Flags of Our Fathers
I just finished reading a wonderful book, originally published in 2000 but out just this year in paperback, entitled Flags of Our Fathers, authored by James Bradley. It is a book well worth the read for anyone interested in the Iwo Jima campaign of February-March, 1945.
James Bradley is the son of John Bradley who, unfortunately, passed away in 1994. John Bradley, for the last 16 years of his life, was the sole survivor of the six men who were immortalized in the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second flag raising on Mt. Surabachi on Iwo Jima in February 1945, three of whom did not even live long enough to survive the Iwo Jima battle itself.
The author's father steadfastly refused to tell of his experiences on Iwo Jima during his lifetime, which surprises me not at all, though it seems to have been a very misunderstood point for the author all of his life. James Bradley, upon the death of his father, decided to research the subject for himself. He did a magnificent job.
This book looks not only at the Iwo Jima campaign and the flag-raising, but much more importantly, at the lives and character of each of the men who were involved in the flag-raising, and how that 1/400th of a second chance photograph by Joe Rosenthal affected their lives thereafter. In the process, Bradley describes the Iwo Jima campaign and its unspeakable horrors better than any author I've ever read. Anyone who foolishly thinks there is any "glory" in war, should read this book.