James Bradley’s daddy was one of the men in the famous Iwo Jima picture. You know the one – the marines planting the flag up on the hill – that later became a monument. After his dad’s death (Jack Bradley was the last surviving member of that particular gang), Bradley started making phone calls. His dad never talked about the experience and he wanted to hear the story. The result was this book – a history of the six young men. Three died on Iwo Jima and three made it home. Physically, at least.
I have a lot of trouble following battle scenes, because I can’t really picture them. I had to sort of slog through that. But I enjoyed hearing the stories of the early lives of these young men. Of course, the stories of what happened to them upon returning home weren’t all warm and fuzzy.
The running theme is that none of the group thought he had done anything remarkable on Iwo Jima. But of course, they all carried the experience with them all their lives.
Historians have talked a lot about getting all of the stories down on paper, because the WWII generation isn’t going to be around much longer. Bradley managed to put together a rather personal history of these six without actually talking to any of them. Color me impressed.