Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley

I give this book 4 out 5 stars!

Description: 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 II'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 Honor.
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 II, Flags gives a you-are-there depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there.
This book borderlines 4.5 stars.  I can not begin to describe all the emotions it brought out in me.  The only reason I downgraded it was because it was a bit repetitive.  I love the line "The real heroes of Iwo Jima are those who died there", but really how many times did it need to be said?  And this wasn't the only thing repeated throughout the book.  I also felt it dragged in places.  But, this book left me in awe of those brave men who fought and gave their lives on that tiny little island.  And it gave me deep respect for those who battled it until their death after they left.  The Photograph is such a part of American History, but to the soldiers that were there that "one" meant nothing.   This book also made me wonder were that kind of patriotism has gone?  I'm sure some people still feel it.  But, not the country as a whole.  I wonder what happened?

1 comment:

  1. James Bradley always has something interesting to say. If you’d like an opportunity to hear him speak, and will be in the Northern California area, check out Perspectives 2009-Sacramento’s premier speaker’s forum. For more information visit


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