Flags of Our Fathers

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This is the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and indomitable will of America

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 seventy, 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. ”

Few books ever have captured the complexity and furor of war and its aftermath as well as Flags of Our Fathers. A penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, this is history told with keen insight, enormous honesty, and the passion of a son paying homage to his father. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.
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About the author

James Bradley is the son of John "Doc" Bradley, one of the six flagraisers. A speaker and a writer, he lives in Rye, New York.

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He is the author of White Town Drowsing and Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain. He lives in Vermont.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bantam
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Published on
Aug 29, 2006
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780553902761
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / World War II
History / Modern / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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On August 14, 1945, Alfred Eisenstaedt took a picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, minutes after they heard of Japan's surrender to the United States. Two weeks later LIFE magazine published that image. It became one of the most famous WWII photographs in history (and the most celebrated photograph ever published in the world's dominant photo-journal), a cherished reminder of what it felt like for the war to finally be over. Everyone who saw the picture wanted to know more about the nurse and sailor, but Eisenstaedt had no information and a search for the mysterious couple's identity took on a dimension of its own. In 1979 Eisenstaedt thought he had found the long lost nurse. And as far as almost everyone could determine, he had. For the next thirty years Edith Shain was known as the woman in the photo of V-J DAY, 1945, TIMES SQUARE. In 1980 LIFE attempted to determine the sailor's identity. Many aging warriors stepped forward with claims, and experts weighed in to support one candidate over another. Chaos ensued.

For almost two decades Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi were intrigued by the controversy surrounding the identity of the two principals in Eisenstaedt's most famous photograph and collected evidence that began to shed light on this mystery. Unraveling years of misinformation and controversy, their findings propelled one claimant s case far ahead of the others and, at the same time, dethroned the supposed kissed nurse when another candidate's claim proved more credible. With this book, the authors solve the 67-year-old mystery by providing irrefutable proof to identify the couple in Eisenstaedt's photo. It is the first time the whole truth behind the celebrated picture has been revealed.

The authors also bring to light the couple's and the photographer's brushes with death that nearly prevented their famous spontaneous Times Square meeting in the first place. The sailor, part of Bull Halsey's famous task force, survived the deadly typhoon that took the lives of hundreds of other sailors. The nurse, an Austrian Jew who lost her mother and father in the Holocaust, barely managed to escape to the United States. Eisenstaedt, a World War I German soldier, was nearly killed at Flanders.
A Picture is worth a thousand words In his Always Faithful, noted military historian Eric Hammel has assembled one hundred Marine Corpsa combat photos from the Pacific Theater of operations during World War II. Together these tell the story of the Marines’ costly victory over the Japanese. Over the years, innumerable historians, novelists, film-makers, and artists have attempted in various ways to capture what it was like to fight in the Pacific. In Always Faithful, readers are invited to take in the combat slowly, as it unfolds, image by image. Arranged by theme—from dramatic images of beach assaults to heartbreaking photographs of the injured and killed-in-aetion—Always Faithful seeks to capture the essence of the War in the Pacific and the core of what it means to be a Marine. Hammel has carefully selected each image in these pages, shown with only the barest of explanation: a short caption to describe the time and place. But even with so few words, each photograph is a complete message unto itself, a picture of truth showing a moment of humanity. Together, these images reveal what it means to be always faithful. Critical Acclaim for Always Faithful . . . “Eric Hammel is one of our most interesting and dedicated military writers.” —Tom Ricks, author of The Making of the Corps "Hammel's magnificent compilation is a "best of breed" that captures—like no other work—the sweat, grime, misery and terror that was combat in the Pacific. This is an effort that underscores Hammel's position as one of the subject's leading historians. Simply put, Always Faithful is the must-have pictorial of Marine Corps operations in the Pacific." —LtCol. Jay A. Stout, USMC (Ret), Author of The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe “While some readers may already be familiar with many of the photos collected here by Eric Hammel, all will find his selection and arrangement uniquely encapsulates the fighting in the Pacific. In Always Faithful, there are solitary moments where a Marine faces an unseen enemy and moments where brothers-in-arms stand shoulder to shoulder. It is instants like these that remind me of what it means to be a Marine.” —Col. William J. Davis, USMC (Ret), Executive Director of the MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, Virginia “An inspirational and graphical account of Marines doing what they have always done when the Nation calls. Hammel’s selection of images peeks into the individual’s gut-level experience of combat in the Pacific through the eyes of those who “closed with the enemy”, from the assault on the beach through the ebb and flow of the fighting to eventual victory. A must for any military historian’s reference library.” —R.J. Sullivan, LtCol, U. S. Marine Corps (Ret) “Military writer Eric Hammel has used his broad research background to capture the essential essence of the Marine Corps Pacific War experience during World War II. The focus on the individual Marines pictured makes as strong an impact as any narrative would. This visual legacy is preserved and presented in a memorable manner and style. Semper Fi!” —Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps History Division Author of Osprey’s Marine Recon, Vietnam Marines, and U.S. Marine Rifleman in Vietnam “A powerful and evocative visual portrayal of Marines in close combat during the climactic battles of World War II. The images and illustrations are emotional, soul searing reminders of the human cost of the Pacifc Campaign. For anyone looking for a viceral understanding of battle, this book is not to be missed.” —John R. Bruning author of The Devil's Sandbox, Bomb's Away, The Battle of the Bulge, Jungle Ace, Ship Strike Pacific, and Crimson Sky “Eric Hammel has captured the true character of war in the Pacific, a fight to the finish, with no holds barred. The images in Always Faithful are far from the glorified portrayals of home front propaganda. They portray the gutsiness of combat—the filth, the stress, the pain of a lost comrade—in such a way as to be indelibly etched in the viewer's mind. Hammel’s selection of photos is spot on…I highly recommend Always Faithful." —Colonel Dick Camp USMC (Ret), Vice President of Museum Operations, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."--Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.

Here is the riveting account of how Corrie and her family were able to save many of God's chosen people. For 35 years millions have seen that there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still. Now The Hiding Place, repackaged for a new generation of readers, continues to declare that God's love will overcome, heal, and restore.

"A groundbreaking book that shines a clear light on one of the darkest moments of history."--Philip Yancey, author, The Jesus I Never Knew

"Ten Boom's classic is even more relevant to the present hour than at the time of its writing. We . . . need to be inspired afresh by the courage manifested by her family."--Jack W. Hayford, president, International Foursquare Church; chancellor, The King's College and Seminary

"The Hiding Place is a classic that begs revisiting. Corrie ten Boom lived the deeper life with God. Her gripping story of love in action will challenge and inspire you!"--Joyce Meyer, best-selling author and Bible teacher
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
 
Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award
 
“Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“[A] one-in-a-billion story . . . designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring.”—New York
 
“Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand’s writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don’t dare take your eyes off the page.”—People
 
“A meticulous, soaring and beautifully written account of an extraordinary life.”—The Washington Post
 
“Ambitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Magnificent . . . incredible . . . [Hillenbrand] has crafted another masterful blend of sports, history and overcoming terrific odds; this is biography taken to the nth degree, a chronicle of a remarkable life lived through extraordinary times.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel.”—Washingtonian
 
“[Hillenbrand tells this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter’s pace.”—Time
 
“Hillenbrand [is] one of our best writers of narrative history. You don’t have to be a sports fan or a war-history buff to devour this book—you just have to love great storytelling.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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