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Flyboys
Cover of Flyboys
Flyboys
A True Story of Courage
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Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers-Navy and Marine pilots sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there-were shot down. One of those nine was miraculously rescued...
Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers-Navy and Marine pilots sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there-were shot down. One of those nine was miraculously rescued...
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  • Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers-Navy and Marine pilots sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there-were shot down. One of those nine was miraculously rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine. The others were captured by Japanese soldiers on Chichi Jima and held prisoner. Then they disappeared. When the war was over, the American government, along with the Japanese, covered up everything that had happened on Chichi Jima. The records of a top-secret military tribunal were sealed, the lives of the eight Flyboys were erased, and the parents, brothers, sisters, and sweethearts they left behind were left to wonder.
    Flyboys reveals for the first time ever the extraordinary story of those men. Bradley's quest for the truth took him from dusty attics in American small towns, to untapped government archives containing classified documents, to the heart of Japan, and finally to Chichi Jima itself. What he discovered was a mystery that dated back far before World War II-back 150 years, to America's westward expansion and Japan's first confrontation with the western world. Bradley brings into vivid focus these brave young men who went to war for their country, and through their lives he also tells the larger story of two nations in a hellish war.
    With no easy moralizing, Bradley presents history in all its savage complexity, including the Japanese warrior mentality that fostered inhuman brutality and the U.S. military strategy that justified attacks on millions of civilians. And, after almost sixty years of mystery, Bradley finally reveals the fate of the eight American Flyboys, all of whom would ultimately face a moment and a decision that few of us can even imagine.
    Flyboys is a story of war and horror but also of friendship and honor. It is about how we die, and how we live-including the tale of the Flyboy who escaped capture, a young Navy pilot named George H. W. Bush who would one day become president of the United States. A masterpiece of historical narrative, Flyboys will change forever our understanding of the Pacific war and the very things we fight for.

About the Author-

  • James Bradley is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Imperial Cruise, Flyboys, and Flags of Our Fathers, and a son of one of the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 11, 2003
    The author of Flags of Our Fathers
    achieves considerable but not equal success in this new Pacific War–themed history. Again he approaches the conflict focused on a small group of men: nine American Navy and Marine aviators who were shot down off the Japanese-held island of Chichi Jima in February 1945. All of them were eventually executed by the Japanese; several of the guilty parties were tried and condemned as war criminals. When the book keeps its eye on the aviators—growing up under a variety of conditions before the war, entering service, serving as the U. S. Navy's spearhead aboard the fast carriers, or facing captivity and death—it is as compelling as its predecessor. However, a chapter on prewar aviation is an uncritical panegyric to WWI aerial bombing advocate Billy Mitchell, who was eventually court-martialed for criticizing armed forces brass. More problematic is that Bradley tries to encompass not only the whole history of the Pacific War, but the whole history of the cultures of the two opposing countries that led to the racial attitudes which both sides brought to the war. Those attitudes, Bradley argues, played a large role in the brutal training of the Japanese army, which led to atrocities that in turn sharpened already keen American hostility. Some readers' hackles will rise at the discussion of the guilt of both sides, but, despite some missteps, Bradley attempts to strike an informed balance with the perspective of more than half a century. And with a CNN prime-time documentary to air at publication and a 25-city author tour, he should have no trouble reaching all comers.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2003
    How can you follow up a blockbuster like Flags of Our Fathers? With a book that reveals what happened to seven U.S. airmen shot down over Chichi Jima and captured by Japanese troops, never to be seen again. An eighth airman who managed to escape happened to be named George H.W. Bush.

    Copyright 2003 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2003
    Bradley's phenomenal best-seller, " Flags of Our Fathers" (2000), was rejected by about 20 publishing houses before Bantam took a chance. His new publisher is not leaving the popularity of the encore to chance, launching it with an intense promotional campaign. Structured similarly to " Flags," which concerned the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima, this work reconstructs the lives of several young men at war. Eight pilots and airmen were shot down by the Japanese military at Chichi Jima in 1944-45, George H. W. Bush among them. A well-known part of his political biography, Bush's story of escape is recounted somberly (Bush's crewmates died). The fates of the others shot down, who were captured, Bradley gathered in part from a source that was secret until a few years ago: records of a war-crimes trial of Japanese officers in command at Chichi Jima. Bradley sensitively builds the trial's unpleasant evidence (concealed, presumably, to spare pain to the airmen's relatives) into the narrative, which he frames with a portrayal of the Japanese military mind-set, which condoned the commission of atrocities. There are many brutally graphic passages about the torture and slaying of the American prisoners, which may prove too daunting for some readers, but Bradley succeeds in restoring dignity to the American airmen. Sure to command a large audience.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2003, American Library Association.)

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    Little, Brown and Company
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