Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Hillenbrand, Laura

Random House, 2010

pp. 194 - 195

After the war, former POWs were relatively OK or in terrible shape, depending on whether the Germans or the Japanese had held them. Almost all prisoners of the Germans survived. Only six per cent of the prisoners of the Japanese did. And the Pacific POWs had been much, much worse treated, and suffered after the war accordingly. They had every appalling tropical disease, unset bones, broken teeth, blindness, neurologic damage, respiratory diseases from breathing horrible air in mines and factories. They had all the emotional traumas: PTSD, including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression. Men woke from sleep screaming, sobbing. Some hoarded food, or cringed at airliners overhead. There was lots and lots of alcoholism. Some became enraged whenever they saw a Japanese, or even an Asian, person. Some tried to strangle their wives in nightmares. Many never recovered their sense of dignity. They had been humiliated and they stayed that way. Many had a seething thirst for revenge till they died. (346-49)