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Flags of Our Fathers Paperback – August 29, 2006
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The Battle of Iwo Jima, fought in the winter of 1945 on a rocky island south of Japan, brought a ferocious slice of hell to earth: in a month's time, more than 22,000 Japanese soldiers would die defending a patch of ground a third the size of Manhattan, while nearly 26,000 Americans fell taking it from them. The battle was a turning point in the war in the Pacific, and it produced one of World War II's enduring images: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's commanding high point.
One of those young Americans was John Bradley, a Navy corpsman who a few days before had braved enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to administer first aid to a wounded Marine and then drag him to safety. For this act of heroism Bradley would receive the Navy Cross, an award second only to the Medal of Honor.
Bradley, who died in 1994, never mentioned his feat to his family. Only after his death did Bradley's son James begin to piece together the facts of his father's heroism, which was but one of countless acts of sacrifice made by the young men who fought at Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers recounts the sometimes tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag that February day--one an Arizona Indian who would die following an alcohol-soaked brawl, another a Kentucky hillbilly, still another a Pennsylvania steel-mill worker--and who became reluctant heroes in the bargain. A strongly felt and well-written entry in a spate of recent books on World War II, Flags gives a you-are-there depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Say "Iwo Jima," and what comes to mind? Most likely a famous photograph from 1945: six tired, helmeted Marines, fresh from a long, terrifying and bloody battle, work together to raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Bradley's father, John, was one of the six. In this voluminous and memorable work of popular history mixed with memoir, Bradley and Powers (White Town Drowsing) reconstruct those Marines' experiences, and those of their Pacific Theater comrades. The authors begin with the six soldiers' childhoods. Soon enough, bombs have fallen on Pearl Harbor, and by May '43 the young men have become proud leathernecks. Bradley and Powers incorporate accounts of specific battles, like "Hellzapoppin Ridge" (Bougainville, December '43), and pull in corps life and lore, from the tough-minded to the slightly silly, from mandatory penis inspections (medics checking for VD) to life in the pitch-dark of "Tent City No. 1." And they cover the strategy and tactics leading up to the awful battle for the islandAthe navy's disputed plans for offshore bombardment, cut at the last minute from 10 days to three; the 16 miles of Japanese underground tunnels, far more than Allied intelligence expected. A quarter of the book follows the fighting on Iwo Jima, sortie by sortie. The final chapters pursue the veterans' subsequent lives: Bradley and Powers set themselves against often-sanctimonious tradition, retrieving the stories of six more or less troubled individuals from the anonymity of heroic myth. A simple thesis emerges from all the detail worked into this touching group portrait, in a comment by John Bradley: "The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back." No reader will forget the lesson. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The authors did a fabulous job of story telling. I agree with Stephen Ambrose in his saying that it was the best combat book he ever read. It is the best non-fiction book I have ever read. It has everything, hero's, villans, sadness, tragedy, excitement, happiness. Every human emotion from one end of the spectrum to the other will be experienced by reading this book.
On Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common occurence among those marines who fought there, many of whom died there. This book is a must read and it makes me more appreciative of the liberties I enjoy today because of those marines and all of the combat veterans of WWII. I saw extensive combat for a year with the army in Vietnam, but it pales in comparison to what those marines endured for 36 days in Feb 1945.
Jim Husing Vietnam Veteran
I really enjoyed reading this book. There were so many inspirational parts, that made you really appreciate those brave men and women who fight for our country. Bradley did a great job at creating a personal connection with the reader, and this was a personal story to him. Bradley's book is interesting, with few dull parts. It is exciting and will keep you wanting to read more. There really are no cons to this book, i would defiantly recommend it to all who are interested in Americas was with Japan.
FOOF truly captures the tragedy of war. The pageantry and iconography surrounding the flag-raising at Iwo Jima makes it all too easy to see the sacrifices of war as some nameless demigods descended to Earth for a higher purpose. FOOF is so gripping in that it portrays the Flagraisers and Marines on Iwo Jima just as they were: human. It is absolutely mind blowing to consider the horrific and extraordinary circumstances these average boys were put to. I stopped and cried several times as I read of the atrocious death and suffering of 18, 17, and even 15 year olds on the beaches of Iwo.
Not only does this book give a chilling account of the world at war, a thought a 27 year old like myself could never truly comprehend, it also paints an equally powerful picture of America of yesteryear. Even as a veteran myself, I was absolutely astonished at the level of patriotism exhibited by boys doing whatever they could to join the war effort. It was also very hard to imagine America as focused and united toward a common goal as we were during this period of history.
I can honestly say I have no major critiques of the book. Although I initially thought the book was a bit lengthy (I'm not even sure of the final count as I read the Kindle version), after seeing the considerably edited feature film version I instantly knew that the book was absolutely right to tell every single detail that it did. I am certainly not a "history buff" (which is partly why I was so surprised I liked the book so much) so I don't feel qualified to speak on historical accuracy.
In conclusion, I think FOOF is a well-written account of shattered innocence and stark reminder of some of the most brutal destruction mankind has ever known. Many of us pay lip service gratitude to those who have paid such a high price, but it's impossible to even approach sincerity without reading an account like "Flags of our Fathers."
Most recent customer reviews
Since I like history, I decided to read it. It was a good read.Read more