Flyboys - James Bradley


By James Bradley

  • Release Date: 2003-09-30
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 256 Ratings


Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers-Navy and Marine pilots sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there-were shot down. Flyboys, a story of war and horror but also of friendship and honor, tells the story of those men.
Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers-Navy and Marine pilots sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there-were shot down. One of those nine was miraculously rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine. The others were captured by Japanese soldiers on Chichi Jima and held prisoner. Then they disappeared. When the war was over, the American government, along with the Japanese, covered up everything that had happened on Chichi Jima. The records of a top-secret military tribunal were sealed, the lives of the eight Flyboys were erased, and the parents, brothers, sisters, and sweethearts they left behind were left to wonder.

Flyboys reveals for the first time ever the extraordinary story of those men. Bradley's quest for the truth took him from dusty attics in American small towns, to untapped government archives containing classified documents, to the heart of Japan, and finally to Chichi Jima itself. What he discovered was a mystery that dated back far before World War II-back 150 years, to America's westward expansion and Japan's first confrontation with the western world. Bradley brings into vivid focus these brave young men who went to war for their country, and through their lives he also tells the larger story of two nations in a hellish war.

With no easy moralizing, Bradley presents history in all its savage complexity, including the Japanese warrior mentality that fostered inhuman brutality and the U.S. military strategy that justified attacks on millions of civilians. And, after almost sixty years of mystery, Bradley finally reveals the fate of the eight American Flyboys, all of whom would ultimately face a moment and a decision that few of us can even imagine.

Flyboys is a story of war and horror but also of friendship and honor. It is about how we die, and how we live-including the tale of the Flyboy who escaped capture, a young Navy pilot named George H. W. Bush who would one day become president of the United States. A masterpiece of historical narrative, Flyboys will change forever our understanding of the Pacific war and the very things we fight for.


  • I get it. The world is evil.

    By ericandi
    I haven’t yet gotten to the main plot of this book, because for hundreds of pages the author goes on and on about the imperialist atrocities committed by every major country in the World, but mainly focused on those committed by the U.S. and Japan. The U.S atrocities against the Indians, Mexicans, and filipinos. Japan’s atrocities against China. The British, French, Dutch, and German atrocities against every country they colonized. I get it. The world is a very evil place and was especially so during the 19th and early 20th century when the world’s “civilized” countries were conquering/colonizing weaker nations. Obviously throughput history there have been many terrible atrocities committed by the U.S. as well as by most every powerful nation throughout history. But I thought this book was supposed to be about an amazing story of pilots during WWII in the Pacific War. I understand the need for a limitless back story on the U.S. and Japan, but I don’t need to read hundreds of pages about the many atrocities committed. A chapter or two would have sufficed.
  • Lazy author

    By Themyth316
    I opted to read "the imperial Cruise" prior to "Flyboys" I wanted to read more of Bradley's work after "flags of our fathers"! All I can say is the first 8 chapters of Flyboys is pretty much The Imperial Cruise word for word like it was copied and pasted. I recommend reading one or the other but don't spend money on both!
  • History comes alive

    By Long legion
    Very well written and researched, this book imparts facts that most Americans have never heard. It's also a very thought provoking book that looks at cultural differences as they related to strategies in the pacific campaign. Bradley included just enough biographical material on his fly boys that the reader is emotionally engaged with them. This is a fascinating book that will keep you interested all the way through. People like Bradley should be writing our nations high school history books. I would love to see him write on other historical times, the American Civil War, Vietnam, etc. When I first began the book I got to a few places which made me feel a bit "uncomfortable" as it "called the U.S. out" on some of our nations earlier policies. He was imparting the unfortunate truth but I wasn't sure if I thought it necessary.
  • Flyboys

    By Lo1234re
    Well researched, enlightening, provided a balanced approach to what war is. It gives a different perspective. Some of the data was a surprise, I was aware of the casualties of the atomic bomb but unaware of the firebomb campaign and it's devastating effect. Very we'll organized and easy to follow.
  • GREAT Read

    By SexyMexi7
    This is an awesome book. I love history and James Bradley truly did a wonderful job telling the lives and an eye opening fact on how horrendous war is. I couldn't put the book down. Looking forward to reading flags of our fathers next.
  • Wow

    By Scbroncos
    Amazing story that really makes you think
  • In-depth a little to much

    By Read the Sample 1st
    Its a great book but I feel like the author went out of his way on the main subject of this book. I was hoping for a story line about flyboys during the whole thing of battles and adventures but it seemed like every paragraph was met with 5 pages of interesting but unnecessary information. Great book but it sounds like the author needed more to write about and through some stuff in, its more like an encyclopedia than a story.
  • Fantastic

    By TotallyAwesDude
    Well written, bipartisan, open-minded, and deeply informative. This is the best book I have ever read. If WWII interests you, this is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed the history review of the U.S.'s exploration and interest in Japan in the 19th century as well as the varying Japanese perspectives on WWII in the Pacific theater. Thank you Mr. Bradley.
  • Flyboys

    By MJ265
    Well written. Very informative and interesting. It takes the reader beyond the war strategies, into emotional connections with the Flyboys.
  • Decent read

    By ReadSpeed
    Decent read about someone in the airforce.