Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This study is basically about the legendary WW II battle of Iwo Jima as symbolized by Joe Rosenthal's immortal photograph of the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi. It is also about the fighting men who participated in reenacting the flag-raising for Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, particularly Navy corpsman John Bradley from Minnesota and Marine privates Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes, from New Hampshire and Arizona, respectively. (Hayes, a Pima Indian, was tragically affected by the hype he was subjected to, a story given a new twist here.) Marling and Wetenhall also write about the politics behind the funding, construction and formal dedication of the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Va.--a gigantic, three-dimensional representation of the Rosenthal photo. Concluding with a moving account of the 1985 visit to Iwo Jima by American and Japanese survivors of the ferocious battle, this gripping book has much to say about war symbolism in popular culture, overwrought patriotism and military valor. Marling is an art history professor at the University of Minnesota; Wetenhall is a curator at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. Illustrated. (Aug.)
Library Journal
the American Hero. Harvard Univ. Pr. Sept. 1991. c.300p. permanent paper. photogs. index. LC 90-42283. ISBN 0-674-46980-1. $24.95. hist The Vietnam Memorial has received much attention in recent years from critics, scholars, and the public. Wetenhall and Marling, herself author of an essay on the Vietnam wall and statue, examine a previous generation's attention to building an earlier statue memorializing war. In their treatment, the monument based on a famous photograph taken of a flag raising during the bloody 1945 invasion of Iwo Jima serves only as the primary focus of an analysis of the American need to find or invent wartime heroes. The authors devote considerable attention to the controversy about the authenticity of the famous photo and the public obsession with the lives of the men pictured in it. They also highlight efforts of the U.S. Marines' leadership to use the Iwo Jima images to save their endangered service in the wake of the war, and of TV and filmmakers to capitalize on a screen version of the story. This is popular culture at its best, thoroughly enjoyable to read right down to the discussion of the statue's use in political cartoons and the final chapter on the 40th reconciliation reunion with the Japanese. Highly recommended.-- Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674469808
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.82 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Karal Ann Marling is Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota.

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