unbroken Chapters 1 +2 The book so far is based around the story of an Italian boy named Louie Zampernini and his family. Louie’s father and mother moved from Italy and brought themselves up in a half-acre field with a one-room shack. “If it was edible, Louie stole it. ” This is an idea brought up constantly in these chapters about Louie’s daring and witty attempts and successes at stealing, fighting, and causing most other kinds of mischief. The book also says that “Confident that he was clever, resourceful and bold enough to escape any predicament, he was almost incapable of discouragement.
When history carried him into the war, this resilient optimism would define him. ” A foreshadowing of the next part of the book when he is brought into the Army Air Corps. As someone interested in the armed forces I can identify with that last quote because there are many occasions when I have seen people bring with themselves their outstanding qualities into the military, this is something that I hope I can do with traits that will better me in service. Chapters 3 + 4 These chapters focus on Louie’s high school and college aspirations.
He was devoted to track running, and he ran a 4minute 21second mile in 1934. His determination and he help of his brother Pete allowed him to place himself into the running team of the US for the Munich Olympics. This brought him much prestige and his family back home was celebrating with the rest of the whole neighborhood. He then was set aboard the luxury steamer Manhattan where he complains about the rocking waves keeping him from practicing like he had been on land. The book says that Louie had gained 12 pounds after leaving the ship.
He writes “Biggest meal I ever ate in my life, and I can’t believe it myself, but I was there… where it went I don’t know. ” I interpret this as a statement of how seeing isn’t always believing. And no matter how close someone is to an event that was right in front of their eyes it could still be so devastating or moving that they don’t actually believe that the even happened. On one hand I think that there is some truth to this “not believing” notion, when someone is so shaken the first response become defensive, whether mental or physical.
But on the other hand I think that is completely ridiculous; If someone sees it with their own eyes or they can go up to it and feel it, take pictures of it and share the same feeling among other people who also witnessed it then I think that ‘not elieving is more of a state of denial. I think that if something incredibly devastating happened to me, I couldn’t Just wish it away and pretend it never happened. These traits of things being right there in front of you but refusal of belief from people share a commonality with ghost stories.
The person in question says that they saw, felt, and heard all the tall tell’ signs of a ghost but whether or not people believe the story Is completely up to Chapters 5 + 6 tnem. Louie is going from a “track team Juggernaut” to the bombardier of the 8-24 Superman. The most outstanding set of lines in these two chapters is the caption nderneath a photo of Louie on page 42 – “with a cracked rib and puncture wounds to both legs and one foot, Louie celebrates his record-setting NCAA Championship victory. This quote is the best foreshadow for the upcoming chapter(s) with him being in the airman corps because it shows anything he sets his mind to can be accomplished through willpower despite pain or danger. Throughout this book Louie is becoming to look like to me less of a person of interest and more of a role model. Of course all his stories aren’t yet told but his inner qualities when he has become a man make me aspire to be someone with more focus and direction. And like Louie, time will help me hone these skills through maturity and experience.
What awaits Louie is hardship unknown to most people, but I don’t know what waits for me down the road but I can try and prepare as best I can to brace for the impact of hard hitting events like death or economic issues or issues in society. Chapters 7 + 8 After many days of sitting on their hands the 372nd squadron was able to carry out an important bombing raid on Wake Atoll; a base located near Midway. This important mission however was going to relentlessly push the limits of the “Flying Coffin” 8-24.
With flimsy high up wings and generally being a brick of a plane with common fuel and engine problems flying this contraption was a difficult Job and “Admiral Chester Nimitz presented the Wake pilots with Distinguished Flying Crosses and their crewmen with Air Medals. ” The mission was a smashing success and to the Americans back home these men were heroes. “In the Honolulu Advertiser, Louie found a cartoon depicting his role in Bombing Wake. He clipped it out and tucked it in his wallet. ” To my amazement this seems to be an under-emphasized passage from the book but I like it because of two reasons.
The first reason being that comics were an easy way to convey messages to the general public. This comic or those around its time period had to be funny or clever to the audience. And to the military it was a quick check-in for how they were doing in the eyes of the citizens. The second reason is that this is something outside of the military that Louie is keeping on his person and I wonder if we (the reader) will see this later on. Does it hold any real significance to the plot of the book? The men of the bombing squad were being picked off by crashes and plane malfunctions more than anything.
The death rates ere staggering and without a body there were no funerals. So in ritual when a man never came back and was pronounced dead the men opened his footlocker and had a drink in his honor. cnapters Super Man’s fuel tanks were exceptionally low after a long trip back to repair the nose of the plane that had been shot by an antiaircraft round. Along the way they see a 8-25 crew being rescued from a crash and from sharks. After coming back and repairing they were sent off on another mission to bomb Nauru, this was a difficult task because there were twelve Japanese “Zeros”.
These planes were notorious for their speed and relative power. Getting to Nauru was easy, but bombing and coming back would be a fight for the crews’ lives. The two wingmen planes of Super Man were shot down and left Super Man to carry out the first layer of bombings. The crew successfully hit all three of their targets but afterwards came the peril. 9 Zeros came and pummeled them and the surrounding a-24s but while leaving, Super man was being pursued by 3 Zeros. After shooting down a would-be kamikaze the remaining two punched through the a-24’s Armor with Bullets and the devastating 20mm cannon.
With all these gashes being torn into the plane many of these men were hit nd in dire need of emergency response. After finishing off the two Zeros the men came back with 594 holes in their plane but more importantly a dead crewman; Harry Brooks had died. The men were given not even one night to rest because he Japanese had planned a counter attack. The “stinking six” – Japanese bombers had come to send panic. They did Just what they had planned to do by blowing apart every structure on the air base and sending each man into an array of dugouts.
From Fox- holes dug with helmets to primitive huts the men were everywhere and anywhere they thought they could seek shelter from the onslaught of bombs. Something that sticks out to me is the fact that one soldier was cursing the officers who left the men there, while in fact the officers were digging holes right next to him. From other movies and books IVe read about war it is a generally common thing to have people blame others for things that have gone wrong. Not only blame others but blame people on your own side, the Japanese bombers blowing the hell out of the airbase was their plan.
And is their responsibility yet the soldier picks away at the officers who put them on the island. Chapters 11 + 12 Louie and what remains of his original crew are sent off on a rescue mission to earch for the missing 8-24 piloted by Clarence Corpening. As custom had it Louie wrote “If we’re not back in a week, help yourself to the booze” on a note he placed on his footlocker. Flying for this long in a 8-24, especially doing this type of activity required the men to double and triple check all of the engines and safety equipment in the plane. As fate would have it the plane gave out and the engines one by one were failing.
They crash, the crew of over 9 men had hit the ocean hard. Only 3 of the men survived the crash and were stranded out in the water; Louie, Phil, and Mac. Phil ith a serious head injury and Mac with a destroyed sense of sanity Louie was left in command. My interest lies with Mac, while Louie and Phil are testing their minds Mac is in his own little world, I want to know why he was so distraught by the crash while the others maintain sanity through willpower. The last statement of the chapter was tnat Mac was Tlllea witn Tear as ne Degan to stir – can Tear really snake a man tnls much?
IVe never met a person so destroyed from fear so only the next chapters will tell us. Chapters 13+ 14 When news got back that the Green Hornet had never returned the men had to search for them. Although it was urgent the search had to be postponed until the next morning. A plane had passed over them, a chance for rescue! A flare was shot and dye used, but sadly the fghter didn’t see them. They would have to wait, the sharks were circling them. Though not a threat (yet) the sharks were still there making sleeping very hard. The next day Louie heard a 8-24 engine, it was one of the planes from their own squadron, the 42nd.
The men wasted three valuable flares on trying to signal the plane, one almost hitting the plane. Louie upset at first realized that he too had most likely also missed stranded crewmen while looking for downed lanes. Louie prayed, for rescue, for the first time since his days as a child. On the third day it rained, the best thing to happen to the men since the crash. To savor every drop that came they fashioned mini water holders from the canvas holder of an air-pump. I really am inspired by this part, they are already weak and perhaps mentally weaker too yet they find a reasonably efficient way to capture the water.
If at first you don’t succeed then try again, and these men tried 3 times before getting it the best they could. Mac was seemingly not helpful throughout this chapter, is he going to be this introverted the whole Journey? Chapters 15 + 16 Now it is the 27th day, after a short deliberation the men chose to use flares to attract the attention of a passing bomber. It passed, then came around, the men were so ecstatic. The happiness was short lived because the bomber was Japanese. The men took turns getting shot at and getting charged by the sharks underwater where they hid from the bullets.
Louie was beating away sharks underwater while intermittently coming back up for air. Though the bomber had made several passes it thankfully missed every shot – injuring no one. The bomber left but there was another problem t hand, the sharks took notice of the shredded raft and were flinging themselves on to the raft to try and have at the men. With every pounce the raft leaked more and more air, so the men devised a plan. Two men would combat the sharks and one would pump air like a mad man into the raft. They took roughly 15 minute shifts and this lasted for hours.
Mac shows his true colors and though “he was barely strong enough to pull the pump handle a few times in a row… with the oar he kept every shark away. ” Remarkable, in the face of danger Mac is using his last bits of energy to fght for his life. He knew that if he had failed to repel the sharks the men would die. Speaking of a shortage of men this chapter says that if any of the men had not been there then they would have all perished. Without two men swinging oars the crew would have been eaten. And with nobody pumping the raft would have sunk under and they would have been eaten.
After a night sharks try again, Mac really shines and saves Louie’s life directly. The men decided they were going to get even with the sharks, especially Louie “If the sharks were going to try to eat him, he was going to try ana eat tnem. ” He trlea wltn a Tlve Toot long snarK, tne plan was norrlDly nsuccessful. The second time they tried on a four foot shark, with better planning they had captured the shark and ate the only edible part – the liver. Mac had no energy to live after the day, asking Louie if he was going to die Louie said that he thought he would die that night.
Mac with no reaction went to sleep and died before morning. Louie the following day heard angel singing, but it was only him Phil didn’t hear a thing. This was maybe a sign from within, the inner faith he had renewed from praying may have given him a mental reason to fght, and a mental reason to hear the singing. Finally after the 47th day they were going to reach land. Chapters 17+ 18 So close to the Islands the two remaining men wondered what would await them, there was only one thing in their way – a Japanese boat. Trying to hide they ducked and rowed as fast as they could it was too late, the ship made a b line toward them.
They were hoisted aboard because they were too weak. They were taken to the infirmary, healed up and fed. As soon as the Japanese were their friends they were pronounced healthy. Unfortunately for them that meant that they would be taken to a POW camp and the nice Japanese on the ship could no longer guarantee their lives. Taken to the POW camp on Kwajalein each Phil and Louie were given cells no longer than a man to live in. Phil and Louie were broken, their dignity stricken from them through demeaning acts that were only done to save their lives.
Louie was taken in by officers and asked about the radar system which until that point was only in the USA’s possession. He knew that he had to lie, so he played smart and told truth only to questions that wouldn’t compromise secrets of the US military. Phil did Just the same and they kept secrets safe from the brutal guards and officers. Three weeks of Torturous cell living wasn’t enough for the Japanese, they used Phil and Louie as Test Subjects and among the thousands that died they were safe. With one final interrogation, Louie gave the Japanese the coordinates of fake air bases and was placed into his cell.
They were then taken one last time to meet the Japanese on Kwajalein, so sure of their fate they were prepared to be executed. There was however a change in plans last minute for the men, they were to be put about a naw transport and shipped off to another POW camp on Yokohama. Kawamura was the only guard friendly to them but when he left he was nowhere to be found. Did the officers take him? Maybe his death allowed for the two men to go free. Chapters 19+ 20 Not one day on the ship and the crewmen were beating on both Phil and Louie.
We finally see the cartoon cutout that Louie had in his wallet again. Amazing the things that tie in together, from chapter 7 this artifact is given a purpose. Once taken to the island he is dressed and met with the faithful companion from college, Jimmie Sasaki. He was the head of POW interrogation, a far cry from college buddy. After interrogation he was escorted to where he would live, he was given the rules of his tay: nobody knew he was alive and the Japanese could do anything they wanted in tnls oase (wnlcn was top secret), ne was not allowed to speak to anyone out guards.
Not allowed to have his hands in his pockets or make eye contact with anything but the ground. His cell was about as shelter like as a rice paper tip’. This camp seems a lot like Guantanamo bay. With its large amount of prisoners and the ridiculous situations the prisoners are put through. Then the book mentions the “night of a thousand suicides” a mass suicide attempt by the Japanese to avoid living in shame in a POW camp. The whole notion of irresponsible power and there being no sympathy toward the POWs at all became a widely known fact to all of the prisoners.
Also known to the prisoners became the “kill all” rule. If any allied advances made rescue a remote possibility the prisoners were to be executed, this was no problem for the majority of the guards. The reason for suicides Oapanese) as described in the book and from watching documentaries along with this book, was because the Japanese were since childhood forced to believe that being captured would bring many years of shame upon them and their family. Pride must have been a driving force when the troops would kill themselves or fght hopeless battles to the death.
Chapters 21 +22 A new character is introduced on page 202, William Harris. A genius and a giant he had a photographic memory and became close friends with Louie. Another character is Gaga – a duck who was really more of a morale booster than anything. Morris code was used among prisoners to communicate as well as a rather daring move by speaking in English (which the guards didn’t understand) directly to guards in an inquisitive tone, but they were talking to each other and the guards didn’t know.
Harris – who spoke Japanese as well as several other languages – created two books for address keeping for all the POWs and Japanese/English translations. Then came smoking, cigarettes were handed out to everyone and some people were so addicted that they traded the little food they were given for the smokes. Phil was being taken to the mystical place called Ashio, a POW camp that forced the prisoners into mining labor. Back home a letter arrived announcing Louie’s disappearance, the neighborhood felt sad and lost hope as days went on.
All except Louie’s family, “to the amily, Louie was among them still, spoken of in the present tense, as it her were Just down the street expected at any moment. Sylvia, Louie’s sister gets a Job at the military base after selling most of her belongings to maybe get more information about her brother. When Pete and the family would go out to the town the passersby would give them oblique glances because they pitied them for not being able to accept the truth about their son. There was hope though; Deasy (the pilot who had been searching for the downed Super Man) had found documents describing Phil and Louie being taken to Japan via boat.
Back to Louie: he had heard planes coming and going from the islands airstrip, he didn’t know where it was but he asked his friend Tinker if he could fly a Japanese plane. Tinker replied with “if it has wings” and this was the start of an idea that Louie, Tinker and Harris were going to escape. With Harris developing Beriberi Louie was determined to get food no matter what. He stole left and right but was finally allowed to work as a barber to the guards, though Intlmlaatlng tne pay was a Dall 0T rice wnlcn was Incentive enougn to ao anytnlng The Americans had captured Saipan, a critical island very close to mainland Japan.
With the allies closing in the “kill all” policy was becoming more and more of a threat, in fact the island of Tinian which held 5,000 Korean prisoners instated the policy; killing all of the 5,000 prisoners. The trio of prisoners came to the realization that a boat would be better than plane and devised a route consisting of roughly 150 miles to the port, crossing the sea of Japan, and landing somewhere in china where they would somehow find refuge. To them it was much less then what they had done before they were found by the Japanese and with the kill all rule sneaking up on them it was the only viable option for life.
Then the day before the planned escape day, someone had escaped. The officials made a new decree stating that any men caught would be executed and “for every escapee, several captive officers would be shot. Louie, Tinker, and Harris suspended their plan. ” One of the officer guards found the maps that Harris had drawn, he beat Harris to and well after consciousness. When he woke he had a permanent glaze in his eyes and couldn’t recognize his friends. Louie was then taken along with Tinker, Duva and a few others to go to yet another POW camp – Omori.
After being in a place like Ofuna for over a year how ould anyone be sane? This determination was one of the skills he had when he was a child, and he has held on to it so closely that it is still in his mind even after being in a mental and physical wasteland. With interest in the armed forces this is a danger that I have to acknowledge, though I would never want this to happen to me (or anyone for that matter) I don’t know if I could deal with it as well as Louie does. Chapters 23 + 24 The new POW camp was astonishingly bland, ash covering every inch of the camp.
The officer of the camp was very dogmatic and didn’t allow eye contact; this man was n Tinker’s mind a psychopath. With a few blows to Louie’s head, then more after starting a fire to keep warm Louie knew that the officer would try his hardest to shatter him. Watanabe, the leading disciplinary officer was a sexual sadist; he would do unthinkable things to the POWs and would take great pleasure in doing so. The most incredible thing about Watanabe to me was his inconsistency, he would break the bones and the psyche of POWs and sometimes apologize in tears.
But then would resume beatings in a matter of minutes. Such a bipolar nature, why would the Japanese allow him to serve in any type of command? he men in the POW camp were not “passive captives” they were soldiers. They raged guerilla warfare against their captors by crafting goods that were of poor quality, stitching leather wrong, and stealing sugar and fish. These men were invigorated by how if death was a possibility they weren’t going to die without a fght. And with this thievery, thieving school was born. More inept thieves would teach new ones how to steal.
And the final exam was a heist, the only way to fail – get caught. And so a network of black-market goods that were stolen opened up in Omori with sugar being the currency. With Watanabe beating everyone and anyone even some of the Japanese guards were helping the pows. one In partlcular was YuKlcnl Kano. He woul a Olstract men wnlle tne prlsoners stole, when winter was coming he would hang blankets in the infirmary, and when someone was sick – instead of taking them to the sadistic official doctor, he would take them to one of the POWs that was a physician.
I think Louie’s childhood was creeping up on him again; every beating he got from Watanabe was more incentive for him to hate “the Bird”. The rising hatred in Louie must have been from not being ble to hit back – it must have been really hard on him mentally even more so then it was physically. Chapters 25 + 26 Louie was sent to push rations into Tokyo, but it was a grim sight. Despite all of the lights and seemingly busy towns from the view of the POW camp there weren’t any young men to be found. When back at the camp new plane flew over as a sign of hope.
A 8-29, the new kid on the block and it was to the POWs “not their messiah, but ours. ” It wasn’t going to liberate the camp alone but it gave the men even more to hold on too. What the men are thinking though in the back of their heads is the “kill ll” rule. Louie was dead – to his family back home anyways; Louie got the paper confirming his death, and actual transcript with his death declaration on it. The people from Radio Tokyo were very upset with this and allowed Louie to write a speech to get to his family, he hesitantly accepted because he feared that they were lying.
The news reached the US and the Zamperini family was notified, then with the excitement ten times that of when Louie placed in the Olympics – Louie was alive again. On November 24th Liberation was coming in the form of one hundred and eleven of the 8-29 bombers. After that moment the prisoners knew that rescue was coming even more quickly, but the Bird didn’t see it that way. He became a crazy tyrant ordering the men to put out imaginary fires, and get water in ditches miles away to put out said “fires”. Phil and Allen, both of which people Louie had met on this Journey were still alive.
This was a beacon of hope for Louie though his mind was being shaken from the constant beatings from the Bird. And after the months of keeping the Red Cross boxes to the officers ONE was finally allowed to be handed out to the POWs. That was a tremendous day for them all, Louie getting an 11 pound rate to himself which was opposite of the usual limited rations. With the Red Cross coming in more and more often one man – a Prince Yoshitomo Tokurugawa – would talk to one of the POWs about how things were in the camp. The man despite beatings would tell the prince of Watanabe’s cruelty.
After enough times of hearing this “the Bird” was sent away. There were no more beatings for Louie, and there was a celebration in the whole camp. Chapters 27 + 28 With the bird sent away to another camp Kano took over, the men were the happiest theyd been in years. The men were finally allowed to write home and Louie took full dvantage of this by writing to everyone he knew. A few new men came to the camp, out tney weren’t new to Louie: tne men were commander Htzgerala ana Harrls. More Red Cross crates were handed out; Louie gave his to Harris who was in grave condition.
The b-29s continued to shower over Japan, and as they drew closer another “kill all” order was written and 139 prisoners died the night of December 15. 1 1 escaped and by some miracle met up with guerilla fghters who brought them to the US forces. On February 16th the biggest battle yet over Japan was being fought, with hellcats flying everywhere to combat the zeros. The men were then put in their cells and told to wait for the fght to be over, after the destruction Louie and many of his friends were being transferred to Naoetsu, yet another POW camp. This is ridiculous!
Why are the men going through so many camp changes? It seems to me that the Japanese may be using Louie because of his Olympic status. Though I thought Louie would never see The Bird again, I was far off. The new POW camp was where Watanabe was sent away, and Louie called it “the darkest moment of his life. ” After hiking over a mile in deep snow they get this as their Just rewards? I guess all is air in love and war though. Just like at Ofuna the Bird would beat on Louie for any which reason he felt necessary, the Officers were lucky because they didn’t have to work the painful duties of those with less rank.
They were spared of the tragedies of the enlisted men that were working themselves to death quite literally. And once the officers were at work they were outside the camp, where there they would get full rations. This “liberty’ was not to last as one of the officials Jokingly told the bird that the officer POWs were lazy. The Bird saw this as no Joke and ordered the officers to ork alongside the enlisted at the coal mines under threat of execution. Here too was a guerilla war; the items themselves that were stolen weren’t so much as important as the mental satisfaction of out-witting their captors.
One day while working in the coal mines he slipped and fell, then he seemed to have broken his ankle and knee; this would prevent him from working there but it would half his rations as he had no work. He found work after finally pleading to the Bird for some, the work – maintaining the pig. The catch however was that he couldn’t use any tools but his are hands, and with such a life devoted to cleanliness he thought “if anything is going to shatter me, this is it. Chapters 29 + 30 This is now the turning of the tides for the US; with Germany fallen the entirety of the allied military was pushing to defeat Japan. But back at camp the bird was trying to be murdered in order to save the lives of the officers he was pummeling. After several attempts one Officer managed to get him sick with diarrhea and a fever of a stunning 105 degrease. This plan had also failed to put him under, the camp thought The Bird “unmurderable”. Then the officials noticed a stolen fish, they ordered the hieves to show themselves.
The men did and Louie among other innocent officers was ordered to stand out with the thieves. Then back at the camp Watanabe told every enlisted man to punch the officers and thieves as hard as they could in the face – anyone who refused would be put to the same punishment. Air raids would continue and the kill all rule became the closest its ever been to Louie, told to him Darely arter septemoer tne KIII all order was set Tor August una Brougnt to tnelr execution camp they were told to work. Louie however was taken to a special place where he would hold a heavy beam for as long as he could.
Though tired and wasted physically he managed to hold the beam for 37 minutes through mental determination, mainly for his hatred of the Bird. Then came in the night of August 1st the largest air raid to date with over 6,100 tons of explosives, civilians thought it was raining; but it wasn’t water – it was napalm. The final attempt to murder the Bird would be conspired – they would subdue him, tie him to a rock and hurl him out a window down to the bottom of a large body of water. Meanwhile the last bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; the atomic bomb was armed and detonated mid air scorching all of Hiroshima.
Chapters 31 +32+33 Once the POWs caught wind of this they were in disbelief, they had never heard of the words “atomic” or “electronic” being used with a bomb before. The bird was sent on a Job to ready the new POW camp that the prisoners would head for their actual execution, with one week away this was startling. On August 1 5th the war was over for the Japanese, this sent the prisoners into a whirl of sorrow knowing that their fate was so close. The day never came thanks to an American torpedo bomber, it sent the officials into a blaze of confusion and the prisoners into waves of happiness and houghts of freedom.
The next few days were full of air drops of food for the POWs, the men were so happy and they ate to their hearts content. On September 5th the men were taken home, finally after so many years of suffering the men had been able to go home. The best part about this to me was the fact that the Japanese captors (at least the ones who were nice to the prisoners) were saluting them as they left for home. What a change in character, or moreover role; from disciplinary guard to respecting officer. I enjoy the fact that something can draw people together as to live better.
Once Louie reached the states he saw a doctor who had grim news, he wouldn’t be able to continue his running career because of all the abuse he had taken during imprisonment. Though this had been bad news he bumped paths with many of his friends met throughout the various camps, this was a great sign of relief for him knowing that his friends were alright. Him and Pete finally meet up and they were amazed to see each other, Pete was worried about Louie’s mentality and hoped that he wouldn’t have PTSD; his worries were put to rest because with every Joke they had, Louie’s fears faded further and further away.
They both board a plane and head over to Long beach, Louie Jumps out of the plane and hugs someone he hasn’t seen in years, his mother and him were crying together. Chapters 34 + 35 Louie finally sets foot in his old home again, with many gifts and tons of food waiting for him. His family was ready to spend an eternity finding every detail in his story. After talking, the family put on a record of him announcing that he was alive – Louie couldn’t stand it and went mad. He then went to sleep and the Bird was waiting for him in his dreams. The Bird wasn’t only in his dreams though, he was still wandering