TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima

James Bradley (adapted by Micheal French)

When I first saw the cover of the book, the words "adapted for young people" stared out at me. This was a major disappointment for me because I hated most adaptations and abridged versions of popular novels. However, as I read through the first chapter, I was completely taken in by the events in the account. Little did I know that this would prove to be one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read. This book primarily focuses around the lives of the six flag raisers in the famous photograph captured during the American invasion of Iwo Jima in World War II. Personally, I've never really paid much attention to this picture before, even though it's in all my history books. We mostly remember World War II as the Holocaust, when millions of Jews suffered in Europe. Images of Hitler and concentration camps race across our minds. No one remembers the war in the Pacific. In fact, I've never heard of Iwo Jima before I read this book. It's very interesting to see a part of WWII that I haven't heard about before. Also, when we think about war, we connect it with the army. In this book, we get to see how the marines played a big role in one of the most destructive wars in history. James Bradley, the author, is the son of one of the flag raisers. Through many interviews and years of research, he is able to write down an account of what went on during the U.S. invasion of Iwo Jima. We follow the six flag raisers, as well as their fellow comrades, through a series of dark and painful events that happened during the war. I can't even remember how many times I cried when reading this book. Every time a soldier dies, I just can't help but shed a tear for the loss of an innocent life. Then there are passages that tell of the self-sacrifice of one soldier to save his buddies, which brings more tears to my eyes. Bradley did a wonderful job by filling this book full of emotions. Be sure to have tissues ready when reading! Flags of Our Fathers is truly one of the best nonfiction pieces for young adults today. I highly recommend that everyone, especially those interested in history, give this book a try. My suggestion on who should read this is the 12-16 age group. For some teens, however, this book might be a bit graphic. If you can't stand to hear about deaths, don't read this book! Those older than 16 could still try this book, but I really think that the original would appeal more to them. I can't wait to check out the original, unadapted version at the library. I hope that every teen who picks up this book will enjoy it as much as I did. rating: 4 (scale of 1-4, 4 being highest) who should read: age 12-16
Reviewed by Rachel. Grade: ----- in E. Brunswick, - Link directly to entry
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