Flyboys Book Review

''Flyboys'' is the latest example of how straightforward it is to be ambumelted by mainstream renowned culture. This book might have hit best-seller lists, but its popularity is no guarantee of the benign. Think of all the budding book lovers who raced out to read ''Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,'' only to be regaled via a gruesome showdvery own at the finish of the story. Think of the audiences that briefly made the hyper-gory ''Kill Bill: Vol. 1'' the nation's hottest movie, just to find that it had actually all the wit of a falling brick.

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And currently look at James Bradley's gung-ho armed forces background, in which the Greatest Generation takes to the skies over the South Pacific throughout World War II. It has actually all the earmarks of a nice gift for Dad: heroes, fighter planes, exceptional acts of derring-do. What is much less immediately apparent is that this book breaks the Hannibal Lecter obstacle in complying with its group of wholesome young pilots to their horrible fates.

As Mr. Bradley, author of ''Flags of Our Fathers,'' retransforms to the vicinity of Iwo Jima, he currently moves his attention to another small, strategic site of horrors: Chichi Jima, wbelow nine Amerihave the right to pilots were shot down. Eight came to be prisoners of the Japanese. One, lucky enough to be rescued, ended up being president of the USA. Mr. Bradley recruits previous President George H. W. Shrub in part of the telling of this story.

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''Flyboys'' begins through considerable pincluding around the background of Amerihave the right to connections via Japan, and with the occasional monstrous harbinger of what is to come. In generally hearty terms, Mr. Bradley additionally traces Japan's background through ''the marauding Russian Bear,'' maintaining that ''internally, the Russo-Japanese battle came to be to Japan what footsphere is to the College of Notre Dame.'' He additionally explores the pre-World War II Japanese atrocities in China. It was tbelow, he says, that the soldiers who would certainly torture Amerihave the right to captives learned the tricks of their profession.

''Soldiers chopped off so many heads that their arms prospered weak,'' writes Mr. Bradley about this campaign against China. At moments prefer these (and tright here are many kind of of them) ''Flyboys'' provides the unpreventable impression that such details are being offered up as much for entertainment value as for factors of conscientific research. Much of this account has actually a B-movie luridness that cheapens the events explained, even if the details are accurate: ''Then the general smacked the 2 helpmuch less boys, took a swig from a nearby sake bottle, and also exasserted, ''I feel good. I am revenging the enemy!''

As readers go on to recoil over the unusual ingredients offered to make sukiyaki on Chichi Jima, Mr. Bradley threats letting these hellish details obscure his book's bigger point. His emphasis on atrocities against those jingoistically named Flyboys is so sickening that extremely fundamental concerns nearly go unanswered. Why were the households of these pilots never before told what came to be of them? ''The marine guards told me,'' states a lawyer involved in battle crimes trials, ''the Navy didn't desire people ago home to recognize that their sons were consumed.''

What else went unremarked upon in Americans' perception of the Pacific war? It is below that Mr. Bradley finds material that is inflammatory, quite literally. He discusses the dropping of huge quantities of napalm on Japanese cities, noting that 99.5 percent of Toyama was damaged, and also that the variety of casualties from an intensive 1945 bombing raid on Tokyo got to nearly 100,000. He quotes Paul Fusoffer, the historian and also World War II veteran: ''The level to which Americans register shock and also extrasimple shame around the Hiroshima bomb correlates very closely through absence of information around the Pacific battle.''

The indevelopment was not specifically hidden; tright here are photographs right here of Tokyo nearly burned to the ground. But ''Flyboys'' says that the twin impacts of patriotism and also propaganda numbed Americans to the ramifications of such news.

These were times once newsreels might cheer over scenes of Japanese soldiers being killed. (''Bull's eye! And more Japs fulfill their ancestors. The show's over, boys.'') Life magazine can comfortably run a photograph captioned, ''Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Japanese skull he sent her.'' The book concludes that the killings of the pilots on Chichi Jima, but monstrous, cannot be dismissed as events following in a vacuum.

Still, it is hard to appreciate the gravity of Mr. Bradley's arguments while being steamrollered by his excitable pincreased. In language that would certainly offer Stephen King the vapors, he envisions civilian casualties of a battle raid: ''People's heads exploded in the heat, the liquid brains in their burst skulls bubbling an eerie fluorescence. The feet of the fleeing masses scrunched eyeballs that had actually popped from sockets under pressure.''