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Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle: United States Marines at War in the Pacific [Hardcover]

Eric Hammel


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Book Description

Aug. 15 2006
Iwo Jima is perhaps the hardest won and most famous battle in the Pacific theater during World War II. The award-winning, iconic photo of Marines raising the American flag during the battle is remembered by millions as the symbol of how hard fought the victory was in the war.

Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle: United States Marines in the Pacific takes this iconic flag-raising image one step further. In incredible duotone reproduction, over 500 photos taken by Marine Corps combat photographers during the battle are featured, including over 300 never-before-published that were discovered in Marine Corps archives by author and military historian Eric Hammel. The photos vividly recreate the battle, as it happened: the pummeling of inland targets, the strafing, and the rocket fire that accompanied the landing; the eerie silence that greeted the Marines as they set foot on the island; and then, as the newly-landed Marines regrouped on the shoreline, the horrors of all hell breaking loose. The book also includes detailed maps as well as profiles of each Medal of Honor winner from the battle - including the citation from the President to each honoree reproduced in its entirety that includes detailed descriptions of courage and valor under fire.
The fighting on Iwo Jima—thirty-four of the bloodiest days of the Pacific War—comes to harrowing life in this volume, and this book is an instant classic in the genre and a necessary addition to any serious collection of World War II literature.

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Review

World War II, October 2006
“Without the right words even the most powerful pictures can lie. Witness the iconic flag raising photograph and its tangled trail of misrepresentations…Eric Hammel understands that, so this is far more than just a picture book—although it’s magnificent as that too.
“Built around 500 incredible photos, including stills from motion picture footage, the elegantly designed coffee table tome takes us from shipboard to beaches and into tangled lines of engagement. The shots of Marines under fire, wounded and dead are particularly evocative, especially following the sobering pictures of hardened Japanese defensive positions. Just as important: Hammel’s straightforward essay and his revealing captions, which filigree detail around the pictures, deepening their visceral resonance yet anchoring them in research. With detailed maps of every stage of engagement and topography and boxed-off reproductions of Medal of Honor citations, the book is beautiful, powerful and stuffed with information."

Purple Heart Magazine, December 2006

“The most complete photographic history of this iconic battle ever published, Iwo Jima contains photos and text woven together by acclaimed military historian Eric Hammel…The heroics that led to victory for the Americans are not only captured through the author’s text and photos from the depths of Marine historical archives, but in the descriptive details of extraordinary heroism contained in the included citations for the 27 Medals of Honor that were awarded to Marines and Navy Corpsmen for service in the bloody battle…Poignantly written and illustrated, readers and military historians will not be disappointed with this work…one of the finest pictorials of World War II.”



WWII History Magazine, January 2006
“...a visually stunning work.”


Naval History, April 2007

"Iwo Jima is well-produced, printed on high-quality paper that renders superior imagery … The pictures, probably the largest collection of Iwo photos to appear in a single volume, provide substantial detail on the battle. The old standbys are there, but so are many photos not seen before, the result no doubt of extensive research in military archives. Hammel’s captions are excellent. They are not mere descriptions of the obvious action, but provide information that embellished the basic text.

“Hammel has done his homework. His text, enhanced by several pages of maps, sets the stage for the battle and records its progress in considerable detail … Iwo Jima provides a single source for much detail – text and pictures – of that faraway conflict and should be included in the library of anyone interested in what has become a memorable time in the American experience.”



Army/Marine Corps/Navy/Air Force Times, October 2006
“…Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle is a valuable addition to the catalog of books devoted to the bloodiest battle of the Pacific island-hopping campaign, one that features more than 500 photographs—including many never before published.
“Where most Iwo examinations begin with the Feb. 19, 1945, amphibious assault and give the reader only a cursory glance at the bombing campaign that preceded the ground fight, Hammel examines the air interdiction effort that began in June 1944. Military history buffs will also appreciate his close look at the Japanese buildup on Iwo.
“With hundreds of photos that bear close examination and essays that will satisfy those who already know the battle well, Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle is a welcome addition to any military history buff’s library.”
Leatherneck Magazine, December 2006
"Jam-packed with vividly crisp black-and-white images that so dramatically and brutally portray war, hundreds upon hundreds of graphic photos pop out at the reader in this high-quality, state-of-the-art, coffee-table visual history. No muddied photos allowed; all are as clear and as sharps as a ship's bell!...Iwo Jima is a book worthy of any Marine's coffee table, or that of fanatics of things that are simply Marine. Even those who don't bother with all of the text will still 'get it' from reading the captions accompanying the rich array of photos...One viewing of Hammel's book is worth a thousand of anyone's tellings."

From the Inside Flap

A book worthy of any Marine's coffee table, or that of fanatics of things that are simply Marine. . . . One viewing of Hammel's book is worth a thousand of anyone's tellings.—Leatherneck Magazine

 

Even in as bloody and bluntly violent a war as Americans encountered in the Pacific, Iwo Jima was in a class by itself, the ultimate expression of death and mayhem. Relying upon a purely attritional strategy of “defend-and-die,” Iwo’s Japanese commander oversaw the construction of thousands of concrete bunkers, pillboxes, blockhouses, and other fighting positions as well as multistory underground command centers and barracks, some as deep at seventy-five feet.

By D-day, February 19, 1945, most of these formidable defenses had been interconnected by eleven miles of underground passageways. Manning these positions were twenty-three thousand Japanese army and navy troops, many of them elite veterans of combat in the Pacific and China. Hundreds of mortars, artillery pieces, and rocket tubes had been painstakingly preregistered, allowing them to hit virtually any spot on the island with their first shot.

 

Hammel has done his homework. His text, enhanced by several pages of maps, sets the stage for the battle and records its progress in considerable detail … Iwo Jima provides a single source for much detail—text and pictures—of that faraway conflict and should be included in the library of anyone interested in what has become a memorable time in the American experience.—Naval History

 

Following a seventy-four-day air and naval bombardment that the American high command believed had put the bulk of the Japanese defenders at least temporarily out of action, two veteran regiments of the 4th Marine Division alongside two regiments of the newly formed 5th Marine Division—eight battalion landing teams in all—led the way toward the island. Aircraft, battleships, cruisers, and destroyers pummeled ground targets near and far from the landing beaches. As the first wave of Marine-laden amphibian tractors climbed ashore, nearby gunboats fired hundreds of rockets to suppress enemy fire. Then Marine Corsairs strafed the ground just behind the beaches.

 

This book is as close to the battle as you can get without being on the island.—Marines Magazine

 

Nothing happened. There was no return fire. No Japanese fired at the ships offshore, nor at the oncoming waves of amphibian tractors, nor at the Marines. Shortly, when the nearly eight thousand newly landed Marines had stopped along the shoreline to regroup, every Japanese gun and mortar within range opened fire on the exposed invaders. The gunfire did not die for thirty-four of the bloodiest days of the Pacific War.

 

The shots of Marines under fire, wounded and dead are particularly evocative, especially following the sobering pictures of hardened Japanese defensive positions. Just as important: Hammel’s straightforward essay and his revealing captions, which filigree detail around the pictures, deepening their visceral resonance yet anchoring them in research. . . . [T]he book is beautiful, powerful and stuffed with information.—World War II Magazine

 

Eric Hammel is a critically acclaimed military historian and author of more than thirty combat histories, including several on the U.S. Marines in World War II. He lives in Northern California.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Photographic Insight into Iwo Jima Oct. 1 2006
By B. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read several books on the Battle of Iwo Jima, but most texts have very few photos of this monumental event in World War II, and the same ones are often seen from book to book. This book brings many, many images to light that have been gathering dust in governmental and military archives for six decades. In the first 10 pages alone, I had only seen maybe one of the images before. This type of photographic record should be published for every major American campaign of the Second World War. Now, I just wonder how many Iwo Jima photos that were not used in the book will sit unseen for another 60 years.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sense Of Brotherhood Feb. 9 2007
By Delbert B. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In reading this book and examining the photographs, I couldn't help but develop an eternal feeling for all those Marines who fought and died on that stinking piece of real estate. The photographs are awe inspiring by showing everyone the hell all those young Marines went through. I can't invision the kind of torture they suffered, not only from the terrain, but from the enemy entrenched in their caves, bunkers, and pillboxes. To be sujected to this kind of murderous ordeal truly shows the bravery and heroic actions by these Marines, and every American today should be damn thankful for the sacrifices people like they and others made for them. Everytime I saw the photos of dead Marines in this book I just literally cried. I have never seen some of these photos, and seeing these young Marines laying in the waste of black lava as their final resting spots really got to me. Some never had a chance, others died weeks later after hard fought combat, and some like three of the flag raisers on Suribachi, never got to enjoy the fame and glory of their action. This is a great book, a sad book, but a book every American should read and look at. Eric Hammel did a masterful job of writing and organizing this book, and he did proud justice to all those brave Marines who fought and died on Iwo Jima. I highly recommend this book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark, spare, haunting, beautiful March 18 2007
By huckledude - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Hammel's text is spare but precise, and tightly interwoven with the photographs. It is difficult to exaggerate the quality of the photographs in this volume, which is beautifully produced and bound. The large format and glossy paper do justice to the photos. The extreme resolution and fine detail of the black & white photographs are breathtaking and haunting; use of a magnifying glass reveals the faces and expressions of men wholly consumed in, and being consumed by, their fearsome tasks. This is a work of beauty and awesome respect.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible achievement Dec 14 2006
By T.S. Fischer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is so incredible that Zenith Press and Eric Hammel should win an award for it. The photos collected are hard to believe, as they capture the intense action like no other collection of war photos I have ever seen. The citations of the Medal of Honor winners are elegantly presented as well, adding even more depth to the captions and text supplied by the author. I saw it in a bookstore with the metallic words shining on the black cover, and I thought it looked more like a beautiful memorial marker, and not just a book. The photographs have been laying dormant for more than half a century and suddenly the Marines that fought those 30+ days are right in front of you in the heat of the battle. Absolutely excellent.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' for any serious military collection. Nov. 6 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Plenty of books have been written on one of the bloodiest wars Americans have ever encountered, but none hold the visual impact of IWO JIMA, which pairs vintage black and white photos with a 'you are there' history of events during the battle, during which hundreds of rockets and bombs hit virtually any spot on the island. Eric Hammel is a military historian who has collected many previously unpublished photos of Marines in action and combat: IWO JIMA is a historically significant, major release and a 'must' for any serious military collection.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch

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