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Book Review of Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers
Flags of Our Fathers
Author: James Bradley, Ron Powers
Genre: History
Book Type: Hardcover
annette-s avatar reviewed on + 49 more book reviews


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