• Flamethrower

  • Iwo Jima Medal of Honor Recipient and U.S. Marine Woody Williams and His Controversial Award, Japan's Holocaust and the Pacific War
  • By: Bryan Mark Rigg
  • Narrated by: Bryan Mark Rigg
  • Length: 30 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Late in the Pacific War, as Americans were fighting their way to the home islands of the Japanese Empire, one of the fiercest battles of World War II was raging. The Japanese had created, perhaps, the best defended area anywhere on an island called Iwo Jima. Days into the bloody battle, casualties were high on both sides. United States Marines were taking an awful pounding out in the open from enemy-fortified positions.

Imperial Japanese soldiers in pillboxes and bunkers knew that the greatest danger they faced was from a flamethrower if it could get near enough to hit them. Imagine a little guy strapping on a highly flammable 70-pound weapon, instantly drawing heavy enemy fire as he maneuvered close enough with a small team of Leathernecks to destroy a pillbox. Woody Williams did just that on the hellishly hot and sulfurous volcanic island of Iwo Jima, destroying Japanese emplacements against dire odds. He, along with numerous comrades, did it again and again, taking out hundreds of fortifications which had stalled their regiment’s advance to secure the islands airfields.

The capture of Iwo Jima helped the powerful new B-29s have P-51 fighter-plane escorts to help the bombers pound Japan into submission. Iwo actually was a backup landing zone for the Enola Gay if she had difficulties delivering her atomic bomb on 6 August, 1945, at Hiroshima - a bomb American leaders hoped would bring Hirohito to his knees, begging for surrender terms so World War II would stop.

Accomplished military historian Bryan Mark Rigg reconstructs Woody Williams’ remarkable story, from his youth on a dairy farm in West Virginia to his experiences as a Marine in Guadalcanal, Guam, and Iwo Jima. Using never-before-known documents and interviews, Rigg brings out new information about the Pacific War unknown until now. Rigg enables the listener to better appreciate the brave marines and their heroics.

©2020 Bryan Mark Rigg (P)2020 Bryan Mark Rigg
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Flamethrower

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

Fantastic book

This is a long one, but well worth it. Read by the author, you can occasionally hear him turning the pages, some stutters, but nothing which was annoying or detracting; just a man reading his book, and I loved every minute of it.

The subject itself is graphic in nature so don't expect a glossed over version of history. Mr. Rigg has done a fantastic job of researching the material and has, unfortunately, uncovered some inconvenient truths in one man's Medal of Honor award. The book itself is about so much more than Woody Wilson's story, and dives deeply into the Pacific campaign of WWII, and Iwo Jima in particular detail.

Mr. Rigg has faced some legal issues from Woody Wilson getting this book out, but it should be noted that at no time does the author call his heroism into question; just the events surrounding the actions leading up to the MOH being awarded.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

10 hours too long

I don't usually write reviews that are not five stars. This is my first. This book could be broken up into different books with different subject matters. If you want a book on the life of a flamethrower on Iwo, don't buy this book. If you want as book on the contaversial process awards are handed out there is a section in this book for you. If you want to know about Japans ideology regarding the emperor there is a section. Also a section of Japans rape on Nanjing. The information in the book is solid and well researched. It also tends to be all over the place. At times it sounds like the author has an axe to grind with Woody Williams and then in the next sentence he states something like "but his actions are still heroic". I also felf that I was getting a lot of personal opinion instead of history. This may be because I was getting bored with the content and just wanted the book to be over. I think the conclusion alone was at least 4 chapters. :(

4 people found this helpful

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WAY TOO REDUNDANT

I was reluctant to start this book because it is 30 hours long and that seemed rather long for a book about a single Marine's adventure. It turned out that I was right. The basic story was worth reading about, but the Marine's story could have been told in six hours of listening. Instead, the author repeats many times each of his points about how terrible Japan was, how great America is, how wonderful the Marine Corps is, how many lies this particular Marine told about his exploits over the years, how paltry was the record on which his Medal of Honor was awarded. This author desperately needed an editor. Further, the author read his own book and clearly his performance was influenced by his desire to argue his points. When I was first told in the book that the Marine who is the subject of the book had sued the author to stop its publication, I thought that this was an extreme, emotional act. But by the time I neared the end, I was wishing that the fellow had won the lawsuit. The author did a real hatchet job on this poor ex-Marine. Even if most of what the author wrote were true, he didn't have to make the same accusations over and over again, chapter after chapter of the same accusations. I gave up about four chapters from the end, because the author had stopped making any new points about fourteen chapters from the end, and from there on everything was redundant argument.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

The writer/performer spent the first 5 chapters telling you how smart he was and, thus, how small minded he is. He’s telling history with a heavy dose of OPINION. Performance was crude and elementary - improper pronunciation of names and locations, hearing the turning of pages, unprofessional, monotone…it’s obvious why he was turned down by other book houses. I would pass on reading. There is a story here, some good date, but not worth the investment of time to listen to the entire book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read!

What a well researched and well written book! One of the best WW2 stories I have ever read! His pronunciation of several words were a bit distracting eg, Tinian which he pronounced Tininin! But with that small issue aside the book is Amazing! One of the best researched and accurate accounts of the story of Iwo Jima! I now plan to read every book that Mr. Rigg has written. I hope he also continues to write many more on WW2!
Worth the read at any price!
PS I am not sure what the cost is of hiring a professional narrator are but I hope Mr. Rigg springs for a narrator the next time around.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic!

It takes a while to finish but worth every minute. Rigg is a master of organization and story telling.



2 people found this helpful

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Much too long!

This book drags out for over 30 hours, while the material specifically related to the subject, Mr. Williams and his actions may have taken about 5 hours to tell. There is a terrific amount of unrelated information such as history of the Japanese culture, and items such as the discussion of the fact that Mr. William's Great Great Grandfather may have fought General Vandergrif's Great Great Grandfather during the revolutionary war. I had to forced my self to stay with this book, The presenter seemed to struggle with the pronouncement of every Japanese name he came across, and the names of the various islands in the Pacific Ocean. If you are really interested in the story behind Mr. Williams Medal, I recommend you find a different book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best books on the Pacific War.

Certainly one of the best books I've read on the Pacific campaign. Many facts contained in this book you will not find in other publications. Mark Rigg has done an outstanding job in presenting the marines in WWII. Facts about the MOH and other metal is worth the read. Yes politics is certainly in the handing out of awards. Although not in this book Gen. Smedley Butler won the MOH twice and tried to turn it down but was ordered by the navy to wear it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent History

This book is full of details and excellently researched. There are a few mistakes such as referring to U.S. .30 caliber machine guns as 30 millimeter. Also he assumes that World War II U.S. Marine Corps Pioneers were black troops as was the case with U.S. Army Pioneers. They were not. However some U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima were indeed blacks.