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.
Who Were the Marines Who Raised the Flag on Iwo Jima?
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The photograph was first published in Sunday newspapers on February 25, It was extremely popular and was reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war. John Bradley until June All men were under the command of Brigadier General Harry B. The copyright holder, the Associated Press , relinquished its rights to the photograph, placing it in the public domain. Iwo Jima originally was not a target, but the relatively quick fall of the Philippines left the Americans with a longer-than-expected lull prior to the planned invasion of Okinawa.
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Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi — perhaps the best-known Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. It was taken on Friday, Feb. On July 11, before the war had ended, it appeared on a United States postage stamp. Normally, the Pulitzer Prize Board considers journalism published in the previous calendar year for the prizes. The Photography jury was just finishing its work and apparently did not consider it. The Pulitzer Advisory Board acknowledged receipt of the photos on April 18 and assured Fesch they would receive consideration. A short time later, it was announced that the Rosenthal photo had won the prize.