Flags of Our Fathers

Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (763 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Flags of Our Fathers is the unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history: the raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima. 

Here is the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and indomitable will of America. In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima - and into history. The son of one of the flag raisers has written a powerful account of six very different men who came together in the heroic battle for the Pacific’s most crucial island.

©2000 James Bradley and Ron Powers (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

  • Alex Award Winner, 2001

"Voluminous and memorable.... No reader will forget the lesson." (Publishers Weekly)

"Flags of Our Fathers is one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see, in part because it is instructive and moving in unexpected ways." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

awesome

Best book I have listened to yet.

while I agree that the reader is a little maudlin, his tone actually matches the tone of the book quite well. And while the author clearly idolizes his father and may wax poeitic a little bit too much at times, the book overall is one of the most moving peices I have read. More than any other book, it exemplifies the shear role of serendipity in life. who lived, and who died among this group of men was shear chance. And I am sure we cannot conceive of what these men went through. furthermore, the history of this picture which we all recognize exemplifies the nuances and chance outcomes that make great history.

I found it a wonderful book that was very very well read.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

History in Real Life

My memories of history lessons from school revealed nothing like the exciting, wonderful tale told in this book!

The author is certainly not worthy of a Pulitzer prize, but he had a desire to find out about an event in history for which he had a personal connection. And then he wrote a book about it. This book provides us with information we have not had prior to his telling it. There are a number of sources for the horrors of the battles in the pacific, no less on Iwo Jima. But this book tells more than just the story of a particular battle.

I found it fascinating and important that the author set out to discover these "boys" and why he insisted on using the term "boys" rather than men. When that picture was taken, they were boys. It does not gloss over thier faults of human nature. And yes, maybe the author does idolize his father a bit heavily. But for me, I would rather see that than the opposite! How many more "Mommy Dearest" books do you need on your shelf?

As for the narrator, I was thrilled to see Stephen Hoye on this title. In fact, that was probably the decision maker as to whether I would get this book or not. He expresses the emotions of the book and is a master of that! If he sounded sappy, that is because the story was sappy at that point. But if the story became strong, he delivered strength in his voice.

The book gave me history: knowledge of the difficulties the soldiers faced, the differences between the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific; an explanation of war financing differences and what war bonds really were; and so on. But it told all that in a novel-like fashion about six people who happened to be caught in a photograph: their lives before, during and, for those who survived, after the war. Marvelous.

I have not seen the movie yet, but like any other comparison between book and movie, I know the book will be better hands down!! Isn't that why we all have a membership here at audible.com?

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and a key book for any History Library

Excellent account about real people in an unreal situation: Famous for doing something they had no idea would be seen as significant. This is an brilliant addition to any military history enthusiast's library. 'Flags of Our Fathers' brilliantly encapsulates how history and myth are created. History as an agent of people and their own agendas, so far removed from 'facts and figures'.

Other reviews have criticised the narration. I can't understand why. The narrator's voice is varied and interesting, with reasonable characterisations and accents. Is is certainly appropriate for any audiobook in this genre.

The story itself is somewhat nostalgic, but given the fact that the author is the son of one of the men involved, this is to be expected when significant parts of the story are auto-biographical of their family. Still, these elements blend seamlessly into a thorough account of these men's lives and help greatly to build up a clear account of the men and their experiences.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible to learn what our fathers endured

As a child of the Vietnam era, I really didn't expect to like this book. I was very wrong - this is an amazingly revealing account of the extraordinary and often awful things "average" American "boys" accomplished in the Pacific in WW II - and the impact those events and their roles had on them and their families. Powerful.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Important story, but poorly read and written

The story is powerful despite the weak prose of the writer and the too sentimental lilt of the narrator's voice. I found listening difficult, but the raw courage and spirit of the marines in the story and the horror of the almost endless battle on Iwo Jima kept me listening. The stories of the lives of these "typical" American flag-raisers made the entire story personal and painful. The irony of the truth behind the "real" flag raising paled in contrast to the declaration that this flag raising symbolized and heralded a moment of victory on the island when the battle went on for day after harrowing day. It's worth the listen, but it should have been better. Those amazing men deserve a better telling.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

10 times better than the movie

I saw the movie this weekend and was about half way through the book at the time. I just finished the book tonight and the book is so much better than the movie. It is a "must purchase".

2 people found this helpful

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

Riveting

Story starts out a bit slow - details on the flag raisers, their home life and where they grew up. But the sobering details on the day to day skirmishes to take Iwo Jima are heart-wrenching and sad. So many lives lost! It’s indeed a tribute to those who stood shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Marines who would rather die than to let their buddies down. And to the Navy Corpsmen (the Docs) who displayed equal bravery to care for their comrades. Unbelievable moment-to-moment commitment, discipline and bravery for days, then weeks! There were really more than 6 heroes - there were thousands of heroes. Great read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not the best narration

The story was tragic and a tragic narration is what is given. Very monotone and lifeless. It was difficult for me to finish this audiobook but I did finish to 'honor' the memory of these soldiers.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I hate the reader

The book, story and history are worth reading, but this wan, dreamy, pablumesque narrator/reader is annoying to me. I feel that a story regarding such a high level of heroism, intensity, life and death struggle, sadness and joy, deserves a reader who can give the words some life. Instead the story is dragged along and monotonously smeared before you to the point you are wondering if the reader even understands the meaning of any of the words he
is reading.

3 people found this helpful

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

Wonderful book

This was an amazing book with tremendous details of each of their lives! The orator was superb!