In the winter of 1945, on the tiny island of Iwo Jima, a ferocious, epic battle was fought, resulting in the loss of more than 48,000 lives and producing what was to become one of the most recognizable symbols of World War II: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi. One of the six, Navy corpsman John Bradley, came away from this historical moment with a deep and mysterious silence about his role in the flag raising. Even his wife heard him speak of it only once in their 47-year marriage. After Bradley's death, his son James began to piece together the facts of his father's heroism, as well as that of the other five men, all of whom became reluctant heroes because of their presence during that fateful instant when the shutter clicked and created a wartime icon.
Based on James Bradley's Flags of Our Fathers for adults, this abridged version for younger readers retains the somewhat terse drama, intense heartbreak, and bittersweet triumph of the original narrative. Through his research on the event and the soldiers (three of the men were killed in combat within days of the flag raising), Bradley explores the dubious nature of heroism and the devastating effects of war. (Ages 14 and older) --Emilie Coulter [via]