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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
23

on 11 November 2015
This is not your typical story about the war in the Pacific. It meshes the fate of a few aviators (or flyboys, I should say) shot down in the Pacific with a wider picture, reaching far into the past, into how United States expanded westwards and what Americans did in the Philippines, showing it in parallel with heinous Japanese crimes in China.

So what is this book? It's an insight into what makes a man in distress tick as well as what makes history as a whole tick. It will open your eyes about a number of very dark episodes, not only regarding World War 2. If you have a view of Americans as being flawless knights in shining armor, then sorry, but your view of the world will probably be shattered after reading as little as the first two chapters.

The author was obviously trying to find a good balance between reliability and readability. It has to be said that some sacrifices were made in the field of the former in favor of the latter, but it is NOT a fictionalized account. It's made to be popular history.
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on 27 September 2017
a really amazing and unique book with replicated report cards, letters, drawings and the like. Takes you from his birth to his death..it's a truly amazing and very emotional item and if you're a fan of john Lennon you really can't not have this..get it while it's still available and not second hand.
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on 25 May 2017
Excellent. Thank you.
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on 29 May 2018
Everything Ok
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on 4 October 2017
very interesting as we wanted bit of history about the island
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on 22 September 2009
I was pleasantly surprised by how excellent this book is.

Having read James Bradley's first book, Flags of Our Fathers, I was curious to read his follow-up. But Flags is such a compelling personal story - a journey to discover what happened to his father in World War Two - that I wasn't entirely confident he could achieve the same with a subject he was less directly connected to. I needn't have worried. Flyboys is not only well-researched and truly revelatory. It's also an unusually well-balanced and sensitive attempt to get to grips with the horrors of war.

Most of us are aware of the particularly gruesome nature of the war in the Pacific. But Flyboys delves into a previously untold tale that descends into levels of atrocity and barbarism that are hard to comprehend. And this is where Bradley's writing talent really comes to the fore. He doesn't just dig up the facts and tell the story remarkably clearly. He goes much further, placing the brutality in some sort of context. It's the insight and background he places the events within that takes this book to a higher level, giving the reader a grasp and understanding of otherwise incomprehensible inhumanity.

Some American reveiwers have criticised Flyboys as unpatriotic - mainly for taking the trouble to offer a Japanese perspective on the Pacific conflict. But Bradley's credentials are hard to refute. His father, after all, was one of the flag-raisers on Iwo Jima; yet he has also travelled and studied extensively in Japan, acquiring an uncommon grasp of Japanese language, culture and history. And it's this uniquely balanced sensibility that takes Flyboys well beyond the mere unearthing of a harrowing story that it might otherwise have been.

If I have one criticism of Flyboys it's that the author offers so much context and detail that the book sometimes drifts away from its core subject into much wider considerations about World War Two, it's causes, consequences and moral dilemmas. But then again this is not really a fault - it's an integral part of what makes this one of the best books about war you will ever read.
4 people found this helpful
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on 22 December 2009
I was pleasantly surprised by how excellent this book is.

Having read James Bradley's first book, Flags of Our Fathers, I was curious to read his follow-up. But Flags is such a compelling personal story - a journey to discover what happened to his father in World War Two - that I wasn't entirely confident he could achieve the same with a subject he was less directly connected to. I needn't have worried. Flyboys is not only well-researched and truly revelatory. It's also an unusually well-balanced and sensitive attempt to get to grips with the horrors of war.

Most of us are aware of the particularly gruesome nature of the war in the Pacific. But Flyboys delves into a previously untold tale that descends into levels of atrocity and barbarism that are hard to comprehend. And this is where Bradley's writing talent really comes to the fore. He doesn't just dig up the facts and tell the story remarkably clearly. He goes much further, placing the brutality in some sort of context. It's the insight and background he places the events within that takes this book to a higher level, giving the reader a grasp and understanding of otherwise incomprehensible inhumanity.

Some American reveiwers have criticised Flyboys as unpatriotic - mainly for taking the trouble to offer a Japanese perspective on the Pacific conflict. But Bradley's credentials are hard to refute. His father, after all, was one of the flag-raisers on Iwo Jima; yet he has also travelled and studied extensively in Japan, acquiring an uncommon grasp of Japanese language, culture and history. And it's this uniquely balanced sensibility that takes Flyboys well beyond the mere unearthing of a harrowing story that it might otherwise have been.

If I have one criticism of Flyboys it's that the author offers so much context and detail that the book sometimes drifts away from its core subject into much wider considerations about World War Two, it's causes, consequences and moral dilemmas. But then again this is not really a fault - it's an integral part of what makes this one of the best books about war you will ever read.
One person found this helpful
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on 29 January 2013
As we have come to expect from James Bradley, a fascinating, nail-biting insight into the lives of those who flew the skies and defended our country.Excallent.
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on 25 July 2013
I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Pacific Theatre of War (WWII). It covers a war that has not received the coverage it really deserves.
One person found this helpful
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on 23 January 2004
James Bradley's book is an outstanding piece of historical literature, written in highly readable prose, guiding the reader through the brutality of the Pacific air campaign. Alternatively focussing on the fate and experiences of individual pilots and then stepping back to discuss the wider, strategic impact of events, he opens our eyes to the clash of cultures between the Americans and Japanese. Whilst being unapologetic about the actions of either side, he rather seeks to understand what drove individual combatants on either side to commit the acts they did. That said, Bradley is trying to balance highly readable litereary prose, written in a pseudo-fictional manner, with an attempt at portraying the facts with historical accuracy, coupled with an historians analysis of events. As such, he makes the occasional sweeping statement,in an attempt at keeping the reader enthralled, resulting in an undermining of his credibility as a serious historian. Also, although he tries hard to be balanced in his views, the balance remains (unsurprisingly) pro-American in bias. However, overall, this book provides a fascinating insight into this air war, and is particularly enlightening regarding the actions of a certain Navy flyer named George Bush. For those who know little about the Pacific War, this book is an enthralling read that is hard to put down until the last page is turned.
12 people found this helpful
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