May 24, 2012

Book Review: The Lions of Iwo Jima

Publishers Weekly

Haynes, who was a captain at Iwo Jima, and military historian Warren (American Spartans) revisit familiar ground in this account of the 1945 Pacific battle, relying heavily on Haynes’s own memories of serving with the 28th Marine Combat Team. The 28th landed with the initial assault on February 19, 1945, capturing Mount Suribachi after four days despite fierce opposition. While America cheered the famous flag-raising photograph, fighting continued for another month during which most of the 28th became casualties. The book is not a critical analysis of events. The short biographies of senior officers contain only praise; the enlisted men are colorful but dedicated; controversies that surrounded the invasion’s planning and execution appear, but the authors do not take sides. Even the Japanese appear as brave and skillful soldiers. The book’s first half, which ends with the invasion, will hold most readers, but the conquest of the island, page after page of gruesome, almost suicidal small-unit actions against an enemy that fought to the death, may lose all but Marine aficionados. (Aug.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

In this intense, moving account, the authors bring the reality of the fighting on Iwo Jima  to readers, who are  likely to be shocked and even numbed by the nonstop descriptions of carnage. Warren is a journalist and author specializing in military affairs; Haynes is a member of the diminishing group of Iwo Jima survivors, and  he has collected for decades letters, diaries, and previously unpublished memoirs, written by his comrades,  which are put to superb use here. The account focuses on the experience of Combat Team 28, a unit of 4,500 marines; their best-known accomplishment was the raising of the flag atop Mount Suribachi. However, that event, immortalized by the classic photograph, occurred only four days into the monthlong battle. Ahead lay a cauldron of merciless slaughter, with marines inching forward against Japanese troops  entrenched in a series of interlocking caves and tunnels. The authors capture the horror  of their advance as close-range combat in confined areas became the norm. This is a disturbing, sometimes sickening chronicle, but the harsh face of war in the Pacific theater has rarely been portrayed so effectively.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


Courtesy photograph

POW recalls ‘hidden treasure’ in lessons learned

Courtesy photograph Retired Col. Lee Ellis, a prisoner of war who spent five and a half years in the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War, spoke at the Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Sy...

Drivers continue to find road bumpy after answering automobile ads

An individual or individuals claiming to be “Exchange Inc.” have been placing advertisements in auto magazines and commercial newspapers, leading Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers to believe they’...

The not-so-great American gun-grab

YUMA, Ariz. – In the wake of a recent tragedy, everyone from politicians to the talking heads in the media to the average Joe on the street has been talking about gun control. So far, the one measurable result of all this talk has been an explosion in the sales of firearms people fear may...


Listening to Superiors

There is something to say about a lower enlisted Marine with an opinion, and that is they should have a limited one especially when time is of the essence. For most young Marines in the Corps words like, “We don’t pay you to think,” have been said to them on more than one occasion. There...

5 Questions: Lt. Daniel Chung

1.) What services do chaplains offer to military personnel? We offer spiritual guidance and advice but also counseling. So if Marines or Sailors come in with marriage problems or stress at work they can come and speak with a chaplain. Some of us have professional degrees but most don’t so it’s not like talking to...

Chaplain’s Corner: Christmas

What is Christmas to you? For me it is my favorite time of the year! As a Christian, I do celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The greatest gift the world has ever or will ever receive. But, not everyone believes as I do. So, what does Christmas mean to you? Too me, I love...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>