Summary: Chapter 24, Hunted
In the barracks at Omori, Louie meets British lieutenant Tom Wade and American lieutenant Bob Martindale. These two men provide Louie with information about the camp, where nine hundred men are kept prisoner. They tell him all about Watanabe and his erratic, violent behaviors, which include paranoid raids on the barracks. Louie becomes accustomed to looking for the Bird wherever he goes.
While Louie labors with the other officers, other POWs do slave labor at other sites. Louie learns about their “guerrilla war,” which includes their damaging shipments of cargo, sinking barges, and even derailing a train. They also steal goods, including sugar, fish and alcohol.
Louie learns that the camp commander, Kaname Sakaba, is indifferent to daily, brutal beatings from Watanabe. But he also discovers that some of the Japanese working at the camp are willing to help the POWs, including by helping sick men.
Louie and the other men hear air-raid sirens and feel some hope. In October 1944, the Japanese broadcast a propagandist message that Louie had not written. The message, seeming from Louie and addressed to his mother, says that Louie is well and in a Tokyo camp. While the message is not aired in America, a man in South Africa picks up the broadcast and writes a message to Louie’s family. Due to a misspelling of Torrance, the Zamperini family would not receive the message until late January 1945.
Summary: Chapter 25, B-29
In late October 1944, Louie is permitted to push a wheelbarrow into Tokyo in order to retrieve horse meat from a slaughterhouse. On a building, Louie sees a message that he translates to mean “B-29.” At the time, he does not know what this means. Hillenbrand then offers information about the “B-29 Superfortress” plane. When Louie and other men spot one in the sky over their camp, he and the other men are overjoyed to see an American plane there. Louie and the men get some access to newspapers, though they see that the Japanese press distorts the news. While the POWs feel buoyed by the B-29, the Bird is enraged by it. The Bird beats Louie’s head with his belt buckle. Louie temporarily loses hearing in one ear.
One day in mid-November 1944 Louie is approached by the Bird and two radio producers who want Louie to make a statement on Radio Tokyo, on a show called Postman Calls. Louie tapes a message for his family. In San Francisco at the Office of War Communication, a former USC classmate of Louie, Lynn Moody, hears the message and transcribes it.