Summary: Chapter 34, The Shimmering Girl
Hillenbrand offers information about General MacArthur’s ordered arrest of war-crime suspects. The Bird was on this list. Hillenbrand then offers reporting on the Bird’s path after he left Naoetsu. He attempts to disappear, even as the search for him intensifies. There is speculation about his potential suicide, but nothing is certain. An eighty-four-count indictment is drawn up based on reports of many POWs.
Louie returns home feeling grateful but also uneasy. When his family plays a recording of Louie’s recorded broadcast, Louie yells and orders his sister to smash the record. His family is shocked by his behavior, and Louie retreats to his bedroom, where he is haunted by dreams of the Bird. Louie is not the only person haunted by the Bird’s actions. Many men report his abuses to the military.
Louie, meanwhile, is the subject of much attention. He is invited to make many appearances and to give speeches. Only Louie’s closest friends suspect that Louie is haunted by difficult emotions. He sought relief by hiking in the mountains but feels anxiety again when he returned. He starts to drink alcohol at all hours.
In Miami Beach, Louie sees a beautiful woman and thinks that he will marry this woman. The next day, he and his friend encounter the beautiful woman and her friend. Her name is Cynthia Applewhite. Her background is one of privilege and of adventurousness. Many men are interested in this beautiful woman. By the end of that same month, Louie and Cynthia decide to marry.
When Cynthia’s parents refuse to allow her to marry and will not pay for her flight to California, they correspond via near-daily letters. In California, Louie makes wedding plans, quits drinking, and takes a stable job at Warner Brothers studios, but he is still anxious. Louie worries about whether Cynthia’s parents will oppose the wedding. Meanwhile, Louie starts to train for the 1948 Olympic games in London. Cynthia promises her parents that she will wait until the fall to marry Louie. In California, they argue but again decide to marry. They quickly marry on May 25. Cynthia’s parents are not happy.
Summary: Chapter 35, Coming Undone
This chapter opens with a jovial restaurant scene with Phil, Cecy, Louie, Cynthia, and Fred Garrett. The happiness is shattered when Fred reacts hysterically when served white rice. The chapter moves to present statistical information on the physical conditions of the war survivors before cataloguing the emotional scars of the war inflicted on the soldiers who lived through it.