Flags of Our Fathers
James Bradley, Ron Powers
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
gate, the drivers, the newspaper people, the autograph-seekers. Then it was over and he’d have to unwind for days, sometimes weeks, from being the ‘hero’ to leading a normal life. It was stop-and-go heroism.” But Rene never stepped away from his roller coaster. Acknowledging the cheers of a Rose Bowl crowd at halftime; dedicating another statue; appearances as a “mystery guest” on TV; another speech; waving from the convertible to the crowds lining the parade—he rarely said no. One minute the
formation, and as far as Leo Ryan could remember, they had only one running play. It was called “Harlon’s play,” which was strange in that it called for Harlon to block out for the fullback Glen Cleckler. But when the Panthers needed an artillery strike—a pass to gain some first-down yardage—Harlon’s big milk-hauling hands were usually wide open and ready for the ball. Harlon, the middle child, loved being part of a team, going along with the guys. He was a real contributor, but not a leader or
fully wound with thread, the doffer would lift it off its spindle and replace it with an empty cylinder. It was unchallenging work Rene could do. Irene was happy with her secure life in the mill and her tidy home. She sang the praises of this life to her son and encouraged him to come to work with her whenever he could. Rene began to join his mother during her lunch hour, abandoning his friends in the school cafeteria. After two years of high school, he dropped out so that he could concentrate
lived in the uneasy shadow of that photograph—a shadow cast by an image that itself was never visible in our household—I knew something about its lingering power within a family. I hungered to know what the Bradley household might have had in common with those of the other five. The questions I asked generated many tears. But they opened up some bright, glowing chambers of the past as well. The whole topic of boyhood, for example. Here was a many-faceted realm I had not quite expected to enter,
gun, they found its emplacement unoccupied. The two stayed in the emplacement beside the weapon through the night to prevent the Japanese from reoccupying it. Rooting in the darkness, Ruhl found a tunnel not far away. With no apparent thought that it might be occupied by extremely unfriendly tenants, the eccentric Montana boy crawled inside and explored its entire length with lighted matches. He discovered several woolen blankets and brought them back to his dumbfounded comrades. As Suribachi’s