would beat Louie at every chance. He saw Louie as a target. After the war Louie returned to Japan and asked if he could talk to him. He refused. But "The Bird" was given a note from Louie saying that Louie is at peace with him. And that he forgives "The Bird."


Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken. London: Fourth Estate, 2011. Print.

"Remembering the "Unbroken" Spirit of Louis Zamperini." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.

"Angelina Jolie and Louis Zamperini Talk about Unbroken Today Show by Tom Brokaw." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.


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