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Flags of Our Fathers

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  44,361 Ratings  ·  1,455 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…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....

Community 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
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
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
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
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
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 it was amazing  ·  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
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
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
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
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
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
Enlightening and powerful, a patriotic humbling honor to read about the lives of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima....making them not just memorialized icons, but brothers and sons, a friend, a high school graduate, a mill worker, an athlete...mortal brave men who answered freedom's call to protect and serve.

My one negative observation: the author, in my opinion, interjected too much of himself - his thoughts, feelings, subjectivity - into the book, which seemed a little spotlight-off-
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.
Nathan Vollrath
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
James Bradley’s Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of the six men who raised the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima after giving the Japanese a long, brutal fight to win control over the small island. The genre of Bradley’s book is historical military nonfiction.
The six flag raisers, even though they did not know each other yet, were very similar. Nearly all of them were poor and the Great Depression, football, and religion impacted all of their families. Along with the Germans, the Japa
Donovan Aris-Dumas
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Flags of our Father is a war book authored by James Bradley with Ron Powers. The book is about 6 men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. The book talks about their beginnings and enlisting, training, there Fight at Iwo Jima and the life (if they lived) after the war. The majority of the book is placed on the island of Iwo Jima. After war the remaining men struggle with the fame and being called a hero, post traumatic stress and alcohol. The theme of this book is that the people who died are the rea ...more
Paul Szydlowski
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book haunted me for weeks afterward, waking me in the middle of the night wondering would I have been able to do what these men did on Iwo Jima.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-hard-copy
"Hero. In that misunderstood and corrupted word, I think, lay the final reason for John Bradley's silence. Today the word 'hero' has been diminished, confused with 'celebrity'. But in my father's generation the word meant something."

This book is worth the read.
Stacie C
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was convinced I knew what I wanted to write when I sat down to begin this review. I was going to mention how everyone can recognize the photo used on the cover of this book. That it’s an example of patriotism and a symbol of World War II. It represents the integrity of the men fighting on the small island of Iwo Jima and an ode to those who lost their lives. But it’s so much more than that. That image was used as propaganda to extract more bonds from Americans in the war effort. The image was ...more
Daniel W.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: military enthusiasts
We often read how bloody the island hopping campaign was for the Navy, Marine Corp, and those Army units that fought in the Pacific during WWII. James Bradley gives us a grunts-eye view of the battle of Iwo Jima. The devastating affect of war was demonstrated in undeniable violence. From this crucible came the idea to boost American morale, drive sales for war bonds and give the American people something tangible to believe in. The raising of the flag on Iwo Jima became the symbol of the Marine ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of Jack Bradley and the five other men who were pictured raising the American flag on the top of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima in the iconic picture from WWII. Six men who didn 19t view themselves as heroes, but were just 1Cdoing what had to be done 1D 13 whether that meant charging up the beach at Iwo Jima through a hail of machine gun fire or helping to raise a pole that 1Cjust happened to have a flag attached to it 1D. The story 13 and their lives 13 can be vi ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have read many books about WWII, but this one tells the history in a very engaging way, through the stories of the men who were a part of the famous Iwo Jima flag raising picture that captured the hearts of Americans. The author is the son of one of those men, and the connection that he feels towards this part of history, and of his father's life, is clear throughout. In addition to reading the glory, heart-wrenching details of the battle on Iwo Jima (which is honestly quite difficult to read ...more
Oct 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. This was amazing.
As you probably know, this is the compelling story of the six men who raised the (second) flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima that was immortalized in the famous Rosenthal photo. Bradley profiles the lives of these six men before theit military service, their experience on Iwo Jima and their lives afterward.
The men were so very different from each other that they only held their ordinariness in common. Six would raise the flag, only three would leave the island, and only o
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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.
More about James D. Bradley

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“Today the word "hero" has been diminished. confused with "celebrity." But in my father's generation the word meant something.
celebrities seek fame. They take actions to get attention. Most often, the actions they take have no particular moral content. Heroes are heroes because they have risked something to help others. Their actions involve courage. Often, those heroes have been indifferent to the public's attention. But at least, the hero could understand the focus of the emotion.”
“When I asked him, fifty-three years after the event, "Mr. Lucas, why did you jump on those grenades?" he did not hesitate with his answer: "To save my buddies.” 10 likes
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