Flags of Our Fathers

  • by James Bradley, Ron Powers
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima, and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island's highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag. Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever. To his family, John Bradley never spoke of the photograph or the war. But after his death at age 70, his family discovered closed boxes of letters and photos. In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley draws on those documents to retrace the lives of his father and the men of Easy Company. Following these men's paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific's most crucial island, an island riddled with Japanese tunnels and 22,000 fanatic defenders who would fight to the last man. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo, three were killed during the battle, were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley's father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: "The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn't come back."

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What the Critics Say



Alex Award Winner, 2001
"Voluminous and memorable....No reader will forget the lesson." (Publishers Weekly)
"Flags of Our Fathers is one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see, in part because it is instructive and moving in unexpected ways." (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

awesome

Best book I have listened to yet.

while I agree that the reader is a little maudlin, his tone actually matches the tone of the book quite well. And while the author clearly idolizes his father and may wax poeitic a little bit too much at times, the book overall is one of the most moving peices I have read. More than any other book, it exemplifies the shear role of serendipity in life. who lived, and who died among this group of men was shear chance. And I am sure we cannot conceive of what these men went through. furthermore, the history of this picture which we all recognize exemplifies the nuances and chance outcomes that make great history.

I found it a wonderful book that was very very well read.
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- Thomas

History in Real Life

My memories of history lessons from school revealed nothing like the exciting, wonderful tale told in this book!

The author is certainly not worthy of a Pulitzer prize, but he had a desire to find out about an event in history for which he had a personal connection. And then he wrote a book about it. This book provides us with information we have not had prior to his telling it. There are a number of sources for the horrors of the battles in the pacific, no less on Iwo Jima. But this book tells more than just the story of a particular battle.

I found it fascinating and important that the author set out to discover these "boys" and why he insisted on using the term "boys" rather than men. When that picture was taken, they were boys. It does not gloss over thier faults of human nature. And yes, maybe the author does idolize his father a bit heavily. But for me, I would rather see that than the opposite! How many more "Mommy Dearest" books do you need on your shelf?

As for the narrator, I was thrilled to see Stephen Hoye on this title. In fact, that was probably the decision maker as to whether I would get this book or not. He expresses the emotions of the book and is a master of that! If he sounded sappy, that is because the story was sappy at that point. But if the story became strong, he delivered strength in his voice.

The book gave me history: knowledge of the difficulties the soldiers faced, the differences between the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific; an explanation of war financing differences and what war bonds really were; and so on. But it told all that in a novel-like fashion about six people who happened to be caught in a photograph: their lives before, during and, for those who survived, after the war. Marvelous.

I have not seen the movie yet, but like any other comparison between book and movie, I know the book will be better hands down!! Isn't that why we all have a membership here at audible.com?
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- Patti

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-05-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape