BOOK REVIEW: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS
With all the publicity lately about the movie made from this story, I did not know what to expect. In general, the book is good as it follows the soldiers that raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during the closing days of World War II. The story starts by telling all about where these men were born and raised and their life before, during, and after school. They had tough and fast military training, especially those that entered the service during the war. Training completed, they travel via ship to their assignments on various fronts.
The battle parts of this book are tremendous. The reader can somewhat feel what these boys went through in their daily military lives and make you glad you were not actually in the action these boys were in. It was brutal, deadly, bloody, and the weather made things even worse.
Eventually they all ended up on Iwo Jima in one of the most horrific battles during WW II. “Doc” John Henry Bradley was the father of the author. He was the only one of the six to enter the navy, becoming a medic in the heat of battle. The battle for Iwo Jima was measured in inches gained and lost each day. The famous flag raising was actually an afterthought while the soldiers were gaining ground on Mount Suribachi as they went up higher towards the summit. They had resistance from Japanese entrenched in caves, in concrete bunkers, and any place they could hide and still kill their enemy.
The story tells of the first, then the second flag raising at the summit and how the picture was taken with one group, then another. That picture became a rallying point in the United States and was so well known as “The Battle” that was fought by such courageous men and boys. At the time the flag was raised, much more fierce fighting remained on Iwo Jima.
When the battle ended and the war was finally over, the survivors from the flag raising were heroes. Some of them gloried in the publicity and in the public light while some wanted no part of publicity. The war had been a terrible nightmare for them, the nightmares that still haunted them until their dying days.
Flags of our Fathers was written by Doc Bradley’s son, James. James did much research in many places to write this true story. If you like war stories that tell the guts and blood of battle, and the men that fight, you will enjoy this book tremendously.
REVIEWED BY CY HILTERMAN
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