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- Publication Date:2005
The best selling author of Flags of our Fathers turns his attention to those pilots who fought in the Pacific during the Second World War. The result is a magnificent historical study and a fitting tribute to those who fought and died. Never anything less than supremely readable, the author intersperses a dramatic retelling of the Japanese-American war of the 1940's with the heartbreaking story of the fates of a handful of American 'flyboys' who were shot down and captured by the Japanese on the remote island of Chichi Jima. Tragically, their fates were kept from their families, a silence that the author swore to shatter. Understandably the author's focus swings more toward the American point of view, but Bradley also has no intention of sparing us the finer details of just what each side was capable of doing to the other- the use of napalm and atomic weapons on blatantly civilian targets by the Americans, the Japanese abuse and murder of prisoners of war- all are here. Despite the swing to a wide focus, the real tragedy of this story is never forgotten though- the loss of young, unformed lives on both sides- the tragedy of 'what might have been.' Balanced and unsparing in its study of the barbarity of war, yet always searching for the underlying cause and meaning of such horror, this book cannot be recommended enough.
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