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A book by the son of the last survivor of one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima.

The story is two fold, about the lives and deaths of the 6 flag raisers and the battle of Iwo Jima itself.

The book is historical fact interwoven with personal accounts, letters, dialogue, pictures of the battle.

Iwo was one of the bloodiest campaigns in WW2. Almost all of the Japanese defenders on the island were killed along with over 33000 US Marines. It is one of the only battles in history where the attackers/winners had more killed than the defenders.

The story is centered around "Doc" Bradley a US Navy Corpsman (medic) with a company of marines. It tells of his utmost bravery of tending to the wounded marines, all while being shot at by and enemy who target purposely the medics. (In the European theater, medics were allowed to do their work almost without interuption)
Doc Bradley won the Navy cross for his heroism and devotion to duty. The navy cross is second only to the Medal of Honor.
His son is on a journey to find answers that his father never told him. His father never spoke of the battle, his medals or his service. He also did not even have copy of "the picture" that everyone knows and holds so dear.
The author used service records, interviews and recounts to piece together this missing part of his fathers life.
The story was hard to take sometimes. I found my self crying at several points at the love the marines had for each other and the devotion they served. These men were tough and fought against incredible odds.
My respect has gone up ten fold because of this book.
I look at the picture much differently now. All six men were profoundly affected for the rest of their lives by it. 3 died shortly after the picture was taken, one died an alcoholic, one tried to live soley on its fame (it consumed him) and Bradley shut it out of his life.

One of the best books I have ever read. I was completely absorbed in the story, and moved by it sentimental theme. If you are a lover of military history, this is a must read.

I highly recommend this book. It is about the personal effects of a moment in time and esprit de corps.

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When I have studied WWII it has mostly been the European Theatre. After reading this book, I am going to start reading more about the Pacific. I knew a little about the battle for Iwo Jima, but never knew the actual details, which this book accurately captures.

I have always had the utmost respect for soilders, of all wars, but those Marines, Soilders and Sailors who fought in the Pacfic did an amazing job against a determined and unforgiving enemy.

For any WWII buff, I highly recommend this book.
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