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More About Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley; Ron PowersOverviewIn this unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history, James Bradley has captured the glory, the triumph, the heartbreak, and the legacy of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Here is the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and indomitable will of America.
In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima--and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island's highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag.
Now the son of one of the flag raisers has written a powerful account of six very different men who came together in a moment that will live forever.
To his family, John Bradley never spoke of the photograph or the war. But after his death at age seventy, his family discovered closed boxes of letters and photos. In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley draws on those documents to retrace the lives of his father and the men of his Company. Following these men's paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific's most crucial island--an island riddled with Japanese tunnels and 22,000 fanatic defenders who would fight to the last man.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo--three were killed during the battle--were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley's father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: "The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn't come back."
Few books have ever captured the complexity and furor of war and its aftermath as well as Flags of Our Fathers. A penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, this is history told with keen insight, enormous honesty, and the passion of a son paying homage to his father. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.
- ISBN-13: 9780553111330
- ISBN-10: 0553111337
- Publisher: Bantam Books
- Publish Date: June 2000
- Page Count: 384
- Dimensions: 9.35 x 6.28 x 1.06 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds
Related CategoriesBookPage Reviews
Had it not been for Joe Rosenthal's famous picture of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, the bloody battle of Iwo Jima might well have been almost forgotten and this book never written. On February 23, 1945, six young men clambered up the mountain's side and raised the American flag. It was caught on film and became the most famous photograph of World War II, indelibly etched in the minds of millions.
Who were these young men of war? Why were they there, amid one of the deadliest battles the Marines had ever fought?
James Bradley was the son of one of the flag-raisers. His father died without talking much about the war and he was determined to learn more about those who participated in the famous photograph.
Bradley grew up in a small Wisconsin town with the knowledge that his father was one of those in the famous photo but not much else. After his father's death, he discovered three cardboard boxes in his dad's office that contained letters, photos, addresses, and the Navy Cross - which his father had never mentioned.
The younger Bradley then set out on a four-year pilgrimage to discover the stories of the flag-raisers, including the father he knew so little about.
He first went to Iwo Jima, a tear-drop of an island barely five miles long and about two miles wide. Its strategic value was that it served as an early warning island for Japan against U.S. bombers.
Bradley delivers a story that will grab the reader with its intensity of feeling. It takes one from the mills of Manchester, New Hampshire, to the hollows of Appalachia, from the heat of the Rio Grande valley in Texas to the iron smelters of Pennsylvania and into the arid desert of Arizona.
It is a story of valor and courage in unbelievable amounts. In 36 days of terrible conflict, there were 25,851 American casualties, including 7,000 dead.
Bradley is a gifted storyteller and he deals sympathetically with each of the flag-raisers, scrolling through their lives and loves with near fatherly affection. It is a book that should be read by everyone who has even the slightest interest in World War II; it is the best of its kind.
Lloyd Armour is a retired newspaper editor in Nashville.