Adrienne's Reviews > Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers by James D. Bradley
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Feb 06, 08

Read in February, 2008

Flags of Our Fathers tells the amazing true story of Iwo Jima and The Photograph, by creating a fairly complete picture of the six boys/men in the photo. It recounts basic ideas of their childhoods and their training as Marines, the battle itself, and the lives of those who survived (including Bradley's father) after the war.

These men, who wanted nothing else but to be left alone, were thrust into the spotlight because of a lucky picture at a not-so-heroic moment in time. The picture became a sensation, the most reproduced photo, and the boys became heroes. They were very much heroes, not because of the flagraising, but for having done the same thing every other soldier had done on Sulfur Island--risking their lives for their country and their friends.

My basic assessment of the book is "Content: excellent. Execution: mediocre."

The middle of the book, which gives the details of the actual battle, was very compelling; I didn't want to put it down. However, the beginning and the end seemed redundant.

The problems with the book do not come from the unbelievable story or its scope, but they come in the structure. In the beginning, I was very frustrated by the sentence fluency, but after talking to a friend about the book (and reading further) I realized it was the organization that was lacking.

Bradley repeats the same ideas over and over. Really, the book could have been a lot shorter--a couple hundred pages shorter (my version was the short, fat one). I do wonder if the YA version would be less redundant without losing the great details. Also, he obviously has a bit of a bias, but it's to be expected, and I don't think it gets too in the way of the important details.

But through all of this, I am very glad that I read it. The information surprised/shocked me a little, but I don't know much about the Japan side of WWII. It's always good to be reminded of the horrors of war and to empathize with those who have been, who are going, and who have sent their loved ones. The story made me surprisingly more emotional than I would have thought.
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