Bamboo Cage: The P.O.W. Diary of Flight Lieutenant Robert Wyse, 1942-1943
In 1942, RAF flight controller Robert Wyse became a Japanese prisoner of war on the island of Java in Indonesia. Starved, sick, beaten, and worked to neardeath, he wasted away until he weighed only seventy pounds. There were strict orders against POWs keeping diaries, but Wyse penned his observations on the scarce bits of paper he could find, struggling to describe the brutalities he witnessed.
In December of 1943, after keeping his notes secret for months, he carefully hid them inside a bottle beneath his prison hut. After the war, he asked the Dutch authorities to dig up his diary and return it to him. The transcription of those diary notes provides a detailed and frank portrayal of life under Japanese occupation, in which Wyse reveals both the best and the worst of human nature.