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On February 17, Landing Craft Infantry 449 was among a dozen gunboats helping to prepare the area for their invasion two days later. US military leaders thought that they had weakened Japanese forces in the area. However, from the towering slopes of Mount Suribachi, Japanese forces opened fire, forcing the US commanders to recalculate battlefield plans. They shelled and bombed the newly discovered enemy positions. It was a move that saved countless lives two days later, when tens of thousands of marines stormed the beach.
The Heart of Hell is the untold story of the crew of Landing Craft Infantry 449. Based on 130 exclusive interviews with sailors who survived the battle, the families of the men killed in the fight, and more than 1,500 letters the sailors mailed to loved ones during their long months at sea, this is a story of duty, brotherhood, love, and courage.
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By Craig on 07-30-16
Important History, but Not a Compelling Story
First, let me say that what happened to these sailors during the Battle of Iwo Jima was horrific. I am not discounting their tragedy one iota.
However, this story is essentially a summary of family and love letters that document the feelings, fears, and emotions of the men of Landing Craft Infantry 449 as they prepared for the Iwo Jima invasion. Their actual time at "battle stations" was about nine minutes. So, essentially, twelve of the fourteen hours of this audiobook is a recitation of what is contained in those letters sent home and those sent to the sailors of Landing Craft Infantry 449.
I listened because I respect and honor the work these men did in supporting UD Teams, but as a recapitulation of the Battle for Iwo Jima, this book is not an important work. It is a history that binds together human dramas outside the battle zone (other than the nine minutes of terror).
Listen to this book if you want to know the intimacies of about a dozen men. If you want a book that documents Iwo Jima as a strategic target and the men who fought to take that island I suggest, "Flags of Our Fathers," by James Bradley and Ron Powers.
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