For nearly 50 years myth has surrounded the American flag raisings on Suribachi. This book presents the first complete and accurate account of those controversial events. The battle for Iwo Jima was a classic, seminal event of World War II, and Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the second flag raising on Mt. Suribachi remains the war's most famous icon.
On February 23, 1945, an Associated Press photographer captured the image of six brave men raising the American flag at the windy peak of Mount Suribachi on the coveted island of Iwo Jima. Little did the photographer or the men in the photograph know that they were immortalizing themselves as part of a national icon. To millions of Americans, that image has become the ultimate symbol of American victory and patriotism. To the men who fought amid the volcanic ash and clandestine caves of Suribachi, this inspiring image has become tainted by embellished stories, distorted realities, and nagging questions about the flag-raisings. Why were there two flag-raisings? Who were the men who raised the flags? What were the battle conditions really like for the Marines as they climbed the pinnacle of Suribachi? Were the flag-raisings intentionally staged propaganda ploys designed to pacify a hungry press and soothe an anxious American public on the home front?
At last the myths of 50 years are dispelled in Shadow of Suribachi, the only comprehensive, accurate account of the flag-raisings on Iwo Jima. The men who conquered the mountain tell their story through letters, interviews, and poignant recollections. For the first time in decades, Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer who took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo offers a detailed account of his experiences on the island. Rare photos by other photographers, some previously unacknowledged, lend further credibility to this study of an event that became part of a classic World War II battle. In bringing truth to a momentous historical event, Albee and Freeman give long overdue recognition to the gallantry of thousands of unheralded men who made the flag-raisings on Suribachi possible. Of equal importance, this book inspires a new appreciation for an image forever emblazened in the minds of millions.
About the Author:
PARKER BISHOP ALBEE, JR., is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine./e He holds a Ph.D. in history from Duke University.
KELLER CUSHING FREEMAN is a free-lance writer, editor, and former professor. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Georgia.