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So Sad to Fall in Battle: An Account of War Based on General Tadamichi…
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0891419179, Paperback)The Battle of Iwo Jima has been memorialized innumerable times as the subject of countless books and motion pictures, most recently Clint Eastwood’s films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, and no wartime photo is more famous than Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning image of Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi. Yet most Americans know only one side of this pivotal and bloody battle. First published in Japan to great acclaim, becoming a bestseller and a prize-winner, So Sad to Fall in Battle shows us the struggle, through the eyes of Japanese commander Tadamichi Kuribayashi, one of the most fascinating and least-known figures of World War II.
As author Kumiko Kakehashi demonstrates, Kuribayashi was far from the stereotypical fanatic Japanese warrior. Unique among his country’s officers, he refused to risk his men’s lives in suicidal banzai attacks, instead creating a defensive, insurgent style of combat that eventually became the Japanese standard. On Iwo Jima, he eschewed the special treatment due to him as an officer, enduring the same difficult conditions as his men, and personally walked every inch of the island to plan the positions of thousands of underground bunkers and tunnels. The very flagpole used in the renowned photograph was a pipe from a complex water collection system the general himself engineered.
Exclusive interviews with survivors reveal that as the tide turned against him, Kuribayashi displayed his true mettle: Though offered a safer post on another island, he chose to stay with his men, fighting alongside them in a final, fearless, and ultimately hopeless three-hour siege.
After thirty-six cataclysmic days on Iwo Jima, Kurbiayashi’s troops were responsible for the deaths of a third of all U.S. Marines killed during the entire four-year Pacific conflict, making him, in the end, America’s most feared–and respected–foe. Ironically, it was Kuribayashi’ s own memories of his military training in America in the 1920s, and his admiration for this country’s rich, gregarious, and self-reliant people, that made him fear ever facing them in combat–a feeling that some suspect prompted his superiors to send him to Iwo Jima, where he met his fate.
Along with the words of his son and daughter, which offer unique insight into the private man, Kuribayashi’s own letters cited extensively in this book paint a stirring portrait of the circumstances that shaped him. So Sad to Fall in Battle tells a fascinating, never-before-told story and introduces America, as if for the first time, to one of its most worthy adversaries.
From the Hardcover edition.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:34 -0400)
Clint Eastwood was so moved by this account of the Japanese defence of Iwo Jima that he ended up making two films in 2006. FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the story of the US Marines who raised the flag on the island in what became the iconic photograph of the war with Japan. His other film, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is based on Kumiko Kakehashi's heart-rending story, EVEN THE GODS WOULD WEEP. Her account is based on the letters written home by the doomed soldiers on the island, mostly family men, conscripted late in the war. At the heart of the story is the maverick general Kuriyabashi, devoted family man, humanitarian, and brilliant commander and the first man on the island to know they were all going to die. He fought and died to delay the Americans for as long as he could. He knew that once the island fell, it would be used as an airbase by US bombers to strike at Tokyo.
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