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Flags of Our Fathers

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#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.

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Review:

The Battle of Iwo Jima, fought in the winter of 1945 on a rocky island south of Japan, brought a ferocious slice of hell to Earth: in a month's time, more than 22,000 Japanese soldiers would die defending a patch of ground a third the size of Manhattan, while nearly 26,000 Americans fell taking it from them. The battle was a turning point in the war in the Pacific, and it produced one of World War Two's enduring images: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's commanding high point. One of those young Americans was John Bradley, a Navy corpsman who a few days before had braved enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to administer first aid to a wounded Marine and then drag him to safety. For this act of heroism Bradley would receive the Navy Cross, an award second only to the Medal of Honour. Bradley, who died in 1994, never mentioned his feat to his family. Only after his death did Bradley's son James begin to piece together the facts of his father's heroism, which was but one of countless acts of sacrifice made by the young men who fought at Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers recounts the sometimes tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag that February day--one an Arizona Indian who would die following an alcohol-soaked brawl, another a Kentucky hillbilly, still another a Pennsylvania steel-mill worker--and who became reluctant heroes in the bargain. A strongly felt and well-written entry in a spate of recent books on World War Two, Flags of our Fathers gives a "you-are-there" depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there. --Gregory McNamee

Review:

"Unforgettable . . . one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see . . . its portrayal rivals Saving Private Ryan in its shocking, unvarnished immediacy."--The New York Times

"The best battle book I ever read . . . These stories, chronicling the time the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima enlisted, their training, and the landing and subsequent struggle, fill me with awe."--Stephen E. Ambrose

"A powerful book whose vivid and horrific images do not easily leave the mind . . . [Flags of Our Fathers] relates the brutalizing story of Iwo Jima with a fine eye for both the strategic imperative and the telling incident."--The Boston Globe

"Brings a heartfelt personal dimension to this penetrating and insightful look at an American icon . . . Flags of Our Fathers captivates as the story behind a famous photo; a story that lives on in a son's heart."--National Review

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780553111330: Flags of Our Fathers

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0553111337 ISBN 13: 9780553111330
Publisher: Bantam USA, 2000
Hardcover

9780553589344: Flags of Our Fathers (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Bantam, 2006
Softcover

9780553380293: Flags of Our Fathers

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9780553589085: Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima

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