Flags of Our Fathers Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out Flags of Our Fathers Community Reviews - Find out where to download Flags of Our Fathers available in multiple formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Mass Market Paperback,Audio CD,Audible Audiobook Flags of Our Fathers Author:James Bradley,Ron Powers Formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Mass Market Paperback,Audio CD,Audible Audiobook Publication Date:Aug 29, 2006


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The
perfect gift for Father’s Day, this 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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Flags of Our Fathers:

1

May 27, 2007

Why Trash Rene?
This book left a bad taste in my mouth. The author trashed Rene Gagnon and his wife for hoping to capitalize on his (Rene's) experience. Although James Bradley says he started a scholarship fund with the proceeds (all of the proceeds?) from the book, I would bet that he capitalized plenty from this book and movie rights.

During his and his siblings' trip to Mt. Surabachi in 1998, they left a memorial plaque there when he and his brothers manfully pissed on Japanese sacred ground. This, after severely criticizing Rene Gagnon's widow for leaving a memorial plaque at her husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

And here is the big question: Since John Bradley was immediately behind Harlon Block in the picture, why didn't James Bradley even bring up the question of why his father didn't set the misidentification right? Did John Bradley not know that Harlon Block was in front of him? Was it confusion? This question was never addressed in the book. Ira Hayes was told to keep his mouth shut. Did John Bradley bring it up at the same time Ira did, and was also told to keep his mouth shut? I wonder.

Why did it take Ira's hitchhiking from southwest Arizona to southeast Texas two years later to finally set it right? John Bradley was closest to Harlan, Ira was farthest away in the back.

John Bradley was perfect. Perfect husband, perfect father, perfect up-standing citizen who had perfect American values, never cussed, never drank more than two martinis, had assistants to do the embalming (well-paid, I trust), had to drive a new Cadillac--it was important to look good, as his son wrote. Ira was a drunk, Rene was a jerk. Oh, Jimmy, shut the hell up!

What a waste of terrific subject matter, written by a sophomoric, biased, holier-than-thou . . . . . you fill in the blanks. I was sorely disappointed.
1

July 20, 2003

I was suckered by the reviews
I bought this book primarily on the enthusiasm evidenced in the reviews on Amazon.com. What a mistake. I managed to reach page 87 before having to give up in disgust. I'm fascinated by the second World War, and I've been devouring books on the subject voraciously. Unfortunatly Bradley's book fails as either a moving piece of non-fiction or as an historical account.
Bradley's writing reminded me of a high school student's essay: clumsy sentence structure, cliche riddled, and poorly researched. As a son of one of the flag raisers I hoped that Bradley would be able to recount some of the experiences of his father. Sadly, Bradley never spoke with his father about his time in the war. In fact, Bradley wasn't able to speak with ANY of the flag raisers. As a historical work "Flags of our Fathers" fails completely. Facts are not backed up with evidence, and nearly all of the text is pulled out of thin air. Rife with errors, writing on par with Parade magazine or worse, "Flags of our Fathers" was incredibly dissapointing.
2

Mar 09, 2008

I read the book before the movie. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood is almost entirely dedicated to the book's last chapters where the author describes the after-war lives of the heroes - and yes, despite what Bradley and Eastwood believe, these men ARE heroes regardless of the father Bradley's protests.

After describing the battle and events of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, the author describes how the men's lives turned sour as the US War Machine exploited them for the 7th War Bond I read the book before the movie. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood is almost entirely dedicated to the book's last chapters where the author describes the after-war lives of the heroes - and yes, despite what Bradley and Eastwood believe, these men ARE heroes regardless of the father Bradley's protests.

After describing the battle and events of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, the author describes how the men's lives turned sour as the US War Machine exploited them for the 7th War Bond Drive - and then abandoned them. That's one way of looking at it, I guess; but personally, I would rather read stories that inspire me, educate me, and lift my spirit. After all, this is why we read, isn't it? This book had potential to be great and could have earned 5 stars had it not taken the cynical twist that it did after the flag raising.

The last pages of the book somewhat angered me that the author would think so little of the men's well deserved recognition. They weren't heroes because they "happened to be at the right place, at the right time for an opportune photo" that subsequently became the symbol of America's sacrifice for freedom. They were heroes for setting foot on the island. Period. This is more than I can say for myself and it takes great fortitude to overcome a man's fears to face death, yet step onto that beach anyway.

Bradley and Eastwood just don't get it. The photo honors ALL the fallen veterans and honors ALL the parents who gave their sons during WWII. Family's back home suffered great anxiety, sorrow, and fear for their sons and this memorial is for them too - for their sacrifices. God bless the heroes who died in the waters at Iwo Jima's beaches, the heroes who gave all on the putrid island, the heroes who fought and died or survived in every engagement of this war, and God bless the HEROES who raised the flags on Mount Suribachi. God will reward them even if Bradley and Eastwood won't. ...more
4

Jan 18, 2011

On Veteran's Day and other such days when the mind wanders over the ultimate sacrifice made by brave men and women during our world's troubled times, for Americans there are few images more iconic than the picture of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during WWII.

Flags of Our Fathers was penned by James Bradley, the son of one of the men in that picture. This story is about that experience, what led up to it and what came after. It is more engaging and less depressing than expected. Certainly it is On Veteran's Day and other such days when the mind wanders over the ultimate sacrifice made by brave men and women during our world's troubled times, for Americans there are few images more iconic than the picture of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during WWII.

Flags of Our Fathers was penned by James Bradley, the son of one of the men in that picture. This story is about that experience, what led up to it and what came after. It is more engaging and less depressing than expected. Certainly it is not all flag-waving victory for one and all involved. Bitter sorrow surrounded some of the participants. However, on the whole, that moment in time stands for hard fought victory. Today is a day to honor the idea behind the image, this metaphor for comradeship. Whenever you might read it, Bradley's book makes the reader feel as if everyday is Veteran's Day.

...more
5

July 18, 2017

CONFRONTING WAR'S DEMONS; SIX MEN FACE THE TEST OF HISTORY.
They were six boys from different areas of the country - Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas and Pennsylvania. They were five Marines and a Navy corpsman. They were immortalized in a single second, when a photographer snapped a picture that would become The Photograph, the most reproduced photo of the last century.
This is the story of those young men, all of them working class, all of them struggling to fight a war. Three of them survived to come home, where they were dined and honored and where they struggled to forget the awful images of Iwo Jima. John Bradley, for instance, remembered the corpse of Iggy, his best friend who had been horribly tortured by the Japanese.
This is the story not only of the battle of Iwo Jima and The Photograph that made these men famous; it is also about their lives before the war; it is the story of the three survivors and what happened to them after they left the battlefields.
The survivors themselves said the real heroes were those who didn’t come back from Iwo Jima. But one must not forget that there were like so many other men who were not as well known or immortalized on film and in bronze.
These six men in The Photograph became the image of the war; their valor was what we wanted to see, not the unbearable bloodshed.
Ira Hayes is the best known survivor, but he is known as much for his dark side as for his heroism. Hayes made the headlines for his drunkenness and his arrest record before and after the war. This was a sad end for a brave Marine.
I am glad Bradley wrote so well about his father and his father’s comrades.
4

Jan 10, 2008

Flags of Our Fathers tells the amazing true story of Iwo Jima and The Photograph, by creating a fairly complete picture of the six boys/men in the photo. It recounts basic ideas of their childhoods and their training as Marines, the battle itself, and the lives of those who survived (including Bradley's father) after the war.

These men, who wanted nothing else but to be left alone, were thrust into the spotlight because of a lucky picture at a not-so-heroic moment in time. The picture became a Flags of Our Fathers tells the amazing true story of Iwo Jima and The Photograph, by creating a fairly complete picture of the six boys/men in the photo. It recounts basic ideas of their childhoods and their training as Marines, the battle itself, and the lives of those who survived (including Bradley's father) after the war.

These men, who wanted nothing else but to be left alone, were thrust into the spotlight because of a lucky picture at a not-so-heroic moment in time. The picture became a sensation, the most reproduced photo, and the boys became heroes. They were very much heroes, not because of the flagraising, but for having done the same thing every other soldier had done on Sulfur Island--risking their lives for their country and their friends.

My basic assessment of the book is "Content: excellent. Execution: mediocre."

The middle of the book, which gives the details of the actual battle, was very compelling; I didn't want to put it down. However, the beginning and the end seemed redundant.

The problems with the book do not come from the unbelievable story or its scope, but they come in the structure. In the beginning, I was very frustrated by the sentence fluency, but after talking to a friend about the book (and reading further) I realized it was the organization that was lacking.

Bradley repeats the same ideas over and over. Really, the book could have been a lot shorter--a couple hundred pages shorter (my version was the short, fat one). I do wonder if the YA version would be less redundant without losing the great details. Also, he obviously has a bit of a bias, but it's to be expected, and I don't think it gets too in the way of the important details.

But through all of this, I am very glad that I read it. The information surprised/shocked me a little, but I don't know much about the Japan side of WWII. It's always good to be reminded of the horrors of war and to empathize with those who have been, who are going, and who have sent their loved ones. The story made me surprisingly more emotional than I would have thought. ...more
5

October 3, 2010

Wow. I really had no idea...
Simply put, "Flags of our Fathers" is one of the most powerful and moving books I've read in a very long time. I very much wish that it was required reading for every American and certainly for anyone even remotely involved with the decision to go to war.

FOOF truly captures the tragedy of war. The pageantry and iconography surrounding the flag-raising at Iwo Jima makes it all too easy to see the sacrifices of war as some nameless demigods descended to Earth for a higher purpose. FOOF is so gripping in that it portrays the Flagraisers and Marines on Iwo Jima just as they were: human. It is absolutely mind blowing to consider the horrific and extraordinary circumstances these average boys were put to. I stopped and cried several times as I read of the atrocious death and suffering of 18, 17, and even 15 year olds on the beaches of Iwo.

Not only does this book give a chilling account of the world at war, a thought a 27 year old like myself could never truly comprehend, it also paints an equally powerful picture of America of yesteryear. Even as a veteran myself, I was absolutely astonished at the level of patriotism exhibited by boys doing whatever they could to join the war effort. It was also very hard to imagine America as focused and united toward a common goal as we were during this period of history.

I can honestly say I have no major critiques of the book. Although I initially thought the book was a bit lengthy (I'm not even sure of the final count as I read the Kindle version), after seeing the considerably edited feature film version I instantly knew that the book was absolutely right to tell every single detail that it did. I am certainly not a "history buff" (which is partly why I was so surprised I liked the book so much) so I don't feel qualified to speak on historical accuracy.

In conclusion, I think FOOF is a well-written account of shattered innocence and stark reminder of some of the most brutal destruction mankind has ever known. Many of us pay lip service gratitude to those who have paid such a high price, but it's impossible to even approach sincerity without reading an account like "Flags of our Fathers."
5

May 21, 2018

Absolutely Remarkable
James Bradley is the son of one of the six men identified in perhaps the most memorable photos to emerge from World War II. John Bradley, a Navy corpsman who was among the thousands of Marines who made landfall at Iwo Jima in February 1945, participated in the flag raising atop Mount Suribachi on Feb. 19, 1945. His son James profiled each of the six men in that flagraising. He not only tells the reader about how each of the men came to be among the Marines on Iwo Jima, but describes how they performed during the battle that lasted 31 days and claimed thousands of casualties on both sides.

The author also talks about the lives of the three surviving fundraisers after the battle, including his father. He focuses on how each man dealt with the demands of their celebrity as well as the horrors that lived within each of their memories of Iwo Jima.

As a personal note, I chose to read "Flags of Our Fathers" because my father, a 22-year Navy man, fought in the South Pacific during WW II. This book brought home a much greater understanding of the perils and tragedy of war.
5

August 5, 2017

Flags of Our Fathers
Excellent account of the history of one of the most famous photographs of all time as well as a detailed look into the lives of those involved including the historic battle for Iwo Jima. If you enjoy World War Two history, you won't be disappointed.
4

June 26, 2018

Be prepared for some heartbreaking education
While I am very glad that I took the time to read this book, I must admit that it took me quite awhile to get through it as I found it to be incredibly difficult emotionally to deal with. I have read much about WW2 history these past 15 or so years and so am not a stranger to the horrible conditions under which so many many people worked and lived but realizing that the majority of these young men were really just boys was heartbreaking for me as I have 3 sons and know that in another place and time that could have been any or all of them in those situations. My father was a WW2 vet who died at age 91 about 1 1/2 years ago. I learned a lot from him as he loved to talk about his days in the eighth Air Force. I don’t think you will regret investing the time into this book but just be prepared for a reality check. Like Doc in the story my father returned home went to college on the GI bill married my mother and became a funeral director. He worked at this profession until mere months before his death and truly enjoyed his work and those he provided care and comfort too. Perhaps that is another reason why this book was rather tough for me to get through. All in all worth the struggle.
4

March 4, 2012

A Personal Glimpse
The Battle of Iwo Jima on the Pacific front in World War II is truly one of the most horrific moments in the history of our nation. And yet, as is always the case, the momentous act of war, even at its most dehumanizing, manages to distill some of the best and bravest of human emotions. This is a story of those emotions--and of the men, the boys, the bloodied, broken boys of Iwo Jima.

Bradley places his focus, as so many other chroniclers of Iwo Jima have done, on the moment captured in the historic picture, showing the raising of a replacement flag on the heights of the volcano, Mt. Suribachi. But Bradley, perhaps, has more of a right than most authors to explore the mythos of that picture. Bradley's father, Navy corpsman John "Doc" Bradley, was one of the most prominent figures in that moment of serendipity, along with five Marines--three privates, a corporal, and a sergeant. Three of those men were doomed to die there on the black beaches of Iwo; three, Bradley's father among them, would return to the United States as heroes.

This is not so much a story of war or even just of Iwo Jima, as it is a story of the men who fought it. With stirring pathos, Bradley writes the life stories of those six boys, and how they would be forever altered by that "war to end all wars." The stark horror of battle, the love of their buddies, and, for those who survived, the determination to get on with their lives (some more successfully than others) makes it difficult for the reader not to mourn them and their sufferings.

Once only a symbol of a distant island battlefield, for me "the Photograph" has now become a very personal glimpse into the lives of those six ill-fated boys. I can say their names, I can point them out, I can tell you where they died. Bradley has paid his tribute, and paid it well.
1

June 23, 2016

Bradley Exposed As A Fraud
Please look at todays news on Bradleys father. He wasn't there at the flag raising. Another marine was and never wanted the credit. Bradley is a left wing fraud and always has been. Bradley said back in May that he found the truth about his father not being there.
Frauds lioke Bradley should not be given such celebrity. His research is terrible. His opinions are of the far left.
1

May 1, 2014

If you want to read about "boys" at war this is your book...
Having previously read "Flyboys" I was aquainted with this author's tendency to refer to MEN at war as "boys". But Flags of Our Fathers either STARTED this ridiculous practice or continued it with religious fervor. Personally, I think referring to MEN who volunteered for military service and went to war as "boys" is disgusting. Especially when its done at least 2 or 3 times per page and more often 4 or 5 times per page. Also disgusting is the author's tendency to try to make his father, who was a Navy corpsmen, as heroic in this tale as the Marines who went into battle to actually FIGHT. He as much as admits his father joined the Navy to AVOID the actual war and then somehow tries to spin him into a hero for going into battle as a corpsman against his will. And all of a sudden "my father" becomes "Doc" and he seems to be portrayed as being of paramount importance to the battle on Iwo Jima. Given that several hundred Navy corpsmen died on Iwo Jima, it's obvious that thousands probably served there and for some reason, his supposedly "heroic" father, who know doubt had plenty of wounded Marines to care for, somehow found himself putting up the flag with 5 fighting Marines. I have to wonder how that came to be since I couldn't finish this book. Clearly corpsmen are important in battle but they don't fight and win wars. Men with rifles do. This book also seems to pose a historical document but inevitably devolves into a war novel where battle "scenes" are complete with "quotes". I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe that most of the quotes in this book were ever actually spoken by the people they're attributed to. I have to think the books was written in that style specifically to make it attractive to Hollywood. Another irritating part of this book, at least for me, is the tendency of the author to describe HISTORICAL events that happened in the PAST in the PRESENT TENSE. By and large, the authors seem unable to decide whether to write a historical novel based on actual events or an actual documentary account of the war. Of course the "story" of Iwo Jima has been told so many times previously and the battle records are so well-known that you have to come to the concusion that this book was written for one reason only. So that Mr. Bradley and who knows who else could cash in on his father's "fame" as a flag-raiser posthumously. Given that Mr. Bradley admits that his father basically NEVER discussed his experiences on Iwo Jima while alive, you have to wonder why they decided to tell his story after his death. Perhaps his father didn't feel worthy to mention the small part he played in that battle as a corpsman who survived when most of his fellow "flag raisers" died on that island. Regardless, after choking my way through about half of this books, I got tired of hearing men in their late teens and early 20s who had volunteered for the military and in some cases had even been to battle previously being referred to as "boys". So I removed the book from my Kindle.
2

January 25, 2013

The story of a flag raising, an homage to Mr. Bradley's father. Watch the documentary for the real Iwo story.
Why does everything about Iwo have to be about that flag and the six men who hid in a hill while 10's of thousands of Marines fought and died to take a strategic stand that would bring about the end of the Pacific war? My father was one of those Marines who was in the second wave--the most lelhal one--onto the beaches, or as the men called it "Black Hell". He's been dead for decades, but I still read the letters he managed to get home to my mother and I still cry every time. Why did Spielburg choose this book on which to base a movie? It has nothing to do with the real story of Iwo and is a slap in the face to all the men, now gone, and their families who still grieve. Pbcohen
1

Aug 03, 2014

Full disclosure - I wasn't able to finish this book, so if you're one of those people who says you can't judge it til you finish, you don't need to read this. I, however, don't need to get to the end to know I just hated this book, and am writing a review to warn others and remind myself why I didn't finish it. I read a good amount of history stuff in this vein. Not a huge amount, but a lot more than the average American I think, and this is the only one I have come across so far that felt Full disclosure - I wasn't able to finish this book, so if you're one of those people who says you can't judge it til you finish, you don't need to read this. I, however, don't need to get to the end to know I just hated this book, and am writing a review to warn others and remind myself why I didn't finish it. I read a good amount of history stuff in this vein. Not a huge amount, but a lot more than the average American I think, and this is the only one I have come across so far that felt exploitative. After the first few chapters I started to feel like Bradley was trying to make a living off of his father's life. I tried to push through, give him the benefit of the doubt, but I got about half way through and the impression just deepened. That's when I checked the reviews on Goodreads and realized a lot of other people had the same impression. There was just too much of Bradley in it. It's not really their story, it's his, about his "epic" journey to publicize their lives. I can't really point to anything specific in the text, its just the overall impression I get.

The other thing that bothers me is that some of the details he shares from these men's lives are very personal. There's even a few where he talks about how it was a secret that they kept, they never wanted anyone to know, and yet here he is, publishing it for the world to see, making money off it. And a lot of them weren't relevant to the story either, it was just dramatic fodder. And yet, despite the fact that Bradley seems to have made a career out of this picture, he constantly downplays the importance of the moment, saying that they were just in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time. That's alright for his father to say, because its his experiences, his life. But you can't go around saying someone else's bravery was just luck. Sure, it was a lot of chance that put them in the actual picture, but the story isn't just the picture. And even if it was, they stand for all the soldiers, all the courage shown and sacrifices made. Bradley makes it sound like he doesn't think they should really be celebrated, because they just happened to be there. He misses the entire point.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, it's badly written, as in literally, the prose is bad. It rambles, its repetitive, it basically reads like a diary entry or a spoken story that hasn't been edited at all. A lot of it sounds kind of like Eat, Pray, Love, where the author is deeply meditating on something internal. Self-serving crap if you ask me, but I tend to be very literal, so if you find meaning in stuff like that, you may enjoy his writing style.

Basically, it was a badly written attempt to make money off someone else's pain. ...more
5

Nov 22, 2008

Like most people, I had no idea what the real context was for the famous photograph of soldiers raising the US flag at Iwo Jima. Nor did I understand the military significance of that campaign, or the cost in lives it required (over 8000 US soldiers killed and almost 20,000 wounded; and over 20,000 Japanese killed). This book is presented as the story of the 6 men who appear in the photo. The first section gives their backgrounds and life stories, and dragged a bit, but made the rest much more Like most people, I had no idea what the real context was for the famous photograph of soldiers raising the US flag at Iwo Jima. Nor did I understand the military significance of that campaign, or the cost in lives it required (over 8000 US soldiers killed and almost 20,000 wounded; and over 20,000 Japanese killed). This book is presented as the story of the 6 men who appear in the photo. The first section gives their backgrounds and life stories, and dragged a bit, but made the rest much more personal (these were REAL PEOPLE involved in this struggle). The last part discusses the aftermath, particularly the struggle to cope emotionally with something as horrific as this kind of battle. But it's the middle section that grabs your heart. I've never seen such a vivid portrayal of combat, written in a way that portrayed the terror, the strategizing, the campaigns, and especially the incredible bravery and self-sacrifice. You come away with a deep appreciation for the discipline and loyalty of the Marine Corps; for the desperation but willing sacrifice of the Japanese defenders; and for those Americans who were "common men doing uncommon things" - truly heroes, in the purest sense of the word. I was lucky to read this book on planes to and from Florida, just in time for Memorial Day. ...more
4

Aug 02, 2007

I don't often read historical nonfiction, but this book was superb; I was very moved by the countless acts of sacrifice made by the men who fought at Iwo Jima.

This is a riveting narrative about the six young American flag raisers in the famed picture. Author James Bradley is the son of corpsman John Bradley (one of the men in the photo) and it was only after his father's death when he began to piece together culminating events, as his father never talked about the war but for: "The heroes of Iwo I don't often read historical nonfiction, but this book was superb; I was very moved by the countless acts of sacrifice made by the men who fought at Iwo Jima.

This is a riveting narrative about the six young American flag raisers in the famed picture. Author James Bradley is the son of corpsman John Bradley (one of the men in the photo) and it was only after his father's death when he began to piece together culminating events, as his father never talked about the war but for: "The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back." The book includes background on each man, subsequently proceeding to their enlistment, training, fighting, and of course the photograph. Only three of the six flag-raisers survived the battle.

Highly recommended. (And don't see the movie, it stinks.)




...more
3

Jul 26, 2008

This was a good book, the intent of the author was good, but I didn't like so many personal comments from him. I don't care that he stared at the picture that this book is based around for hours at a time in a daze, or any other comments he made like that. I think that the fact that he added those into the book took away from honoring those he was writing about. It seemed selfish and cocky of him. His personal comments seemed more like a tribute to himself and his intellect than to those who This was a good book, the intent of the author was good, but I didn't like so many personal comments from him. I don't care that he stared at the picture that this book is based around for hours at a time in a daze, or any other comments he made like that. I think that the fact that he added those into the book took away from honoring those he was writing about. It seemed selfish and cocky of him. His personal comments seemed more like a tribute to himself and his intellect than to those who fought in battle. Otherwise this book was good, the facts are solid and you are very anxious to find out more and more as the book goes on. I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but this is how I feel about the book. ...more
5

February 19, 2007

As Good As It Gets
What a piece of work. This book is at once a tribute memorial, a history, a social commentary, and a poem. Everyone must know the outline by now: The author is the son of John "Doc" Bradley, the last of the three surviving Mt. Suribachi flagraisers (three of the six flagraisers died on Iwo Jima, and two of the three survivors died young). Doc Bradley closely guarded his story of Iwo Jima, even from his family - his children did not learn that he had been awarded the Navy Cross until after his death. James Bradley, the author, doggedly put together his father's story, and in the process created this marvelous testament for all for the flagraisers. The glory of war is erased by this book, leaving only the grim reality of death and struggle and torture that, as this book convincingly portrays, was at its worst on Iwo Jima. We get the whole package: a wonderful review of the pre-War lives of the six flagraisers, their training, their experiences before Iwo Jima, and then of course the battle itself. The real story of The Flagraising is given to us here - and there are so many surprises. The reader learns that the famous moment was an unstaged second flagraising - a prior flag being too small for the desired effect. We learn that the battle was a loooooong way from being over, and three of the six young men in The Photograph did not leave the island alive. Not surprisingly, the Iwo Jima experience threatened to destroy its survivors, with only head-down and teeth-gritted men like Doc Bradley seemingly able to make the adjustment back to civilian life with any measure of normalcy - and even that was achieved by Bradley by resisting, as best he could, the demands of celebrity that was the result of one snap of the shutter. What a book. If you are interested in World War II, it is a must. Even if you are not a WWII buff, this is a great book - for its homage to a man, and its examination of the perverse mania of fame.
1

July 1, 2018

Should be listed under fiction or credited to Harlold Schultz
As a former Marine I have nothing but gratitude to my brothers and sisters who have served before and with me. However, this book should be listed under fiction as Mr. Bradley was not at the second flag raising as depicted in the book. Moreover he continued to deceive the public and his family and this fraud was further extended by his son. To say otherwise all one has to do is pull up old photographs of Mr. Bradley on Bond campaigns in WWII as he points at himself in the photograph which clearly was not him at all. Stolen Valor? Thank you Mr. Bradley for all you had done (Died 1994) but please give credit where credit is due (we are grateful for your service). Anyone else want a refund beside myself? A portion of the book and movie profits should actually go to the family of Harold Schultz, the MARINE who is actually in the photo (not Bradley) and died in 1995.
5

Jan 29, 2009

5Q 2P A/YA

James Bradley's book is a masterpiece of historical writing that will not wear down readers with heavy language or intimidate with hundreds of pages. This is a biography written about the five men who raised the United States flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during the second World War. Bradley's father along with two other men Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon survived the attack on the island and were sent home on orders from the United States government after a 5Q 2P A/YA

James Bradley's book is a masterpiece of historical writing that will not wear down readers with heavy language or intimidate with hundreds of pages. This is a biography written about the five men who raised the United States flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during the second World War. Bradley's father along with two other men Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon survived the attack on the island and were sent home on orders from the United States government after a photograph of the scene had been sent home. The unforgettable picture became a national phenomena and would forever change the lives of the three surviving soldiers.

This book is a fascinating read as the author recreates the oral stories of these men from either direct conversation or other sources related to them. It will please any young reader who has interest in World War II or an American history enthusiast. The battle scenes described in this book allows the reader to become emotionally invested in the lives of these heroic men. The author holds nothing back when it comes to describing the horrors of pain and death in the battlefields.

Perhaps more impressive and unique is the author's ability to describe the home lives of the three men as they come back from fighting. Each man carries the burden of his trials in their own way. Again the author does not sugarcoat any of the domestic struggles these men went through. These honest accounts makes the reader reflect upon the misconceptions of glamourizing war, decorated home lives, and the invincible image of heroes. While not taking away from their courage and heroics on the battlefield, the author keeps these men humbled and human by not hiding anything. For example, one man Ira Hayes must deal with the fact that he is a Native American living in a white man's world. Without his uniform, he is nothing but another Indian drunk in the eyes of the public.

This book would not appeal to most young adult readers because of the content inside. Those looking for a John Wayne war story will want to look elsewhere. The imagery is very intense and graphic. The description of the domestic struggles of the three men is also not a pretty picture either, which might turn off some readers looking for a feel good story. Readers interested in the subject will definitely get into this title with no problem, but other than that it would likely take a lot of convincing to find other young adults to pick this one up. ...more
5

November 1, 2018

Most of the boys were too young to vote.
James Bradley catches the brutality of the battle for the miserable island of Iwo Jima, the ordinariness of the young Americans who were to capture it, and the barbaric Bushido code of the Japanese to hold their sacred ground. Six young Americans, who were immortalized in a photo of the raising of the flag, are forever remembered in their family and hometown contexts, including a history of Arizona's Pima Indians. Sometimes in the same paragraph, Bradley refers to his father as "Doc," sometimes as "my father." Since his father wouldn't talk about Iwo when he was alive, his son was compelled to learn all he could after John Bradley died. A remarkable story that must not be forgotten.
5

November 3, 2006

See the movie first or you won't be as happy with it. It pales in comparison to this book!
Having just seen the motion picture, I thought I now had seen the "true story" of Iwo Jima, when, in fact, I had only experienced the overture to the opera which was the battle of Iwo Jima. The film ignited a curiosity in me that prompted me to go immediately to Amazon.com to buy the book. Had I known what I'd find in its pages, I would have bought a hardback--this book should sit in a special place in my library.

First, be careful not to inadvertently buy an abridged copy. You won't want Bradley's prose altered in any way. You will come to know--as much as it could be possible--not only the guys in the photograph, but their buddies, their families, and the Marines. Questions that flitted through your mind during the movie, things that seemed just little odd, will be made crystal clear.

This book is a hard one to put down, but you have to set it aside to allow it to sink in. As Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne (and three of the actual flag-raisers: Gagnon, Bradley, and Hayes) doesn't hold a candle to the motion picture version of Flags of Our Fathers, the Clint Eastwood epic, while a likely Oscar contender, is, by the very nature of commercial films, very limited in its ability to bring to life the pages of this book. This tome needs no other media to depict the lives of the men, their families, and the horror that is war. The romance of war evaporates with each page turned.

This book is remarkably well organized, skillfully drawing very clear pictures of these men, blemishes and all, their heritages, their upbringing, and their personalities. You will even come to understand something of the Japanese of that generation, and why it can be truly said that the atomic bombs saved more lives than they took.

James Bradley hasn't made this simply a salute to his father, and he has neither whitewashed nor been unduly critical of any of the subjects.

Get it, read it, treasure it and the men who gave "their todays for our tomorrows."
1

Jul 22, 2011

Unreadable:

Book begins with the author detailing a trip Iwo Jima with family member where he took great delight in being photographed peeing off the side of the mountain monument dedicated to the battle that took place there. That is right this man by special permission was invited to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima and onto the Japanese military base and stood on a monument dedicated to the thousands of men who fought and died there and decided it would be awesome if he peed on all of it. I Unreadable:

Book begins with the author detailing a trip Iwo Jima with family member where he took great delight in being photographed peeing off the side of the mountain monument dedicated to the battle that took place there. That is right this man by special permission was invited to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima and onto the Japanese military base and stood on a monument dedicated to the thousands of men who fought and died there and decided it would be awesome if he peed on all of it. I don't care if the men who fought there did that in some kind bolstering attempt to deal with what they had and would yet experience, that land is now sacred (as the author alludes to in the title of the chapter "Sacred Ground") and you just don't do that. Imagine if we reversed the situation and the son of one of the pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor was invited to the memorial site and decided to be photographed peeing of one of the monuments or into the water above the Arizona. And this is what the author wants you to know of himself. Classless, disgusting, and entirely without honor.

Sadly the book doesn't get better from there. It is full of repetitions, contradictions, cliches, and outright falsehoods (which are then, of course, repeated). The author continually switches from third person to first person (even inside the same paragraphs) and past tense to present tense. To give us a sense of the boys he is writing about he spoke with and quotes wives, mothers, brothers, and former fiancés (everyone of them named) of all the boys but one (needless to say every single one of these boys were saints and angels and rang entirely false). The one boy left out, Rene, was for some reason hated by the author who could barely bring himself to write anything at all about the boy and when he did detailed the varied flaws backed up by general quotes from unnamed "friends."

Moreover, the continual claims that the US contributed nothing to winning the war in Europe (entirely done by Russia it seems--something that would no doubt surprise my grandfather who landed on Utah Beach at Normandy) and no other country contributed to the US winning the "American War" in the Pacific added to the author's never-ending claims that the Marines single handedly won this "American War" while everyone else just were just bumbling idiots who cost the Marines their lives was beyond annoying and moved back into the realm of disgusting.

And my goodness, do a little research, man. The author briefly wonders why Ira (the Native American of the group) started drinking before the war. Let's see, I wonder if just maybe there is a little research out there about Native Americans and alcohol. It is too bad that the author couldn't muster up his oft-written abilities of staring into the famous picture to learn everything he needed to know about the men that raised that flag or hear their voices guiding him on his path of research. Maybe he could/should have asked Ira himself why he started drinking. (And while we are on the topic of Ira, there is not a trace of racism mentioned in the entire first half of the book. I don't buy that for a minute.) He did, however, seem to have been able to use this little "research" tool in discovering what the boys were thinking about things they "never discussed with a single living soul."

Can you tell yet that I was thoroughly disgusted by this book? It was poorly researched and poorly written--I imagine this has something to do with the difficulty Bradley faced in getting it published and why no historians (military or otherwise) were jumping up and down to offer reviews or forwards for the work.

**I only read the first half ...more
5

Jan 03, 2012

Courage

A noble virtue that has sometimes been bastardized.

By people who engage in reckless abandon.

By jerks who just long for publicity.

By showbiz scum who wash their dirty linen in public.(The latest local one with the initials "K.A.")

But there was a time when REAL courage meant facing bullets, bombs, and staring death in the face, not for personal glory or just for the kick of it, but for freedom, liberty, and justice. And saving other people's lives.

The Allied men and women (Filipinos Courage

A noble virtue that has sometimes been bastardized.

By people who engage in reckless abandon.

By jerks who just long for publicity.

By showbiz scum who wash their dirty linen in public.(The latest local one with the initials "K.A.")

But there was a time when REAL courage meant facing bullets, bombs, and staring death in the face, not for personal glory or just for the kick of it, but for freedom, liberty, and justice. And saving other people's lives.

The Allied men and women (Filipinos included) who served and fought in the Second World War were raised in the Great Depression and rose up against it. They then left-or were forced to leave-their peaceful lives to fight and defeat fascism and militarism. And many were killed and wounded in that terrible conflict. But not in vain.

In this start of the Holy Week, may we be reminded of the true meaning of courage. Like Jesus, who entered Jerusalem knowing that he would meet his death-and Resurrection- in a week's time. Like the Allied men and women of the Second World War. To face evil and confront it, despite the odds.

In memoriam.

...more

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