Cover: Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero, from Harvard University PressCover: Iwo Jima in E-DITION

Iwo Jima

Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674423329

Publication Date: 08/01/1991

300 pages

131 halftones, 4 line illustrations


Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

It is one of the virtues of this riveting book, co-written by a university professor and a museum curator, that it embraces rather than evades the multiple ironies, paradoxes and contradictions that cluster around a single snapshot of five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising a flag on a newly captured Japanese island near the ragged end of World War II. For, not surprisingly, the story of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima turns out to be the quintessentially American tale, underlining the virtues we prize and those we ignore, the competing lures of reality and illusion, and what happens when ghastly war and genuine heroism come face to face with a ravenous publicity machine and a country’s need for simple answers to painfully complex questions of national purpose and personal sacrifice. It is not a pretty picture… [Marling and Wetenhall have] told this cautionary tale with remarkable even-handedness and intelligence. The story they tell is not only fascinating, it points to a chilling moral about the continued necessity to be vigilant when governments prefer symbolism to truth.—Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall, two specialists on the social history of American art and architecture, examine the extraordinary career of the Rosenthal photograph and the de Weldon monument. They chose well, for as Iwo Jima amply documents, few symbols better illustrate the ambivalent and ever-changing American ideas about war heroism, patriotism and sacrifices… Intriguing.—Ronald Spector, The New York Times Book Review

There is a certain resonance in Iwo Jima.—Richard Severo, The New York Times

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.Library Journal

This gripping book has much to say about war symbolism in popular culture, overwrought patriotism and military valor.Publishers Weekly

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