This is the story of one man during a specific time in history. While we will learn about his remarkable story, and his remarkable character, we also get the sense that Louie is one man among many who will be drawn into the historical moment of the coming world war. The early characterization of Louie does not make him seem like he will ever be a success. He gets in so much trouble and does so many misdeeds. As a young man, he has many strikes against him, but he is also resilient and is accustomed to being an underdog. We also get a strong sense of the cultural setting, too. His parents are hard-working immigrants in a new land, and Louie’s defiance might be rebellion against the prejudices he encountered as a member of a biased group. Hillenbrand also gives readers a feeling for California during the 1920 and 30s.