A must for World War II buffs.




A richly illustrated account of one of the most iconic moments in World War II.

Military historian Hammel (War in the Western Pacific, 2014, etc.) begins with his own first awareness of Joe Rosenthal’s famous photo of the flag-raising, which became the inspiration for the Marine Corps War Memorial sculpture. In a brief prologue, the author tells how the flag came to be raised not once but twice. He then circles back to the battle, beginning with the decision to take the volcanic island, which would give the U.S. a base for its heavy bombers within striking distance of the enemy homeland as well as capturing an integral part of the Japanese empire, an important symbolic victory. Unlike other battles in which the Japanese fought in mass “banzai” attacks, their plan here was for tenacious defense from a well-designed series of bunkers and strongholds, a plan buttressed with major reinforcements until a month before the landing. In short, the Marines were in for a brutal ordeal. Hammel profiles the men and officers of Company E, the main body involved in the capture of the mountain, and then follows the course of the battle through the flag-raising and its aftermath. Some men died on the island, others survived the war, and a few were singled out as heroes because of their parts in the flag-raising, a role they neither sought nor enjoyed. But the identities of the men involved in the iconic event were never clear until well after the war. Hammel describes the way the image of the flag-raising became a symbol of the Marines and the way the survivors eventually tried to get the full story made part of the official record. He documents this effort by including the reports of the Huly Board, which determined the facts, and the detailed photographic evidence the board worked from. Ultimately, readers receive a unique view of a key battle and learn how, years later, the story was put into proper context.

A must for World War II buffs.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61200-629-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Casemate

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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