198 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Thought-Provoking, Graphic, Poignant
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is a brilliant work for so many reasons: it pays homage to the six men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during WWII; it is a tribute to a father who felt strongly that the real heroes at Iwo were the boys who didn't come back; it is a testimonial to the USMC and its fighting men; it portrays a graphic and at times...
Published on May 30, 2000 by Theresa E. DaKay
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Noble, but flawed
Bradley's connection through his father, one of countless American heroes in WWII, obviously makes Flags of Our Fathers personal for him. Yet while the narrative account of the Marine's flag raising on Iwo Jima is well written, Bradley unnecessarily tramples the strategic history of the Pacific war. In order to support the Marine Corps' self-regard as the only real...
Published on February 12, 2007 by John Call
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198 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Thought-Provoking, Graphic, Poignant,
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is a brilliant work for so many reasons: it pays homage to the six men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during WWII; it is a tribute to a father who felt strongly that the real heroes at Iwo were the boys who didn't come back; it is a testimonial to the USMC and its fighting men; it portrays a graphic and at times unimaginable description of the horrors of war; and, it depicts not only the indignities that we humans can suffer upon one another, but also the moments when common men (indeed, boys) are moved to perform acts of uncommon valor and courage. When reading this book, you will feel pride, grief, anger, sadness, and dismay. Its words will make you laugh, cry, mourn, and think hard. FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is a good book---no, a great book---about a moment in our history and the ordinary men who performed extraordinary deeds and left their mark upon the annals of war. Read it...for the sake of the six flagraisers, the families left behind in all wars, and the whole human race.
83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a MUST-READ!,
By A Customer
James Bradley's tale of the six boys who raised the Old Glory over the island of Iwo Jima (one of whom was his own dad) is a classic of war literature.
It is a father-son story. It is a war story. It is a story of patriotism and sacrifice. But ultimately it is the story about how ordinary people can rise to extraordinary heights in fantastically dangerous situations.
Inspired and inspirational, this book is must-reading for anyone even remotely interested in World War II, and in the sacrifices that certain Americans made in order to win it.
This Memorial Day, buy a copy for everyone you know!
80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bradley Removes Hero Worship And Leaves Us With... Heroes.,
Born in 1974, I can hardly claim to have experienced the terror and patriotism that surrounded WWII. By all accounts, the picture of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi has always existed for me. In ever history book through school, the six men hoisting the American flag on a makeshift pole atop this sawed-off "mountain" was printed as the epitome of American valor. Little was mentioned about the people or the event that surrounded this monumental photograph. Now, thankfully, we know.
This book is an absolute must-read. At once a biography of each of these six brave men, a history book, a war novel, and a tale of struggle, this book should find its way onto the bookshelf of every American. The lives of these men before, during, and after the battle of Iwo Jima is enough to fill you with great sadness and immense patriotic pride simultaneously.
This book is as relevant today as it could have been had it been published 55 years ago. While it is quite usual to hear words like honor, courage, and commitment strewn about by talking heads that pervade our society and media, it is rare to see these demonstrated by actual human beings. The stories of these men will show that that even under great strain the human spirit can thrive, and that occaisionally our heroes can be taken at face value.
However, as Bradley points out, these men were not heroes for raising that flag on Mount Suribachi. They, like every other American boy who set foot on foreign soil for God and country half a century ago, were heroes for the simple act of being there and doing the best they could.
Buy this book.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pulitzer Prize,
Stephen Ambrose said it himself on the back of this book, "The best battle book I ever read. These stories, from the time the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima enlisted, their training, and the landing and subsequent struggle, fill me with awe." This is a dramatic story of Iwo Jima; I absorbed every word of every page with intensity. It brought me to tears and, at times, made me laugh. I felt I was crawling with the Marines yard by yard as they moved across the small island under intense fire from the Japanese. The pictures James Bradley produce will stay in my mind for a long time, at least until I read the book again. I keep seeing his father, Doc, administering first aide to a wounded Marine. Knowing the wounded soldier could quickly bleed to death, Doc covered the soldier with his own body as he administered first aid while bullets exploded around him. Doc won the Navy Cross for this heroic action.
The book doesn't just cover the fighting on the island, but follows the survivors of the six flagraisers back to the states. Their heroic welcome home involved them as part of a push to sell war bonds. James Bradley finally brings to end myths of the raising of the flag, e.g. that it was staged and that it was at the end of the fight for Iwo Jima.
From the very beginning of the book I was thankful for his father and the others that fought for our freedom on that small island in the Pacific. I wish I could thank all the veterans for their sacrifises made on Iwo Jima. Since I can't, I can thank James Bradley for bringing the story of his father and the other five flagraisers into my life. You'll be thankful, too. Bradley should receive a Pulitzer Prize for this incredible book.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six boys forever frozen in our nation's memory,
No, this isn't John Wayne and "Sands of Iwo Jima". This is a story of American youth and a time of American innocence.
Who were these six young, skinny kids in this photograph? A photograph that has become an icon of our times. Three of them would never know what impact this photo and their actions had on a country. Three others would know only too well.
I sincerely thank James Bradley for taking on this very personal and very emotional subject. His father, PM2C John Bradley, USN must have been made of greater stuff than most folks. His son's book is one of the most fitting tributes to a father's memory I could ever imagine.
My most heartfelt best wishes go out to James, his mother and all the Bradley's.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath The Flag,
I was only 5 when the attack on Iwo Jima took place. My own father, by virtue of age, good luck and a naval officer's commission escaped conscription into this particular hell. My personal wartime experience is a vague one of watching free movie musicals at the Ottumwa Iowa Naval Air Station, squashing and saving tin cans for the war effort and finally weaving red white and blue crepe paper into the spokes of my junior bike in celebration of VJ day. Thanks to a new book about World War II, I am discovering what it was really like back then to feel true patriotism. It is a bittersweet revelation, but a very valid one.
"Flags of Our Fathers" is a book which appeals not only to the die-hard WWII buff but to any person, male or female, with an interest in a teeth clenching, powerful and poignant story. It describes a horrible battle, the incredible selfless sacrifices of young men and the angst of their families.
James Bradley & Ron Powers have brought to vivid life the real people behind the famous flag-raising mythos, the surreal war in which they so valiantly fought and the survivors' eventual reentry into civilian life. This is an adventure story of true horrific experiences. On the surface it is a "good guy-bad guy" saga in which our good guys finally triumph. The good guys lucky enough to come home are quiet, self effacing and seemingly forever linked to the ghosts of those who did not survive. In an age before psychologists had discovered and mined "survivor's guilt" and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, the luckiest of these largely teenaged boys trained, fought, were wounded, came back and resumed living to the best of their ability. I defy any woman not to bleed for the mothers and fathers who waited and any man not to cry for the "uncommon valor" of these very young sons. Bradley's personal experiences with his own hero father, his intimate interviews with families of these sons and his own quiet faith are melded with the poetic prose of Ron Powers into a seamless whole.
This is a meticulously researched, lovingly crafted and stunning battle book, written by exceptional men about exceptional men. It is sure to become a classic.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving story of courage and honor,
The photograph of the raising of the American Flag on the island of Iwo Jima is one of the most famous pictures ever taken. Rarely in history has there been such an enduring symbol of valiant courage and honor. In "Flags Of Our Fathers", the true story of that transcendent moment in time is brought to life. The life stories of the six men that raised the flag on Iwo Jima are told; as well as the story of the ferocious battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945. The story of the six men is told in a very moving way, by describing much of what happened in their lives both before and after Iwo Jima. After reading about the lives of these men, they are no longer distant figures in a photograph from a far away time. They are very real men that went through struggle and tragedy, and were all brought together for that supreme moment on Iwo Jima. The author of the book is the son of the last surviving member of the six. When his father died in 1994, he wanted to understand and to tell his story; and the story of all the men of Iwo Jima. Beyond the story of battle and courage, this is also the story of the love between a father and his son. This is one of the most inspiring books that you will ever read, and it is highly recommended.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real American Heros,
Without question this is one of the best battle books of WWII. I think it can be compared with "D-Day" by Stephen Ambrose for its depth and the amount of research done by Bradley on the battle and the men who fought there.
I was barely four years old when the famous photo was taken and therefore grew up with the image firmly planted in my mind. What Bradley has done is put face on each of the six men who raised that flag.
At the heart of the story is the savagery of the battle, the courage and sacrafice of the men who fought the battle and the fact that no one questioned why they were there and for what they were fighting. In my mind every man who stepped off a landing craft to fight on the beaches of Iwo Jima was a hero. Unfortunatly, those who came home probably didn't think so and had to fight a different kind of battle which Mr. Bradley describes in detail.
This is a book I found hard to put down. And like the Rosenthal photo, the images created by James Bradley will stay with me.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Enigma,
This is more of a note to the author than a review. However, I hope some of the readers of this, who had a parent, grandparent or other loved one who served in WWII in the Pacific can gleen a deeper respect of what they had endured and the lives of their loved ones meant after reading this book.
Mr. Bradley- I just finished reading Flags of our Fathers. I found it to be the absolute best book on the subject that I have ever read. I state this with some level of qualification having been a US Army officer in Special Operations. I have studied Military History and Tactics most of my life and applied the craft in several Airborne and Spec. Ops units. I come from a family where both of my parents have a strong military tradition. We have two Medals of Honor in my family from Vietnam including Maj. Don Holleder, USMA class of '58. I am from the Grenada Raider/Desert Storm Generation. More than just a book of history and stories, I found it helpful for me in another respect. My father was in the US Navy at Iwo Jima and 11 other island campaigns. He served on the LST 672 in the 7th Ampibs getting the Marines on those beaches under direct fire and aerial barrage. Your father had a job to do tending the wounded. My father's job was to make sure he got "feet dry" to do it. I never quite fully understood the big picture, until I read your book as my father never has into great deal about the experience. I do know he was wounded in action twice. Through TDY duties and other reassignments he stood quarters for the burial of the men from the USS Lexington and was in the area to help pick up survivors of the USS Indianapolis. (both seperately tragic stories). I now understand the bitterness my Dad has, at times and why he breaks into sweats when he wakes up from his afternoon nap to the sound of a crop duster flying overhead. I also understand his distain for oriental food and anything marked "made in Japan." My Dad still is alive and just turned 80 years old. He gets tearful every time he hears Taps. He flys his American flag every August to honor VJ day. He gets sentimental over little things. He follows the veterans publications from the VFW and the American Legion. A few years ago,he was notified by one of the military alumni organizations that he was the last member of his crew alive. He broke into tears. All these little things may not mean a whole lot individually. However, if I take all of this and put it against the backdrop of the imagery experessed in your book, I finally get the big picture. You can read about events, battles and places. You can't LIVE the expereinces, though. I appreciate the fact that I now have the understanding to take what time my Dad has left and get a bit closer to him. Thank you for the enlightenment. Lest we Forget.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving, Impressive and Unforgettable Reading Experience!,
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Every once in a while, a book comes along that defies easy description, a tome destined to be a smash success and win well deserved praise, precisely because it is written so well, is so accessible and readable, and so memorably ties together several different elements into a storyline that makes perfect sense, tells a wonderful and memorable story in a completely different way, and is also a credible work of descriptive history. This, friends, is such a memorable book.
This book works extremely well at several levels. First, it is the first-person story behind one of the most famous battle photographs of world war two, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. It proceeds to tell us the poignant story of the six men in the photograph and their families from the families' recollections. It also tells us of the tragedies and later lives of each of the three surviving Marines, only one of whom survived to live what we could describe as a normal life. It also gives us insight into what these men were beyond the headlines, the parades, and the hyperbole, and what participation in the murderous military campaign in the South Pacific and the later hoopla meant to them, their families and to the rest of their lives.
Finally, it is an excellent, first-person, man on the ground kind of description of the day to day battle on Iwo Jima, which was much harder fought and much more bloody than even the military expected it would be. One stands in awe of this work based on the simple fact that it has been written fifty years after the fact, and yet is clearly the book one recognizes to be the definitive book on a particular subject. From here on, no one who considers himself or herself a student of the Second World War in the South Pacific against the Japanese can feel fully educated or properly informed about the battle for Iwo Jima and its aftermath until they've read "Flags Of Our Fathers". This is history come alive, made real, relevant, still timely and accessible. This is a book for everyone's history book shelves. Read it now, and savor it forever.
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Flags of Our Fathers by Ron Powers (Hardcover - August 1, 2006)
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