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Flags of Our Fathers
by James Bradley

A son of one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers writes a gripping history of the men who raised the flag. "It's my opinion that this is the 'Saving Private Ryan' of books. Highly recommended."

Recommended June 7, 2000 by David Steinert

Review by Combat Fan David Steinert (Doc)

Just finished reading the book "FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS" by James Bradley. What a great book! James Bradley's father, John Bradley, was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima. The book chronicles the lives of all six flag raisers from their early childhood up to that fateful day when they gather to raise the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. James Bradley's father was a Navy corpman who aided the Marines as they fought and climbed the Japanese held Mt. Suribachi. Bradley does an excellent job capturing the personalities of each flag raiser and what affect this event would have on their lives. Using first person accounts of those who fought on Iwo Jima add to the realism of how the Marines struggled and fought for every inch of ground as they made their way across the island. This book is a great tribute to the brave men of the Marine Corps and their miraculous accomplishment in succesfully taking the overwhelmingly Japanese fortified island of Iwo Jima. Its my opinion that this is the "Saving Private Ryan" of books. Highly recommended.

Review by Combat Fan Dana Eugene Creasy (Deecee322)

James was a guest on one of The History Channel shows recently and the interesting thing he said was that his father *never* discussed his War Two service, nor talked about Suribachi. He had to learn most of his information by prying it out of him, other relatives and outside research. Interesting, how so many of our older veterans make "so little" out of their contributions, yet so many who went into political life often tout their experiences. I think a lot of it has to do with the experiences they saw and how it indelibly marked them. A friend of my mothers was in the unit that liberated Dachau, as an interpreter, and never wanted to talk about it, as if just remembering it would bring pain and suffering back, not just for them, but for the victims, too. Makes me think of that quote, "Most men live lives of quiet desparation..."

Book Description of Flags of Our Fathers
(from back cover)

In 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 flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young 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 Easy 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 ever have 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.

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