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Book Review


Wheeler, Richard

This book chronicles the battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific during World War II. My father was there as a radioman and gunner on a landing craft, and I had known some basic information about the battle, but this book did a good job of filling in the gaps. Further, Wheeler does a thorough job of including the visceral details that add both incredible realism and admiration for those who experienced this battle.

A wounded veteran of Iwo Jima himself, Wheeler did comprehensive interviewing as part of the background research for this book. He also interviewed Japanese survivors and got access to letters written by notable Japanese soldiers such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the architect of the defenses on Iwo and commander of forces there. Having the Japanese perspective added greatly to the telling of the story.

The information and individual incidents were extensive, gut-wrenching, and incredible. Wheeler writes in one place of a Marine who suffered injuries from five artillery shells, one after the other, but remarkably survived them, albeit with major injuries. He also goes into detail as to which units were involved in which assaults and who took the most damage, including the Easy Company's assault on Mount Surabachi and the famous hoisting of American colors on that mountain.

By Glen Robinson
Submitted: February 20, 2014