- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (August 29, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055338029X
- ISBN-13: 978-0553380293
- ASIN: 0553384155
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,008 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flags of Our Fathers Paperback – August 29, 2006
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“Unforgettable . . . one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see . . . its portrayal rivals Saving Private Ryan in its shocking, unvarnished immediacy.”—The New York Times
“The best battle book I ever read . . . These stories, chronicling 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.”—Stephen E. Ambrose
“A powerful book whose vivid and horrific images do not easily leave the mind . . . [Flags of Our Fathers] relates the brutalizing story of Iwo Jima with a fine eye for both the strategic imperative and the telling incident.”—The Boston Globe
“Brings a heartfelt personal dimension to this penetrating and insightful look at an American icon . . . Flags of Our Fathers captivates as the story behind a famous photo; a story that lives on in a son’s heart.”—National Review
About the Author
James Bradley is the son of John “Doc” Bradley, one of the six flagraisers. A speaker and a writer, he lives in Rye, New York.
Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He is the author of White Town Drowsing and Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain. He lives in Vermont.
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This is the story of those young men, all of them working class, all of them struggling to fight a war. Three of them survived to come home, where they were dined and honored and where they struggled to forget the awful images of Iwo Jima. John Bradley, for instance, remembered the corpse of Iggy, his best friend who had been horribly tortured by the Japanese.
This is the story not only of the battle of Iwo Jima and The Photograph that made these men famous; it is also about their lives before the war; it is the story of the three survivors and what happened to them after they left the battlefields.
The survivors themselves said the real heroes were those who didn’t come back from Iwo Jima. But one must not forget that there were like so many other men who were not as well known or immortalized on film and in bronze.
These six men in The Photograph became the image of the war; their valor was what we wanted to see, not the unbearable bloodshed.
Ira Hayes is the best known survivor, but he is known as much for his dark side as for his heroism. Hayes made the headlines for his drunkenness and his arrest record before and after the war. This was a sad end for a brave Marine.
I am glad Bradley wrote so well about his father and his father’s comrades.
The author also talks about the lives of the three surviving fundraisers after the battle, including his father. He focuses on how each man dealt with the demands of their celebrity as well as the horrors that lived within each of their memories of Iwo Jima.
As a personal note, I chose to read "Flags of Our Fathers" because my father, a 22-year Navy man, fought in the South Pacific during WW II. This book brought home a much greater understanding of the perils and tragedy of war.
Bradley places his focus, as so many other chroniclers of Iwo Jima have done, on the moment captured in the historic picture, showing the raising of a replacement flag on the heights of the volcano, Mt. Suribachi. But Bradley, perhaps, has more of a right than most authors to explore the mythos of that picture. Bradley's father, Navy corpsman John "Doc" Bradley, was one of the most prominent figures in that moment of serendipity, along with five Marines--three privates, a corporal, and a sergeant. Three of those men were doomed to die there on the black beaches of Iwo; three, Bradley's father among them, would return to the United States as heroes.
This is not so much a story of war or even just of Iwo Jima, as it is a story of the men who fought it. With stirring pathos, Bradley writes the life stories of those six boys, and how they would be forever altered by that "war to end all wars." The stark horror of battle, the love of their buddies, and, for those who survived, the determination to get on with their lives (some more successfully than others) makes it difficult for the reader not to mourn them and their sufferings.
Once only a symbol of a distant island battlefield, for me "the Photograph" has now become a very personal glimpse into the lives of those six ill-fated boys. I can say their names, I can point them out, I can tell you where they died. Bradley has paid his tribute, and paid it well.