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The Battle for Iwo Jima 1945 Paperback – Feb 2007


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"In the beginning, Iwo Jima was just an unknown island in the north Pacific Ocean. In the end, it was to become the island of death." That grim but accurate appraisal begins The Battle for Iwo Jima: 1945, a blow-by-blow eyewitness account of one of World War II's most critical--and bloody--conflicts, what author Derrick Wright (A Hell of a Way to Die) describes as "the greatest battle in Marine Corps history."

By 1945, Iwo Jima had become a linchpin of enormous tactical importance. Victory in Europe was all but assured, and the largest navy ever to set sail had chased Japan's Imperial fleet back to its native shores. But Iwo Jima remained a persistent thorn, giving Japan hours of warning for air raids and allowing Japanese fighters to harass B-29 bomber routes. The Americans were forced to take Iwo Jima, and the Japanese command knew it--and even though they couldn't hold the island, they were determined to make the U.S. pay dearly. "[F]orewarned of the American invasion and resigned to dying at their posts, [the Japanese] were determined to take as many Marines with them as possible. 'Do not plan for my return,' wrote the commander of the island, Lt. Gen. Kuribayashi, in one of his last letters to his wife."

Wright gets on the ground, down and dirty, covering both sides of the conflict, interviewing survivors from both sides, excerpting official documents and letters (including Kuribayashi's), digging up previously unpublished photos, and giving intimate tooth-and-nail (and often grisly) accounts of every engagement, from prelanding prep to D day to D+36. An excellent and engaging piece of work, with enough sketches, maps, photos, and command structure org charts to satisfy the most serious military history buff. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

DERRICK WRIGHT'S interest in the Second World War was stimulated by the many Luftwaffe bombing raids on his native Teesside. He is the author of Tarawa: A Hell of a Way to Die (Windrow & Greene, 1997). Married, with four daughters, he lives on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors.

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Why take Iwo? Aug. 30 2001
By George G. Kiefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once the Marianas fell, the U.S. wasted no time in building five airbases there in order to send the Superfortresses, the B-29s, over the Japanese home islands to bomb factories and large cities. On Iwo Jima, the Japanese maintained an airbase and a radar system. Situated half way between the Marianas and Japan, Japanese fighters were sent aloft to harass the B-29s both coming and going on their runs. The radar afforded the enemy a two-hour advance warning of the bombing raids. Iwo was taken to put an end to this and to provide a refuge for our damaged bombers on the return run. From now on, our own fighters from Iwo would accompany the big planes on the last leg of their flight.
In this relatively small book, Derrick Wright does not waste a word. In less than 200 pages he tells in great detail of the struggles of the three Marine Divisions which took this island. He also does justice to the strategy and leadership of General Kuribayashi, the commander of the Japanese forces. Taking a lesson from the earlier amphibious assaults, he adopted a defense in depth rather than attempt to defeat the enemy at the beach. Forbidden as well were the useless banzai attacks. Instead he would concentrate on attrition, forcing the Marines to pay heavily for every bit of ground gained. He oversaw the construction of dozens of subsurface blockhouses, bunkers and a labyrinth of underground fortifications, many connected by tunnels. Once again, Howlin Mad Smith comes under criticism, this time for refusing to send in the 3rd Regiment of the 3rd Division when casualties ashore had soared. If the book has a fault, it is the too kind treatment of H. M. Smith. The Marines suffered 5,885 dead and 17,272 wounded. The Navy lost 881 men and another 1,917 wounded. Japanese death toll has been calculated at 21,060. 27 Medals of Honor were awarded at Iwo and Wright tells each story briefly in an appendix.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Another look at bloody Iwo... Jan. 25 2002
By William E. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Derrick Wright lives in England, and so his way of viewing the Iwo Jima fight has a slightly different tone than the two best books by Americans, Bill Ross's "Legacy of Valor" and James Bradley's "Flags of Our Fathers." I don't feel comfortable saying that I "enjoyed" any of these three books on the battle...the fight was too costly in American lives, and too horrifying, to use the word "enjoy." My former father-in-law was there, and is quoted in Wright's book briefly. This is a worthy effort, and surprisingly, although I read all three of the books I mentioned in the same year, each is different enough from the others so that I did not feel I was reading the same book three times at all. The current price on this book seems a little high to me, however, and I would suggest buying "Legacy" or "Flags" first. In all the Iwo books, the dominant impressions one is left with are of courage, grace under fire, stress, fear, tension, endurance, and the ugliness of violent death on both sides. If you want to begin to understand U.S. Marines, and to value them, start with the books on Iwo Jima. Imagine yourself, at l8 or 20 years old, having to face what these guys faced when hitting the beaches. Don't be surprised if you have nightmares after reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent history of the battle for Iwo Jima July 18 2012
By G. Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've only recently become interested in reading about WW2 and have been chugging through the books on the battles for the Pacific. My favorite is still With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa as while it doesn't cover the big battle plans of the generals it's account puts the reader right in the trenches, on the beaches gore and all. Yes "With the Old Breed" gave me nightmares for a bit. This book while detailing the battle and the death and distruction somehow does not feel quite as "in your face" or maybe I'm more numb. I did learn a lot about the whole Pacific war strategy from this book, and that makes is easier to read and think about.

This is my first book on the battle for Iwo Jima and as such I found the beginning with the overview of why we fought for this island very informative. The book covers the defensive plans of the Japanese, the offensive plans of the Americans, the disaster that befell both sides, the Japanese were not really prepared for the Marines to keep going in the face of death, as well as the tanks, and Navel shelling. And in fact the book alludes to the Japanese general writing home to say he would hold the island as long as he could but that he knew it was hopeless to think of winning. In fact this battle could be considered in 20/20 hindsight to have motivated the USA to use an Atomic bomb on Japan rather than go through a land war with Iwo Jima levels of casualties. But again, the USA was firebombing Japan at the time and whether or not a protracted war would have been fought on Japanese soil with out using the A-bomb is pure conjecture on my part. For the Marines, they were not really ready for the battle for the last airfield. The land better suited the defenders, and yet it didn't seem reasonable to just let the Japanese hold that ground and wait them out. After all, eventually they would have run out of ammo and food and water.

I recommend this as a another good analysis of the battle.
Very Well Done Dec 25 2014
By eism - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Very well done book. Sometimes, books with personal remembrances can be difficult to follow. Not so in this case. Provides a good story with excellent information. Have read many books dealing with this battle. While not exhaustive, provides as clear information as any. The appendicies on Medal of Honor recipients and the flag raising are an added bonus. Easy to read. Would highly recommend.
I really did enjoy this book Oct. 6 2014
By Mr. Bubles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really did enjoy this book. It has great descriptions in it and how the Marines were. But I will suggest people to read LEGACY by ROSS if you want a more horrifying detail of this battle.


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