The Lions of Iwo Jima
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 15 May 2013
Full Title: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History
Retired US Marine Corps Major General Fred Haynes and author James Warren's The Lions of Iwo Jima was a blend between Haynes' memoir, unit history of Combat Team 28, and a general history of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Haynes, having been a field officer at Iwo Jima, provided Warren's history with memories of the fighting men, preventing the history from becoming an impersonal account of tactics and statistics. What memories these were, too, filled with tales of courage, sacrifice, and most importantly the horror of when men turned their weapons on fellow men. While the authors devoted much time on the two flag raisings atop Mount Suribachi which became symbols of the victory at Iwo Jima, they also detailed the ugliness of the fighting that took place before and after the flag raisings. While the authors at times fell into the same trap as most other American authors, generalizing the Japanese servicemen as brave but yet mindless automatons created by a corrupted version of Bushido, Haynes and Warren also made some attempt to treat them as fellow human beings who had loved ones at home and were wasting their flowers of their youth in a meat grinder, just like their fellow US Marine counterparts.
I had reviewed this book in its audio book format. Michael Prichard, a favorite of mine, performed well as always, even if I had raised my eyebrow at his treatment of certain words such as "Kyushu".
The Lions of Iwo Jima was an easy-to-read memoir/history that provided an interesting balance between the personal experiences of battle and the chronology of how the front lines evolved on this small speck of an island. I would definitely place this on the recommend list for those interested in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
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