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Flags of Our Fathers (Movie Tie-in Edition) Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 961 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.

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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553589342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553589344
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (961 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Theresa E. DaKay on May 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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.
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By A Customer on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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!
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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