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Flags of Our Fathers Paperback – August 29, 2006
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“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
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.
- ASIN : 0553384155
- Publisher : Bantam (August 29, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 055338029X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553380293
- Lexile measure : 950L
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.83 x 8.98 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #98,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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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.
Top reviews from other countries
The detail and description of this book is harrowing, the anecdotes are heart rending, this book has affected me so that even Bradley's ridiculously enthusiastic patriotism failed to annoy me. However, as in his work "Flyboys" Bradley does not fail to sympathise with the other side, nor does he fail to understand Japan's actions- this is not the book of an ignorant man.
There are time I wanted to laugh and cry. In the first part of the book, the reader grows up with six boys whom we know will later raise the flag on Iwo Jima, 3 of which, we are told, will die there too. We begin to understand these men, to know them and thus ultimately understand Bradley's concluding moral to not just see them as the soldier's and heroes America branded them, but as young boys in the most horrible and unthinkable circumstance they could have ever have been thrown into.
Bradley's writing assumes some pre-knowledge of the military, but I did not personaly find this a problem, his use of description beautifully brings the true-story to life as it becomes less of a history book, less of a history lesson and more of a lesson in life.
Inspiring, saddening and enlightening; ultimately you will learn more from this book about human nature than you ever will from 1000 encyclopedias. This is a must-read, a masterpiece, a book that will be treasured in my heart forever.