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So Sad to Fall in Battle So Sad to Fall in Battle

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  789 ratings  ·  78 reviews
The Battle of Iwo Jima has been memorialized innumerable times as the subject of countless books and motion pictures, most recently Clint Eastwood's films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from IwoJima, and no wartime photo is more famous than Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning image of Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi. Yet most Americans know only one side o ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published January 14th 2009 by Presidio Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Apr 23, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-as-movies, war
This was an unusual experiment by director Clint Eastwood,two films depicting the battle of Iwo Jima from opposing sides,shot back to back.

Flags of our Fathers was the story of the American soldiers at the island,while Letters from Iowa Jima tells the story from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers.

It is an excellent film and deservedly received a lot of critical acclaim.A masterful depiction of the desperate situation faced by the Japanese soldiers on the island.No big stars,just a very goo
Carole Rae
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books like these are always hard to comment on. This is a true story based on their very real letters. As I said before, I have a respect for the Japanese. Especially for the Japanese soldiers in WWII. Even though both of my grandfathers fought in WWII, I still can't help but respect and honor these men. I especially have a high respect for every man who fought in the Battle for Iwo Jima. It was one of the bloodiest battles out of the whole war.

The book only made me tear up a couple of times, mo
La pointe de la sauce
No matter how many times the writter tried to make Kuribayashi a maverick, genius general, I just found myself disagreeing even more. He divides his time in Iwo Jima between constructing a vast cemetary of tunnels to fight a guerilla war -which he was bound to lose- and writting numerous letters instructing his family in minutae on how to proceed with their lives. The number of letters he writes is really what's astonishing; and on totally irrelevant subjects. He writes a number of letters from ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
How must you live your life?

You can live normally for a while then lose it horrifically for a cause, like your country’s war, then after many years be remembered and turned into a film by Clint Eastwood or some such Hollywood guy looking for some nice stories they can recreate on screen and win Academy awards for.

Before the war, Lt. General Kuribayashi Tadamichi stayed in the US for about two years and had seen with his own eyes how nice, normal and likeable the average Americans are and how far
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
All I have to keep me company is my packet of Doritos *Tangy cheese flavour, hehehe*, and Strawberry flavoured water *which I must admit is pretty good*. Hey, what can I say. I'm experimenting :P

I just finished watching FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS *which is told from the Americans perspective*. I thought it was an ok movie. But I'm half an hour into this movie and I'm already loving it more! Sure, Ken Watanabe *gorgeous man* softened me up to the idea of giving it a go, but I was also very curious to s
203 pages which could have been whittled down to about a third of the amount. It's an interesting read but very repetitive. The author would have benefited from a good editor pointing out some of the clunky repeats of information. At the end of it I acknowledge the author's adoration of the subject, a Japanese colonel who fought the Americans at Iwo Jima, but I don't feel I really understand the colonel or his motivation. The fact that he knew they were beaten but still moved his men towards a g ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting to learn of the Japanese side of the battle for Iwo Jima. This book should be read along with "Flags of Our Fathers".
Alexander Curran
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"For our homeland. Until the very last man. Our duty is to stop the enemy right here. Do not expect to return home alive.''

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Ken Watanabe: General Kuribayashi

(Review of film, which was similar to the book, although obviously more detail provided...)

A film with powerful, historical significance. Told from the side of the Japanese as they pr
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
...but it isn't the letters. It is Kakehashi's analysis of the battle, with extracts of some letters. With her analysis, the language is rather colloquial. There's tautology and lots of "When you read this letter, you can really feel etc ...". Can I? It's probably the translation. I also felt that it requires more than translation for non-Japanese readers. All the stuff about digging up the bones needs some context. Otherwise it just seems unnecessarily morbid.

I think I'd rather have just read t
OK Dad
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received this book in a box sent to me by my Stepmother. She had been collecting some of my Dad's belongings in boxes to send me since his death in August 2015. When she fills a box, she sends it on.

This time it was filled with books, including this one. My father wasn't an avid book reader, so for him to have bought this book (inside the cover he wrote where he bought it and when) and read it cover to cover, is an important clue to how much he enjoyed the subject matter.

I have recollections of
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In our modern era, it's good to read a book about a true hero, even if he fought for the enemy, the Japanese, in World War II. The word 'hero' in our modern culture has been so loosely applied that it's about equivalent to 'friend' on Facebook. This is a breath of fresh air about a real hero, who did the hard things he had to do but was also a considerable person when not fulfilling his military duty.
This book is written by a Japanese journalist, yet is elegant in expression while being well re
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Unable to complete this heavy task for our country,
Arrows and bullets all spent, so sad we fall”

An amazingly researched book, sheds light on the horrific battle for Iwo Jima from the Japanese side.

Very much worth reading for anyone interested in the Pacific war.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very well written and a great companion to Flags of Our Fathers. It is always interesting to view any point in history through dissenting eyes in order to get a complete picture. This does that job very well.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account of General Kuribayashi and several other Japanese soldiers defending Iwo Jima. The book is significant in that it humanizes the soldiers who would defend their island to the death.
Mary Johnson
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It gave me a new perspective on WWII and it was about a wonderful man of great character.
"The are two sides to every story" goes the old adage.
Books like this are there to remind us that there are actually several.
The letters of Lt. General Kuribayashi are not included in there entirety but rather quoted as inserts into the main text as it tells it's story. Alongside interviews with survivors and family members, these add to a well researched book about a very singular, a-typical Japanese officer and a "quality human being" to boot, and therein lies the authors' aim.
Obviously writte
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much more moved and gave me lots of thoughts by reading this book, than watching two movies "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "Flags of Our Fathers."
Eric Kinney
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Those who have heard of the small island off the coast of Japan known as Iwo Jima have more than likely seen the famous Clint Eastwood film "Letters from Iwo Jima" that depicts the epic thirty-six day confrontation between Japanese and American forces in 1945. While the film version itself is a masterpiece in it's own rights, I was most inclined to read the actual memoirs of the Japanese defenders who courageously fought and endured untold hardships thousands of miles from home. From her first b
Lindsey Stout
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, poc-author
I loved this book. During WW2, Americans hated the Germans, but they dehumanized the Japanese. The racism with which the Japanese people were regarded often blinds us to the actual actions of Japanese generals and the like. This book takes a very personal look at General Kuribayashi's life and legacy, one that is often overlooked. His love for his family was heartbreakingly tangible, and his desire to stay by his soldiers side often resulted in rebelliousness. He was quite a guy. This is a fast ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was probably the saddest thing I've ever read. Worth every tear.
General Tadamichi was given the responsibility for organizing the defense of Iwo Jima in WWII. It was, for a time, considered to be of strategic importance, as enemy troops could use it as an airfield/refuel/launch point for attacks on Japan. Others higher up in the military chain of command later decided it was not worth protecting, but by then they had already committed over 20,000 troops to the cause – almost all of which lost their lives keeping the American invaders at bay for as long as th ...more
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: japanese perspective of WW2
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It recalls and retells in a biographical format the letters and life of General Kuribayashi Tadamichi during his time in command on the island of Iwo Jima which was the scene of some of the fierest fighting in WW2 in pacific.

The real of strength of this book is the personal and direct insight it gives of the mentality of the Japanese Imperial Forces at the time. It certainly fills in alot of gaps in my own understanding as to why they were so brutal at tim
Sarah Crawford
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the book based on General Tadamichi Kuribayashi's letters from Iwo Jima. It's an excellent book to read. It is not a dry history of the terrible battle; instead, it shows the soldiers as realistic, writing home to loved ones. It shows how advanced Kuribayashi's thinking was, also.

Instead of doing a defense of Iwo Jima in the traditional way, he did it his way, literally, and his way produced far more American casualties than if he had followed tradition. The book reveals a lot about the
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A good account of war. the writing is not the best and there is a lot of repetition for such a short book. But overall I really enjoyed it. It is a short history of General Kuribayashi, who is the equivalent of General Patton or Douglas MacArthur in his popularity and contribution to history.

Written by a Japanese historian, there are a few small areas where the American military is lambasted, especially in regards to the fire bombing of Tokyo, and this writer did fail to mention some of the muti
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting experience to read about a WWII battle in the Pacific from the point of view of the Japanese. So Sad to Fall in Battle is an account of the battle of Iwo Jima based largely on the letters of the Japanese commander, LTG Tadamichi Kuribayashi and written by a Japanese author. The Japanese were "demonized" to my generation (born 1941) and few books published in the west deal with them as people. This account points out that on a certain level, the Japanese soldier thought and ...more
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests this is a collection of stories about the individual stories that are written by the Japanese soldiers to their loved ones back home. I have not read this book yet though the movie is very moving. Again I chose this book as a Japanese pick because I thought it would be a great pick for the Asian arts. ANd I would use it in the classroom to depict the fact that even on the Axis powers(Germany, Russia (for a while), Italy, and Japan) even their soldiers had the same hopes, fe ...more
Cameron Faison
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was a wonderful story about the Japanese side during the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. I thought it was also a very dramatic story because it was mostly centered on a young Japanese soldier who is sending letters to his wife in Japan who is pregnant with his child. It is sad how everyday is a constant battle for survival for him in one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater of War during 1945. This story is also one of my favorite books because I love WWII stories ...more
Perhaps I approached this book with the wrong mindset. Going in thinking of it as a secondary source of history, I was quite disappointed to find that there was no clear argument or narrative running through it. Kakehashi clearly adores her subject matter and his life, but I found it quite repetitive when she constantly goes back to how much of a family man he was or how much he cared for his soldiers, compared to the other officers of that time. Obviously, he was not like "other people" who mig ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before beginning to write this review, I read many of the reviews that others posted. Some were positive, others not so. Some were middle of the road. I speak English, Japanese, enough Spanish to live in Spanish-speaking countries and enough Hebrew to get from here to Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. I do not dislike anyone except those who preach violence, hatred and spread lies. I try not to judge others except that I always speak out against hatred and discrimination of ANY kind. I wonder, given the ...more
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I very much appreciated the subject, especially the author showing what an unusual Japanese the general was (he spent some time in America before the war) and a few things about the chain of command in Japan at the time.
What I liked most were the examples of "last letters", which had to be patriotic and stoic else they were censored, and the demonstration of the general's manipulative "kindness" - only the soldiers' loyalty to him, and not only the emperor, would have kept them from suicide. He
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