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Flags of Our Fathers

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  51,945 ratings  ·  1,654 reviews
In 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, Americ
Paperback, 382 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Bantam (first published May 2nd 2000)
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Pete Your point is valid with regards to heroism, but it is still important that events that have a historical importance be represented as factually accur…moreYour point is valid with regards to heroism, but it is still important that events that have a historical importance be represented as factually accurate as possible. The Smithsonian is currently conducting an investigation on behalf of the Marine Corp into the famous image of the replacement flag raising. More information on why this is occurring can be found here....
Steve Davis After the book was published, the Marines followed the lead of some amateur historians and concluded that while Jack Bradley helped raise the first fl…moreAfter the book was published, the Marines followed the lead of some amateur historians and concluded that while Jack Bradley helped raise the first flag, it was a different man who was in the famous picture of the second raising. That chapter was added to later editions to acknowledge that fact. People are blurry about a lot of things about their pasts, especially if they didn't consider it consequential at the time. And if enough people tell you something is true, you tend to believe it.(less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  51,945 ratings  ·  1,654 reviews

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Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
I read the book before the movie. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood is almost entirely dedicated to the book's last chapters where the author describes the after-war lives of the heroes - and yes, despite what Bradley and Eastwood believe, these men ARE heroes regardless of the father Bradley's protests.

After describing the battle and events of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, the author describes how the men's lives turned sour as the US War Machine exploited them for the 7th War Bond D
Jason Koivu
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
On Veteran's Day and other such days when the mind wanders over the ultimate sacrifice made by brave men and women during our world's troubled times, for Americans there are few images more iconic than the picture of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during WWII.

Flags of Our Fathers was penned by James Bradley, the son of one of the men in that picture. This story is about that experience, what led up to it and what came after. It is more engaging and less depressing than expected. Certainly it is n
Apr 25, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: war, seen-as-movies
Movie review

This was the first part of Clint Eastwood's bold experiment of making two films about the battle of Iwo Jima,from opposing perspectives.This is a fine film,though the other film,Letters from Iwo Jima,is even better.

Commercially,the film didn't succeed.The photograph of the US marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima is iconic.This is the story of those soldiers and what happened to them afterwards.

The battle scenes are good,as expected.However,the soldiers would not have an easy time of
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 s
In 1945, the Second World War was still raging in the Pacific Ocean. On the island of Iwo Jima one of the bloodiest battles from the war took place. When five Marines and an army doctor plant the American flag on a volcano, they instantly become famous in their home country. Only three managed to survive the slaughter and were haunted untill the end of their days.

James D. Bradley traces the lives of these 6 men, from the moment they joined the Marines untill they died. For John Bradley, Rene Gag
Aug 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Full disclosure - I wasn't able to finish this book, so if you're one of those people who says you can't judge it til you finish, you don't need to read this. I, however, don't need to get to the end to know I just hated this book, and am writing a review to warn others and remind myself why I didn't finish it. I read a good amount of history stuff in this vein. Not a huge amount, but a lot more than the average American I think, and this is the only one I have come across so far that felt explo ...more
Paul Haspel
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The flagraisers at Iwo Jima made history, though they couldn’t have known it at the time. When six American fighting men raised a United States flag atop Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945, an Associated Press photographer quickly snapped a photograph that became The Photograph – the most reproduced, most iconic photo ever taken. And it changed forever the lives of all involved in it.

Flags of Our Fathers, a 2000 bestseller later adapted into a 2006 Clint Eastwood film, was written by James Br
A.L. Sowards
This wasn't a happy book, but I'm glad I read it. The author follows the lives of the five Marines and one Navy corpsman who raise the second American flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. I've always loved the Rosenthal photo, and the Marine Memorial based on the photo is my favorite in the DC area. Here are a few of my thoughts on the book:

I thought the first part of the book, covering the characters' childhoods, training, and the fight to take hell--I mean Iwo Jima--was better than the second
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Like most people, I had no idea what the real context was for the famous photograph of soldiers raising the US flag at Iwo Jima. Nor did I understand the military significance of that campaign, or the cost in lives it required (over 8000 US soldiers killed and almost 20,000 wounded; and over 20,000 Japanese killed). This book is presented as the story of the 6 men who appear in the photo. The first section gives their backgrounds and life stories, and dragged a bit, but made the rest much more p ...more
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
I don't often read historical nonfiction, but this book was superb; I was very moved by the countless acts of sacrifice made by the men who fought at Iwo Jima.

This is a riveting narrative about the six young American flag raisers in the famed picture. Author James Bradley is the son of corpsman John Bradley (one of the men in the photo) and it was only after his father's death when he began to piece together culminating events, as his father never talked about the war but for: "The heroes of Iwo
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good book, the intent of the author was good, but I didn't like so many personal comments from him. I don't care that he stared at the picture that this book is based around for hours at a time in a daze, or any other comments he made like that. I think that the fact that he added those into the book took away from honoring those he was writing about. It seemed selfish and cocky of him. His personal comments seemed more like a tribute to himself and his intellect than to those who fou ...more
Andrew Backs
5Q 2P A/YA

James Bradley's book is a masterpiece of historical writing that will not wear down readers with heavy language or intimidate with hundreds of pages. This is a biography written about the five men who raised the United States flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during the second World War. Bradley's father along with two other men Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon survived the attack on the island and were sent home on orders from the United States government after a pho
Courtney Burns
Jul 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished

Book begins with the author detailing a trip Iwo Jima with family member where he took great delight in being photographed peeing off the side of the mountain monument dedicated to the battle that took place there. That is right this man by special permission was invited to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima and onto the Japanese military base and stood on a monument dedicated to the thousands of men who fought and died there and decided it would be awesome if he peed on all of it. I don
Michael Gerald
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A noble virtue that has sometimes been bastardized.

By people who engage in reckless abandon.

By jerks who just long for publicity.

By showbiz scum who wash their dirty linen in public.(The latest local one with the initials "K.A.")

But there was a time when REAL courage meant facing bullets, bombs, and staring death in the face, not for personal glory or just for the kick of it, but for freedom, liberty, and justice. And saving other people's lives.

The Allied men and women (Filipinos incl
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was a non-fiction book of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. It wasn't a regurgitation of his research, but a thoughtful expression of the facts as they were compiled. The author's father was one of the men who were there that day and helped raise the flag. His father survived what was described as a month long massacre.

I found this book thought provoking. On one hand, this iconic picture was a beacon of hope to the American people, who sent there sons, brothers and fathers of
Newport Librarians
WOW! And I don't even like non-fiction!

This story chronicles first the lives of the six men raising their flag on Iwo Jima, the American climate during war time and why they enlisted. Readers are then taken inch by pain staking inch up the beach of "fire island" through gun fire, death, fear, hunger, sleep deprivation and more. Slowly trodding up the hill where we experience a seemingly unremarkable flag replacement that became a photograph which to this day "iconicizes" the valor, determination
Michael Burnam-Fink
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, war
Flags of Our Fathers hits firmly in the historiographic tradition of 'Boomers writing about their Greatest Generation parents', as James Bradley literally writes about his father John Bradley, Navy Corpsman and one of the six people in the famous flag raising photo on Iwo Jima. This book began in silence, the elder Bradley said almost nothing about his service or his role in the photo to his family, and exceeds the mold in a serious evaluation of the wounds of war.

Bradley follows the six people
David Clouse
Nov 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a high 3 for me for a few reasons.

I love books on war and think they should be read more often because of the insight to the reality of war, evil, and the need for protection and preparation. The author did a good job of objectively explaining some of the horrors the Japanese military have committed over the years, and for the most part he didn’t seem too biased towards the American military, but just recorded people’s thoughts.

A reason I did not like this book begins with the auth
Kristin Peters
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was impactful. It illustrates the price paid by my grandfather's generation for this country we live in. But there's even more to it than that. I don't really know how to put it into words but I'm glad I read it and feel that others should too. ...more
Holly Lawrenson
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I can't imagine going through what our soldiers did during World War II especially those on Iwo Jima. They really were the greatest generation...made me think of my father-in-law and what he must have gone through during the war and when he was wounded over in Italy.
I loved the way this book was written and how the author made the characters come to life for me. Be prepared to shed some tears.
Shannon Sullivan
A must read for any WWII/history buff.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
"Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a common virtue." -Chester Nimitz

A gritty, raw, important read. You will never look at the courage and bravery of our military again.
Gary Hoggatt
Flags of Our Fathers chronicles the stories of the six men, five U.S. Marines and one Navy Corpsman, who raised the flag at Iwo Jima in the iconic photograph from World War II. This has gotten a lot of public attention in recent years, thanks to Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of this book (I'll admit I saw the movie first and liked it, so much so I went and borrowed the audio book from the library).

Author James Bradley, the son of John Bradley, the Navy Corpsman in the photo, knew little about
Abby Chase
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Flags Of Our Fathers is a great read for anyone who is interested in U.S. history. The author, James Bradley, takes the reader through the lives of the 6 soldiers who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. He lets the reader in on the lives of Harlon Block, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and his father Jack “Doc” Bradley. The fantastic thing about this book is that the author shares the stories of these men, from when they were boys to their fates in the end, and he does i ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I feel slightly embarassed that nearly every piece of information presented in this book was completely new to me. I was surprised by the horror of the Pacific war and horrified by the clear truth that I (along with most Americans I suspect)know next to nothing about the history of our own country. This compounded by the fact that our media has a tendancy to report the "good story" instead of the "truth."

That's really what this book is about - it isn't a war story about relaying all the gritty d
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easily one of the most moving and memorable books I have ever read. I know that I've said that I don't get emotional over the books that I read, but Flags of Our Fathers is a definite exception. The author has a personal connection to the subject, and his own emotion over the true story of his father comes through wonderfully. It's as much about history as it is about family.

On a sour note, do not ever watch the movie. EVER! It's as awful as the book is wonderful.
Ann Valdez
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great book. It gives the background of not only the people from one of the most famous American photographs, but also of situations surrounding it.
I loved this book and am so thankful that I read it. I recommend it to all.
Christopher Hicks
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I found it both compelling and tragic. I liked learning about a part of history i'd never before read about, the war in the Pacific, Iwo Jima and World War II. I also loved reading about the personal stories of the men and their families. ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
Inspiring story of the six Iwo Jima fundraisers and the battle. The author is the son of one of the fundraisers.
Carrie Daws
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
Not a book for the faint of heart or the squeamish. Also, not a book for those who merely want to engage in idol worship of those who go to war to protect us from those intent on harming us. This was a tough book to read on many levels for me. The atrocities of the Japanese during the years of World War II are incomprehensible to me--not just to the Americans, but on the Chinese, the Manchurians, and those they came into contact with in the Asia-Pacific region. At times, I could only read a few ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Bradley is an American author of historical non-fiction. His subject is the Pacific theatre of World War II.

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