Kamas Kirian's Reviews > Flyboys: A True Story of Courage

Flyboys by James D. Bradley
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's review
Jul 23, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: aviation, biography, history, military, non-fiction, wwii, pacific-islands
Read from July 22 to 28, 2012

Misled and annoyed, followed by appreciative and solemn. I don't think the person who wrote the blurb about the book actually read the book. The first third of the book doesn't really have anything to do with the last half of the book. And former President Bush makes up a very, very small part of the narrative. Having read Bradley's book Flags of Our Fathers, I was interested in what he had to say President Bush's tour in the Pacific.

Basically, the first third of the book should be more aptly titled "How to rationalize committing atrocities during wartime". It talks about how "civilized" nations (like the US) raped, murdered and tortured the people they were fighting against, so Japan felt justified in doing the same. The narrative that Bradley used was much too familiar, with famous people being identified by their first names (General Mitchell was 'Billy', General Doolittle was 'Jimmy', etc.). There is also the problem that there are many quotes, but no linking to explain who some of the quotes are from or in what context they were made.

As the story finally moved into the era of WW2 and the actual aviators attacking Chichi Jima, the story got better. He continued with the too familiar first name accounts and altogether used "Flyboys" way too much. And the story strayed from the events on Chichi Jima quite often. There were times that the book read like someones high school research paper. But, the overall information was well presented. The differences in culture were well documented and I felt an emotional connection to the people involved that I hadn't expected. I still feel slighted and misled by the book blurb.

The eBook edition was formatted decently. The illustrations at the beginning appear to be cut off and there were a few spelling mistakes.
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Reading Progress

07/23/2012 page 28
07/23/2012 page 85
23.0% "Rather disappointed so far. The blurb isn't what the book is about. I'm about a quarter of the way into the book, and so far there has only been a couple of pages (maybe 5?) that dealt with the "flyboys", and those were extremely cryptic.

Mostly what I've gotten from this book so far is that the author basically is saying that past atrocities by other "civilized" countries make other current atrocities acceptable."
07/23/2012 page 110
30.0% "The narrative style the author uses is really starting to bug me. It's way too personal and repetitive. Gen. Mitchell is "Billy" and Gen. Doolittle is "Jimmy". The use of "Flyboys" over and over is actually distracting."
07/25/2012 page 185
50.0% "Well, as I've gotten into the middle of the book, it's gotten slightly better. We're talking about aviators anyway, though there is still a lot about things other than what the blurb says it is."
05/04/2016 marked as: read

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