Deeply felt, vivid and compressed, this account of a Marine platoon's four-day battle to capture Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima comes close to being a minor classic. We've had several Iwo Jima books this past year, all of them bloody, but this is the most intensely human of the lot. Wheeler manages this by keeping to personal observation of one fragment of the battle. He was a corporal in the platoon he describes and he deftly individualizes many of his 45 buddies. Somehow, he avoids giving the impression that there was a single lunkhead (or worse) in his group; each Marine is manly and inspired by youth, fear and Semper Fi. (Semper Fi should not be confused with Gung Ho!) Of the 46 men, 41 became casualties (19 dead), including Wheeler who suffered two direct hits by mortar fire. His comrades successfully raised a victory flag on Suribachi but, ironically, a second flag had to be raised later. The second flag-raising inspired the world-famous photograph and Wheeler's platoon lost their deserved glory and had to settle for Semper Fidelis.