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Flags of Our Fathers (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Ron Powers – Lessons For A Modern Generation

September 28, 2011
Flags of Our Fathers (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Ron Powers

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 months 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 IIs enduring images: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the islands 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 Bradleys son James begin to piece together the facts of his fathers 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 conflicts horrible arenas–and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there. –Gregory McNamee

Lessons For A Modern Generation
Simply put, this is historical narrative writing at its best.This terrific book tells the story of the six flag raisers in Joe Rosenthals iconic Pulitzer-Prize winning photograph from Iwo Jima.The author James Bradley is the son of flag raiser John Bradley.Bradley shows how the men in the photograph were a cross section of small town America at the time.He clearly demonstrates how their fate tied into the larger story of Iwo Jima.Three of the six men were killed shortly after the photo was taken in the brutal fighting on the island.The battle scenes are unforgettable.But, this is more then a war story, this is a story of honor,horror, fame and its price and the impact of war that goes on long after the shooting is over.It is a story of good and honest men catapulted into a terrible situation and how they dealt with it.Clearly the amazing characters were much more then just figures in one of the wars most memorable pictures.The opening when the Bradley family visits Iwo and the conclusion when the author remembers his dad and his reluctance to be called a hero along with his wanting to not talk about the war are enough to put a lump in the throat of Scrooge.This is realistic praise of the greatest generation.It shows their strengths and their flaws and it makes me miss my father even more.You will remember this book long after you are done reading. That generation had its problems like we all do, but it faced incredible horror with a strength of character that this book captures.

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Flags of Our Fathers (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Ron Powers

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