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Publisher's Summary

Flyboys is the true story of young American airmen who were shot down over Chichi Jima. Eight of these young men were captured by Japanese troops and taken prisoner. Another was rescued by an American submarine and went on to become president. The reality of what happened to the eight prisoners has remained a secret for almost 60 years.

After the war, the American and Japanese governments conspired to cover up the shocking truth. Not even the families of the airmen were informed what had happened to their sons. It has remained a mystery - until now. Critics called James Bradley's last book "the best book on battle ever written." Flyboys is even better: more ambitious, more powerful, and more moving. On the island of Chichi Jima those young men would face the ultimate test. Their story - a tale of courage and daring, of war and of death, of men and of hope - will make you proud, and it will break your heart.

©2003 James Bradley (P)2010 Hachette

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 07-21-12

Distubing, Shocking and True!

I’d like to say that this is an uplifting story of triumph – it is not. It is a story of tragedy, irreconcilable loss and pain; of events of evil and actions that move the human heart to grief sixty plus years later. It is a reminder of how the will of the few can create atrocities to the many, and how some escape their judgment while innocents pay for their moral depravation. It is said that you have to understand history to understand the future – I am not in a position to say, but this history I cannot internalize. You will be able to comprehend its telling, to feel its impact; but to understand into your heart – you most likely cannot, I could not. Though occasionally gruesome, it is not the author’s intent embellish, nor is it the author’s intent to stir negative feelings among the Japanese and American people of today. His fair reporting of the events, of both sides, pulls at the very fabric of those interested in war history. I am both sorry to have listened and glad I did. I am sorry cannot I cannot be of greater help.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not as advertised

I bought this book (audio) for some Independence Day enjoyment, but I'm afraid it was anything but. Instead of giving an account of American Airmen fighting World War II, it was only constant barrage of how evil the United States is. Apparently Bradley is of the "blame America First" crowd, and even goes so far as to say the evils that Japan committed (torture, rape, murder, etc.) were the result of white American Christians. No, I'm not kidding --sadly, I'm not even exaggerating. It's as though he needs to give himself permission to list Japanese atrocities by dredging up American acts that occurred over a hundred years ago against Indians, Mexicans, and even whales. Yes... whales. His argument is that Japan was a peaceful paradise until they met the evil white man; a comparison that makes as much sense as saying a man saw a bank robbery and it suddenly brainwashed him into becoming a bank robber.

Also, for some inexplicable reason (vanity, perhaps?) Bradley narrates the book himself. Some authors have a gift for this, but unfortunately Bradley doesn't. I would go so far as to say he sounds like Mathew Broderick with a head cold, and is struggling with the words because he took too much NyQuil.

Overall, Bradley's book is rooted in self-loathing. If I recall correctly, he did the same thing in Flags of Our Fathers, so this is just more of the same. I wanted to enjoy this book, but instead I returned it. If I want to be told how bad America sucks I'll just turn on CNN.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book but bad narrator

I really liked this book, I found it provided a very interesting and balanced version of the world views and practices up until and during the war. So many times with pacific war pow books only the brutality is showed. This book did a great job explaining why that brutality existed but also put things into perspective. Vilifying the Japanese doesn't wash the hands of past American or other western nations. But I will say I'm 10 hrs in and going to switch to reading the actual book, I can't take the narrator. He has some strange Regional dialect where he says "world war twouuuuu" and other things, and all the different men's names and voices, both Japanese and American all run together. It's confusing and makes the story hard to follow and less effective. Do yourself a favor and read the physical book 👍

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good book, mediocre narration

Found the narration to be be quite bland with little expression. Maybe it's just personal preference on the voice of the narrator. otherwise an interesting read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, tough read

The story about the pacific campaign is interesting. Bradley's reliance on his Flags of Our Fathers research is evident. Several detailed accounts of deaths are over dramatized and include odd, misplaced details like what servicemen were feeling immediately before they died. The book feels more like a historical novel than a "true story."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bland

While the story itself is undoubtedly inspirational and fascinating, the storytelling and narrating are lackluster.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not as advertised

This is my first written review after listening to several dozen Audible books. I was compelled to write because I thought the description for this book was misleading. If this book was truly about the 8 American fliers shot down over Chichi-Jima, this might have been a 3 or 4 star book, but it would have been only a third its length. After the short opening chapter, the remainder of the first half of the book or more was about American domestic policy and Japanese military history going back several centuries. Because the part I wanted to hear was only a small portion of the book, I felt misled and utterly disappointed. I cannot recommend the book.

21 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Nashville, TN, United States
  • 06-08-11

Flyboys

I have over 400 books, and this is my first review. I can only make 3 hours into this. So far, it is a diatribe against US policy, presidents (specifically TR), and US Indian policy. I'm 3 hours in, and no flyboys, just how badly the US treated a variety of people across the globe. I can see the setup, and even the intent (which is probably partially correct), but it is pretty lowbrow to view policy from another century through 2010 glasses. This reads like a left-wing apologist bible for American actions stretching back to its founding. That is fine, but belongs in a book titled as such. If this was supposed to set the stage, it missed the mark by far. PS-I am not a far right winger political person. It is that "in your face".

27 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bruce
  • Lake Charles, LA, United States
  • 05-06-12

This book must be heard to enjoy!

If you could sum up Flyboys in three words, what would they be?

Shocking, Sorrowful, Inspiring.

What other book might you compare Flyboys to and why?

Flags of our Fathers, because while that was happening, that was happening; who knew?!

Which character – as performed by Author – was your favorite?

Warren Earl.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entire book moved me.

Any additional comments?

Wake up America! Our military deserves better civilian leadership!!! (BOTH parties!!! ALL elected officials!!! Shape up, or PLEASE Ship OUT!!!) Men and women are dying for this idea of America. It (they) deserve our best service to the Nation not personal gain!)

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

A heart breaking must read. I found my previously held opinions challenged and changed. This book opened my eyes about war. I wish I could unring that bell, but I wanted the truth.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful