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Date Posted: 17:32:27 07/16/04 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: Flyboys

This book could be viewed controversial by some. But itís a true story, it actually happened, and serves to remind us of the horror and futility of war. I didnít put this review up to start arguments or fierce debates, but to show what 9 brave airmen had to endure, fighting for their country. PLEASE remember this when making your comments.

The review was sent in by BGWJ. Thanks, Bev! Food for thought, I think.


TITLE: Flyboys: A True Story of Courage

AUTHOR: James Bradley

GENRE: Non-fiction


To quote General Curtis LeMay, youngest general in the Army Air Force :
"...all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good
soldier."

The time is WWII. The place is the Pacific and the defeating of Japan by
the taking of Iwo Jima and its neighboring island ChiChi Jima. The capture
of Iwo Jima was necessary as a stepping stone to Tokyo. In the
process, thousands lost their lives.

Nine American flyers, called Flyboys, were shot down over ChiChi Jima. One
of the men was miraculously rescued by a US Navy submarine. The other 8
were captured by Japanese forces and held prisoner.

At war's end, both American and Japanese governments covered up what
happened on ChiChi Jima. Records were sealed, the lives of the 8 were
erased. Family/friends never knew what happened. Eight mothers went to
their graves, never knowing anything more than their sons were MIA. Only
they weren't MIA. The government knew their fates. After 60 years of sealed
records, James Bradley uncovered the mystery and why it was kept secret.

The story had its roots 150 years ago with the landing of Commodore Perry
and Japan's 1st encounter with Americans. Through the story of 8 short
lives, Bradley tells the story of 2 nations in a hell called war. He
tells how the mentality of the Japanese warrior over centuries of
isolation and classism fostered inhuman brutality. He tells how US
military strategy justified the killing of thousands.

Japanese mentality justified that the humility of defeat was worse than
death,(sound familiar?).They were like pitbulls, who once they clamped
down, refused to give up and let go. The only way the US saw to defeat
them was through superior air power, knocking out their defenses and
completely wiping out their production of war materials. Millions died
because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, because their
leadership would not give up. Death was more important than losing
face,(familiar again?).

Because of this belief, life on ChiChi Jima meant nothing. The Japanese
thought that once captured, they would be tortured and killed
too. Therefore, they had no sympathy for the captured flyboys. Let me
clarify that - the ordinary Japanese didnít think that way. That was the
outlook of their high command. And because of centuries of classism, the
lowly were taught to blindly obey the upper class.

This book is not for the squeamish. What happened to the 8 will turn your
stomach. Just think of what happened recently in Iraq and imagine it
worse. It may even give you some insight into the Iraq conflict, since
they have some of the same twisted concepts.

One note of God's will (or fate depending on your beliefs) deciding the
future of an individual: The 9th flyboy saved by the American sub. was
none other than George Hubert Walker Bush, father of the present US
President George W. Bush.

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Replies:

[> Isn't it interesting the stories that come out years later. I STILL wonder what the heck happened to JFK! Don't know if I could read it, I am pretty squeamish, but it's interesting who the 9th flyboy was, eh? Thanks, Bev! -- Judie, 17:18:49 07/18/04 Sun


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[> What an interesting and tragic story. I don't know that I could read it now, I think I could have easily years ago, before I knew my husband and what he went through and what he had to do in Vietnam. What turned you on to this book? Is there someone in your family with WWII experiences? -- beccabee, 23:43:20 07/18/04 Sun


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[> [> I'm always checking out nonfiction at the library.WWII stuff has always been interesting.You hear "history repeats itself", its interesting to read any number of history "lessons"and compare notes.I came across a nice coffee table bk @WWI w/lots of photos.An eye opener.Alot of today's world unrest had some beginnings there ( politics!egos!manifest destiny).Its interesting how the split in the church eons ago have shaped the protestant world.I just like world history.THE books interest me as much for the history research Herself does as the romance. -- BGWJ, 19:41:44 07/19/04 Mon


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[> [> [> PS-yes my Da had interesting WWII experiences.He was a medic in North Africa,Sicily and Italy.He took pics of Mt Vesuvius erupting w/tracer bullets streaming over the Bay of Naples.He told us of delivering a baby on a kitchen table,of sewing a finger back onto an old Arab's hand w/no pain meds,of bandaging a woman w/a bullet hole in one side/out the other of her head and she was still walking/talking.There are some things he wouldnt talk about too.We have pics of Mussolini hanging by his heels that he took.I'm not an Army brat,but several of my friends were.Da retired as civilian instructor at Ft Lee Va.My DH was Army /6yrs.Military life gives you a different perspective on life/death/honor/valor/peace/stupidity/home/family etc etc.People need to study their history I tell ya.It doesnt happen by itself.We make it happen. -- BGWJ, 19:59:19 07/19/04 Mon


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[> [> [> [> My father has just started opening up about his WWII experiences lately at age 82 1/2. He has some very painful memories that are leaking out bit by bit. But one thing you have to understand is that my father is this very tall, handsome, upright pillar of the church, moral rectitude, old fashioned guy, very traditional and straitlaced. He confessed to me he had a pet monkey in China. I about flopped. -- beccabee, 22:11:14 07/19/04 Mon


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[> Well, I won't read this book. I'm sorry that GHW Bush was the only one who got saved. Too bad it couldn't have been someone else. Yes, I know that this will offend some, but that's how I feel. (Boy, talk about changing history!) Since anti-Japanese sentiment was s-o-o-o-o strong, I'm really curious as to why the US government was so secretive about the fate of the 8. Surely, not to avoid "fanning the flames". I think it was shameful not to have levelled with their families about what happened to them. -- Lemora, 22:20:17 07/20/04 Tue


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[> [> They were eaten...would you have wanted to know that?Not me...Sorry how you feel about who was saved...believe it or not I protested Nam but todays world is a whole different ball of wax.In this situation,we needed a little "cowboy justice".Ever listen to Toby Keith and Willie Nelson sing Beer For My Horses? -- BGWJ, 19:31:26 07/21/04 Wed


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[> [> [> Actually, I suspected that this was their fate. WWII has many untold stories. Also, that the US Gov't. thought that "MIA" was a far more merciful fate to leave with their families, than telling them the truth. Personally, I'd want to know what happened. I wouldn't want to go to my grave wondering. Actually, I know of an instance in the 1980's where this happened in Central America. It isn't all that uncommon. I love Willie Nelson, but no -- I haven't heard that song. I respectfully have to disagree about today's world. History is repeating itself and we humans never seem to learn -- as DG also makes clear in her books. I am curious, now, about the Willie Nelson song. -- Lemora, 22:26:41 07/21/04 Wed


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[> [> [> [> Lemora, I have heard my husband's stories from Vietnam and you would not want to know. -- beccabee, 07:28:55 07/22/04 Thu


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[> [> [> [> I apologize if I get the words tangled up,but goes something like this : My pappy told me,Son,A man has to answer for the wicked that he's done...Justice is the one thing thats hard to find,You've got to saddle up your boys and draw a hard line...When its all over ,we'll raise up our glasses against evil forces,Whiskey for my men,Beer for my horses...there's a verse about hanging the bad guys,but I cant remember off the cuff how it goes.But you get the idea.Toby Keith won an award for it at the CM Awards last time. -- BGWJ, 22:07:23 07/22/04 Thu


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[> [> [> [> [> Oops,after"when its all over" insert "we'll sing a Victory tune " then "we'll raise up our glasses.... -- BGWJ, 22:17:08 07/22/04 Thu


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[> Bev, this sounds like the kind of book that would interest my son, but he's a bit young at 12 for the full horrors of war I think. He loves history in all periods, and is fascinated by WW1&2. Not my sort of book as I like escapism rather than realism in both books and movies. Thanks for sharing, and the insights too. -- Margy, 06:48:02 07/25/04 Sun


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[> Thanks for the review, Bev. I love history, and I often find that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. -- GinC, 18:10:36 07/25/04 Sun


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[> I'm in the midst of reading this book right now. It is extremely interesting, and disturbing and sad at the same time. I have had to set it down and read something else before I can go back to it. -- Colly, 08:46:21 07/29/04 Thu


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[> [> I know what you mean.Had another going at the same time too,because I couldnt take a steady read of it alone.It still amazes me that one human being can act like that to another human being.Is it sickness or just plain evil heartedness?Is it learned behavior or born that way?I guess if we really knew the answer to that ,we'd be able to make peace in the world. -- BGWJ, 20:43:27 07/29/04 Thu


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[> Wow, it sounds like a very powerful story. I'm not sure I could handle the gory details. It would be very easy to get political here ( & I love you guys too much to risk offending anyone.) But..... just the review raises interesting questions about war, gov't secrecy (when is it right & when is it wrong), the amazing fact of the sole survivor (love him & his son or hate him and his son). I won't add any of my personal feelings on these subjects, but the implications of the story seem pretty staggering. -- Theresa S., 10:45:25 08/30/04 Mon


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