From the Volcano to the Gorge: Getting the Job Done on Iwo Jima
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No moment in American military history is more deeply stamped into our national memory than the flag-raising that marked the capture by U.S. Marines of Mount Suribachi, on the tiny Pacific island of Iwo Jima, in February 1945. The famous photograph of that moment, widely reproduced in magazines, books, films, and statuary, has for nearly two-thirds of a century stood as the quintessential symbol of American patriotism and Marine valor. This is as it should be. The gallantry of the small band of Marines who first made it to the top and raised the flag was undeniably crucial to the success of the invasion.
But that moment, which took place on the fourth day after the initial landing, was far from the end of the battle. It would take another month of fierce fighting, covering 5,000 rocky acres and claiming the lives of 17,000 more Japanese soldiers and 6,000 more Marines, before full victory was achieved. The capture of Suribachi, militarily and psychologically important as it was, was only the end of the beginning.
This book combines narratives by two Marines who landed on the beaches on the first day of the invasion and took part in the grinding combat to the bitter end. These two men lived through the most intense weeks of their lives within a mile of each other, but never knew of each other's existence until this book began to take shape. Each writes vividly and memorably about achievements they can be proud of and traumatic experiences that made them into different men than they would have been without the war.
Softbound, 340 pages
From page 23:
Everything I saw for the next few hours is still plainly visible if I close my eyes, as clear to me after sixty years as it was at the instant it happened. In those exhilarating first few seconds, with the adrenalin really flowing, suddenly the realization that you were in danger was brought home to you. You are in combat. People are actually trying to kill you. This is no longer a game—it’s for real. Time seemed to take on a surrealistic quality. Everything happened in slow motion. Small sounds were amplified, and the din of battle was silence. Your eyes saw everything. Your mind noted and remembered it all in minute detail. Time will never dull these scenes, nor will I ever be able to erase them from my mind’s eye.