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Flags of Our Fathers
Cover of Flags of Our Fathers
Flags of Our Fathers
Heroes of Iwo Jima
Borrow
The New York Times bestselling chronicle of one of the most famous moments in American military history—the raising of the U. S. flag at Iwo Jima during World War II—now adapted for young adults. Read the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and strength of America and its armed forces.

This is a penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, told with keen insight and enormous honesty —also a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood. In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima–and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And there, they raised a flag, signaling a historic step towards the eventual defeat of the Axis powers of World War II. 
 
A powerful account of six very different men—three of which were killed in battle— who came together in the heroic fight for the Pacific’s most crucial island. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the legacy of a hero, and the brutal cost of war.
The New York Times bestselling chronicle of one of the most famous moments in American military history—the raising of the U. S. flag at Iwo Jima during World War II—now adapted for young adults. Read the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and strength of America and its armed forces.

This is a penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, told with keen insight and enormous honesty —also a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood. In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima–and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And there, they raised a flag, signaling a historic step towards the eventual defeat of the Axis powers of World War II. 
 
A powerful account of six very different men—three of which were killed in battle— who came together in the heroic fight for the Pacific’s most crucial island. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the legacy of a hero, and the brutal cost of war.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    8.2
  • Lexile:
    950
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    5 - 7

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book Sacred Ground

    The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know —Harry Truman

    In the spring of 1998 six boys called to me from half a century ago on a distant mountain, and I went there. For a few days I set aside my comfortable life—my business concerns, my life in Rye, New York—and made a pilgrimage to the other side of the world, to a tiny Japanese island in the Pacific Ocean called Iwo Jima.

    There, waiting for me, was the mountain the boys had climbed in the midst of a terrible battle half a century earlier. The Japanese called the mountain Suribachi, and on its battle-scarred summit the boys raised an American flag to symbolize our country's conquest of that volcanic island, even though the fighting would rage for another month.

    One of those flag raisers was my father.

    The fate of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries was being forged in blood on the island of Iwo Jima and others like it in the Pacific, as well as in North Africa, parts of Asia, and virtually all of Europe. The global conflict known as World War II had mostly teenagers as its soldiers—kids who had come of age in cultures that resembled those of the nineteenth century.

    My father and his five comrades—they were either teenagers or in their early twenties—typified these kids: tired, scared, determined, brave. Like hundreds of thousands of other young men from many countries, they were trying to do their patriotic duty and trying to survive.

    But something unusual happened to these six: History turned all its focus, for 1/400th of a second, on them. It froze them in an elegant instant of one of the bloodiest battles of the twentieth century, if not in the history of warfare—froze them in a camera lens as they hoisted an American flag on a makeshift iron pole.

    Their collective image became one of the most recognized and most reproduced in the history of photography. It gave them a kind of immortality—a faceless immortality. The flag raising on Iwo Jima became a symbol of the island, the mountain, the battle; of World War II; of the highest ideals of the nation; of valor itself. It became everything except the salvation of the boys who performed it.

    For these six, history had a different, special destiny that no one could have predicted, least of all the flag raisers themselves.

    My father, John Henry Bradley, returned home to small-town Wisconsin after the war. He shoved the mementos of his immortality into a few cardboard boxes and hid these in a closet. He married his childhood sweetheart. He opened a funeral home, fathered eight children, joined the PTA, the Lions, and the Elks—and shut out virtually any conversation on the topic of raising the flag on Iwo Jima.

    When he died, in January 1994, in the town of his birth, he might have believed he was taking the story of his part in the flag raising with him to the grave, where he apparently felt it belonged. He had trained us, as children, to deflect the phone-call requests for media interviews that never diminished over the years. We were to tell the caller that our father was on a fishing trip, usually in Canada. But John Bradley never fished. No copy of the famous photograph hung in our house. When we did manage to extract from him a remark about the incident, his responses were short and simple, and he quickly changed the subject.

    And this is how we Bradley children grew up: happily enough, deeply connected to our peaceful, tree-shaded town, but always with a sense of an unsolved mystery somewhere at the edges of the picture.

    A middle child among the eight, I found the mystery tantalizing. I...
About the Author-
  • James Bradley is the son of John “Doc” Bradley, one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima. He conducted over 300 interviews with World War II veterans and their families in the course of writing this book.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 1, 2001
    Newly adapted from a bestseller for adults, Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima by James Bradley with Ron Powers, adapted by Michael French, focuses on one of the most famous of war photographs: the image of six marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. Bradley, son of one of those marines, investigates the lives (and deaths) of the six, closely examining their experiences to detail the brutal battle on the island, the contrast between the sense of victory projected by the photograph and the more ambiguous circumstances behind it, and the bond-raising value of the photo (and of its surviving subjects) to the Treasury Department. A photo insert adds to the immediacy of this memorable work.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 1, 2000
    Say "Iwo Jima," and what comes to mind? Most likely a famous photograph from 1945: six tired, helmeted Marines, fresh from a long, terrifying and bloody battle, work together to raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Bradley's father, John, was one of the six. In this voluminous and memorable work of popular history mixed with memoir, Bradley and Powers (White Town Drowsing) reconstruct those Marines' experiences, and those of their Pacific Theater comrades. The authors begin with the six soldiers' childhoods. Soon enough, bombs have fallen on Pearl Harbor, and by May '43 the young men have become proud leathernecks. Bradley and Powers incorporate accounts of specific battles, like "Hellzapoppin Ridge" (Bougainville, December '43), and pull in corps life and lore, from the tough-minded to the slightly silly, from mandatory penis inspections (medics checking for VD) to life in the pitch-dark of "Tent City No. 1." And they cover the strategy and tactics leading up to the awful battle for the island--the navy's disputed plans for offshore bombardment, cut at the last minute from 10 days to three; the 16 miles of Japanese underground tunnels, far more than Allied intelligence expected. A quarter of the book follows the fighting on Iwo Jima, sortie by sortie. The final chapters pursue the veterans' subsequent lives: Bradley and Powers set themselves against often-sanctimonious tradition, retrieving the stories of six more or less troubled individuals from the anonymity of heroic myth. A simple thesis emerges from all the detail worked into this touching group portrait, in a comment by John Bradley: "The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back." No reader will forget the lesson.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2001
    Gr 7-10-The American flag being hoisted over Iwo Jima during World War II is a ubiquitous image, and students are repeatedly told that it represents the struggle of war and the triumph of freedom. Reading this magnificent book will make those concepts tangible. A son of one of the "flag raisers," Bradley tells the story of six young men, from different backgrounds and varying experiences, who came together at one moment during "America's most heroic battle" to be spontaneously immortalized by an Associated Press photographer. Solidly adapted from the adult bestseller (Bantam, 2000), this work builds from introductions to the men and the war to a narration of the bloody conquering of the important island, concluding with the celebrity-encouraged by FDR-that followed the picture's worldwide publication. The dramatic fighting, heroic behavior, and patriotic celebrations in which these half-dozen humble individuals played a role are all captured. The author's authoritative sources include the elder Bradley's papers and rare familial recounts of the experience, hundreds of interviews, and a visit to the site of the action. And while justly proud of his father and his country, Bradley strives for fairness and historical accuracy, pointing out that this was the second flag raised that day, the first having been taken down as a souvenir for an officer. History is thus made personally authentic in these pages. A book that deserves a place on school reading lists and in every library.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL

    Copyright 2001 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times

    "Unforgettable ... one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see ... its portrayal rivals Saving Private Ryan in its shocking, unvarnished immediacy."

  • Stephen Ambrose "The best battle book I ever read. These stories, from the time the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima enlisted, their training, and the landing and subsequent struggle, fill me with awe."
  • The Boston Globe "A powerful book whose vivid and horrific images do not easily leave the mind ... [Flags of Our Fathers] relates the brutalizing story of Iwo Jima with a fine eye for both the strategic imperative and the telling incident."
  • National Review "Brings a heartfelt personal dimension to this penetrating and insightful look at an American icon.... Flags of Our Fathers captivates as the story behind a famous photo, a story that lives on in a son's heart."
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    Random House Children's Books
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