This is an amazingly written book. It reads like a fast-paced movie. If you have seen the movie, it is nothing compared to the book! I highly recommend this book, even if you do not like militaria-type books.
"Flags of Our Fathers" is an excellent novel for various reasons: it pays homage to the six men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II; 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 United States Marine Corpse 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 are moved to perform uncommon acts of valor and courage. This is one of the most inspiring books that you will ever read. I highly recommended it.
Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of Jack Bradley and the five other men who were pictured raising the American flag on the top of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima in the iconic picture from WWII. Six men who didn't view themselves as heroes, but were just 'doing what had to be done' whether that meant charging up the beach at Iwo Jima through a hail of machine gun fire or helping to raise a pole that just happened to have a flag attached to it. The story and their lives can be viewed in three parts. Before the war, during the war, and (for some of them) after the war. This book is co-written by James Bradley, who is Jack Bradleys son, and who I thought did a wonderful job fleshing out the lives of the real men who were in that photo. I listened to the audio version of the book, which is also narrated well by James Bradley.
Before reading this book I had numerous misconceptions about the famous flag raising at Iwo Jima and the battle that took place on that island. Probably my biggest misconception was that the battle for Iwo Jima was over when that flag was planted on Mt. Suribachi. It wasnt. It would go on for another month. And I had also believed that D-Day at Normandy was the worst day of WWII. But as bad as that was, the first few days of Iwo Jima were worse. And I learned much more as I read this book, but Ill leave future readers to discover the rest for themselves.
While not quite as graphic as other war-based novels and memoirs that I have read, the author certainly didnt shy away from describing the horrors of war in all of their details. (For some reason, Amazon.com has this book tagged a young-adult a tag that I definitely believe does NOT apply.) But please dont let that stop you from reading this book. Ill admit that there were times I found it difficult to listen to what was happening to these six men and their fellow Marines during WWII, but for the most part it is fascinating and, more importantly, I now feel that I know these men so much better and I know at least a little bit more about WWII. I am so glad that James Bradley wrote this book and I picked it out of my TBR pile.
Book based upon the heroic men who were responsible for the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Written by one of the men's sons who quoted his father as always saying, "We weren't heroes. The heros were the ones who didn't come back."
Powerful, interesting reading! As the daughter of a WWII vet who saw extensive battle, it was like being allowed to see back in time.
This is an inside story of Iwo Jima and the 6 guys behind the "raising of a flag". Some of the chapters were background information about the guys and why they joined the branch of service that they did and where they grew up. Other chapters were pretty intense with the machine gun fire and people exploding. Of course, by the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes. I am glad that this book was written. Wow- my heart goes out to the military families.
Really grabs you and makes you pay attention. I thought it was rather graphic and terrifying...although I read it WHILE my husband was a corpsman fighting in Iraq. If you have a loved one overseas, save this for when they get back. It makes everything even more terrifying.
After your loved one is safe, I highly recommend reading this book. It almost offers you a "field-trip" into their life for however long they were over there. It gives you a good basis to understand why they come back "different" and helps you to keep your patience when it's the hardest thing imaginable.
It also gives you hope that they will "adjust" and be mostly back to normal eventually.
I don't normally read history books and almost never read books about war, but this one was recommended and I decided to try it. It was a terrific read. It made me understand a little about what our military went through during extrememly difficult times. But even more it gave you insight into the lives and developement of the young men involved and the families that loved them. A great book for those who love our country and respect our servicemen.
This well written story of the horrendous battle of Iwo Jima and the raising of the flag on that tiny island during the final stages of WWII is a none too gentle reminder of the atrocities of war. The lives of the six men who put the Stars and Strips atop this hunk of rock were well researched and intricately woven into the story and aftermath of the battle by the son of the medic, James Bradley and his co-author, Ron Powers.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of war and/or the history of this great country.
A very inspirational look at the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima. The details that led to this historical event the event itself (with a suprisingly, somewhat unknown fact) and the results that this event had on the marines and one navy corpsman who raise the flag during this historical photograph. This book also contains many historical facts about WWII that are not taught in schools. A MUST READ for any individual that studies war and its affects on the people involved.
By the way, James Bradley is the son of one of the flag raisers.
Very powerful book with vivid images of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Recently released as a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Speilberg. (One of my former students played the character of Harlon Block.)
Highly recommended. I usually don't like war stories, but this one was engrossing.
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers examines the lives of the six young men who became instant and even reluctant heroes in that iconic photo of the flag raising on Iwo Jima in February of 1945. The book relays the background of each of the men, who they were and what family values formed them. Bradley pieced together their histories as well as the realities of the unforgettable battle with heart wrenching detail.
It was only 1/400th of a second, the time it took to take that photo, but the magnitude of the resulting propaganda had a huge impact. For the six men it was just that, a blip in time compared to the job they had at hand. When the flag went up the fighting was far from over, though Americans hailed the photo as a victorious boost to morale. It touched the people and the government saw it as a great opportunity. The three surviving men were pulled from the battle to begin a Bond Tour to raise more money for the war efforts. They became instant heroes, whether they liked it or not. Each had a different way of handling that fame. Rene Gagnon hoped his notoriety would help him gain employment. It didnt. Ira Hayes hid behind the bottle and eventually died at age 32. Only Jack Bradley, the authors father, did his tour duty then forevermore backed away from the press after he left the service. With great determination, he kept his private life private and never talked of the war again. That was his way of handling it. He decided to go on with his life.
The stories of the six men are compelling. But more than their stories, we see that they were just six small but valuable parts in a much bigger story. There were so many others, so many who suffered, who gave their lives. Eighty thousand American men fought 22,000 Japanese for over one month in unimaginable circumstances. Our U.S. Marines could not see the enemies. Sixteen miles of underground tunnels hid the Japanese as they picked our guys off. After a long and bloody battle, the Marines finally did conquer that tiny sulphur-stinking island which we desperately needed for a landing strip en route to Japan. But it was at enormous cost. 22,851 casualties. 7,000 dead. It was one of the most intense and closely fought battles of any war. If war books do not usually make it onto your reading list, you may want to reconsider just this once. Flags of Our Fathers is dramatic, moving, and enlightening. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com