Flags of Our Fathers by James D. BradleyIn this unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history, James Bradley has captured the glory, the triumph, the heartbreak, and the legacy of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Here 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 islands 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 mens paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacifics 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 Bradleys 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 didnt 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
A Ghastly Conflagration, a Tormented Aftermath
Correction Appended. It seems hard to believe there is anything left to say about World War II that has not already been stated and restated, chewed, digested and spat out for your consideration and that of the Oscar voters. And yet here, at age 76, is Clint Eastwood saying something new and vital about the war in his new film, and here, too, is this great, gray battleship of a man and a movie icon saying something new and urgent about the uses of war and of the men who fight. An Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal, immortalized the moment, and American politicians seized the day, sending the three surviving flag raisers — Doc, Ira Hayes Adam Beach , delivering heartbreak by the payload and Rene Gagnon Jesse Bradford — on a hugely successful war-bond drive. Collectively hailed as heroes from sea to shining sea, Rene embraced the spotlight, Doc settled into stoic unhappiness, while Ira, a Pima Indian shattered by Iwo Jima and its dead, sobbed and drank himself into oblivion. To replicate that scorched earth, Mr.
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A t the age of 76, Clint Eastwood has directed a sombre and shrewd movie about America's war in the Pacific. It plays out in a haunting minor key - perhaps a little too haunting and minor for American cinemagoers who have received this movie coolly, perhaps now finding the subject of war uncongenial, and probably unready for a film that challenges the myths of the one war whose essential rightness is an article of faith.
It is based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima , the five Marines and one Navy corpsman who were involved in raising the flag on Iwo Jima , and the aftereffects of that event on their lives. Until June 23, , Bradley's father John Bradley , Navy corpsman, was misidentified as being one of the figures who raised the second flag, and incorrectly depicted on the memorial as the third bronze statue from the base of the flagstaff with the foot 9. The film is taken from the American viewpoint of the Battle of Iwo Jima, while its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima , which Eastwood also directed, is from the Japanese viewpoint of the battle. Although a box office bomb, only grossing The Navy bombards suspected Japanese positions for three days. Sergeant Mike Strank is put in charge of Second Platoon.
Those who were hailed as the Iwo Jima heroes were indeed heroes the battle resulted in 29 Medals of Honor , but in the film they tend to be unresponsive to such praise; they cannot forget the dead friends left behind. The intensity of the battle can scarcely be imagined. The Marines suffered one-third of all their World Two combat deaths on the tiny speck in the Pacific, and almost all the 22, entrenched Japanese died, some by their own hands. It was clear to them that without air or sea support they would be defeated; their mission was to hold out as long as they could, and die. The film opens with interlocking scenes from past and present, showing the battle underway and being remembered, with voice-overs from survivors. All the major themes are being introduced, although we will discover that only later. Then, after a tense prelude at sea, it focuses on the initial American landing, which was eerily quiet; no Japanese fire was encountered on the beach, and troops advanced inland easily, until being ambushed by concealed enemy positions.