(Pgs 214-300, section 4)
In this section of Unbroken, the ending of WWII is almost at hand. Louis has been transfered between two POW camps in this section, both of which containing the one true antagonist of the book, Watanabe, or as the prisoners call him, “The Bird”. This sections displays, in purest form, the brutality of the POW camps, but also, some of the sadastic people who ran them. The Bird happens to be the shining example of this, regarded in both indirect and direct quotes from both prisoners and also sympathetic Japanese, to be a psychopath and a sadist. This man is the main form of torment for Louis for the rest of the book, through physical and mental torture, but also, The Bird’s targeting of Louis to break his spirit, by performing actions that would remove his dignity. This section is by far the most riveting in the book, as it describes the horrifying conditions that the prisoners faced in the camps. This section would be of most importance if going through the book for information.
(Section 5, Pgs 301-337)
Not mentioned in the previous section, WWII is close to being over, with the atomic bombs just being about to be used. Louis’s treatment only continues from The Bird, until the first atomic bomb gets used on Hiroshima. Then the entire POW camp stops running, with the guards huddled inside listening to the radio, while US B-29 bombers and various fighter planes dropped food and supplies to the prisoners. Finally, the war was announced over, and the POWs were released from the camp. All POWs found trains to larger cities to get evacuated by plane, then get sent home. Finally, Louis reunites with his family, and all seems to be good, until Louis hears a wartime recording of himself while taken in the POW camps, and mentally snaps. This section holds intense value, because while the war is still going, Louis’s condition keeps dropping, and the Japanese “Kill-All” policy looms for all POW camps. However, this section does not end the book, as “The Bird” has fled and is hiding from authorities, while Louis begins his steep mental dropoff from his trauma.
(Section 3, pgs 145-212)
In this section of Unbroken, the Japanese POW Camps and the cruel officers that run them are introduced. Continuing from the last section, Louis, Phil, and a third crew member, Mac, survive on their life rafts and steadily physically begin to detoriate, as 30+ days of being alone in the ocean does (they last 46 overall). After Mac dies from starvation and hopelessness, the Japanese eventually find the survivors and initially treat them well, but Louis and Phil soon get transported between various camps before setting in a designated POW camp, where the Japanese brutality begins to truly show. This section is interesting because of the transition of Louis’s story from survival to direct torture, the change from no interaction to brutal beatings and workouts through ranks of guards. Besides Mac’s death, there really isn’t too much to emotionally react upon in this section of reading.
(Section 2, pgs 78-144)
This section is the start of the real story in Unbroken, about Louis’s survival through Japanese treatment, and his life before, during, and after. In this section, Louis and his B-24 bomber crew crash land in the Pacific while searching for another regularly downed plane crash. This section also accounts for an attack from the Japanese that Louis survives firsthand, and also the same flight from the section before, where the crew miraculously survives multiple Zeros, or Japanese fighters and a landing without working landing gear and brakes. While this section doesn’t hold much emotional value (except for the Japanese bombing attack), the section contains a lot of action described in great detail. The crash landing however, and one of the surviving crew members eating of the life raft’s rations, sets the horror story of Louis’s survival in play, making this an unavoidable section of Unbroken.
(398 page book, divided into 6 sections for blogs, section 1)
This is the first section of Unbroken, where Louis Zamperini’s childhood leading up to the war is recalled, finishing with Zamperini’s first combat mission. This section is truly essantial to understanding the story, as it introduces most of the characters that talk about Louis throughout the rest of the story. I also love this section because of how openly it describes Louis, and his brother Pete, how the two interacted, and best, how they terrorized their parents and their town through their mischief and cunning. These stories describe Louis’s strong, defining character, and explain his decisions and motivations for the rest of the story.