Last Updated 05 Jan 2023

The Life, Survival and Perseverance of the Olympic Runner and Prisoner of War, Louie Zamperini in the Book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

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He had then set his sights on the 1940 Olympic Games. Germany and Japan were exerting their power over other nations and the Games were canceled. Louie was then drafted into the air corps and becomes a bombardier. The U.S. entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Louie and two other fighters, Phil and Mac, crashed in the sea and spend 46 days there. Mac had died from the heat and starvation before Louie and Phil's eyes on the raft. They drifted 2000 miles west of where they crashed. They saw what they thought was land, but it turned out to be a Japanese boat.

They were captured and taken as POW's. Louie and Phil were kept in horrible conditions but they survived. At the end of September 1944, Louie was told he and some of the other POW's were being moved. Phil was sent to a camp in Zentsuji. Louie and the others were sent to Omoni, a small island in Tokyo Bay. While at the camp, Louie met The Bird, a sadistic leader at that camp. He was known for his anger, but he had extreme anger towards Louie. He beat Louie continuously. The Bird haunted Louie for the rest of his life. The Bird finally had left the camp his life was still hard, but wasn't as bad since Bird had left.

Louie was then sent to Naoetsu and realized that The Bird was there as well. On August, 1 1945, the largest Air Raid took place. Five days later the Atomic bomb was dropped. Louie became very ill, but realizes the war is finally over. He was sent home and he met Cynthia Applewhite and the two end up getting married. Louie had a hard time adjusting to life and started drinking heavily. Cynthia leaves him and he decides he wanted to change his life. He worked hard and totally turned his life around. But the biggest hurdle that Louie had to face during his time of being a prisoner of war, would be his starvation and the diseases that followed with the starvation, even over The Bird, who tormented him for so long. Starvation is found everywhere and is a seemingly never ending battle.

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We Americans, for the most part, are able to get whatever, whenever, wasting absurd amounts of money on things that are the most expensive. Food water, clothing, and other pricy objects. America is the king of waste. If we took a look at any third world country, such as some countries in Africa, we would realize how little effort it would take for us to save millions of lives with the things we buy and waste on. But coming from Louie's point of view of being stranded at sea to being imprisoned, starving at both places is inevitable.

He did what he really could at sea for scavenging for food, capturing albatross to raw sharks and fish. But it wasn't good enough as he got sick from the sea water also suffering from malnutrition. Even after his rescue from the enemy, he was still mistreated and starved by guards and others even though they came across a few nice guards and even a camp. They had a guard named Kawamura, who identifies himself as a Christian. He befriends them and shows them kindness, giving them some candy to initiate friendship. Kawamura learns that when he was off duty, another guard rammed a stick into Louie's face, trying to put out his eyes.

Two days later, Louie and Phil see that Kawamura had beat up the abusive guard who never guarded them again. One Prisoner of War camp holds a Thanksgiving service when they hear of the war's end. A pilot says he and his crew felt like they were the hand of providence when they dropped food to the POWs. Food was a weapon in World War 2. It turns out that during World War 2, over 20 million people died from starvation ormalnutrition and its associated diseases. This rivals the number of military deaths during World War 2.

I guess the "good war" wasn't so “good” after all. Other diseases that Louie had was Beriberi and Dysentery. Beriberi refers to a cluster of symptoms caused primarily by a nutritional deficit in Vitamin B1 or Thiamine. Beriberi has conventionally been divided into three separate entities, relating to the body system mainly involved in the exterior nervous system or cardiovascular system or age of patient, such as an infant. Historically, beriberi has been endemic in regions dependent on what is variously referred to as polished, white, or de-husked rice.

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