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Eastwood's Iwo JimaCritical Engagements with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima$
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Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165655

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165655.001.0001

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Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself

(p.1) Introduction
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Rikke Schubart

Anne Gjelsvik

Columbia University Press

This book examines two films directed by Clint Eastwood, both in 2006: Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. The two films are about the battle over Iwo Jima in 1945 during World War II. Eastwood touches us so deeply with his compassionate portrayal of soldiers, be they American or Japanese. Flags of Our Fathers traces the history of the men in arguably the most famous photograph in history, Joe Rosenthal’s “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” which in the West stands for victory, unity, and democracy. Letters from Iwo Jima traces the almost forgotten history of the ingenious defense of Iwo Jima by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who turned a battle expected to last five days into the bloodiest battle of World War II, lasting thirty-six days. Wanting to deconstruct the “rainbow of feeling and thought” in Rosenthal’s photograph, Eastwood looks for the tragedy of the battle of Iwo Jima, which claimed 6,821 American lives and 19,217 casualties, the highest in World War II.

Keywords:   war film, Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Iwo Jima, World War II, soldiers, Joe Rosenthal, military history, Tadamichi Kuribayashi

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