Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment


The saga of the flags on Iwo Jima has fascinated America for decades. Hammel himself grew up in the company of WWII veterans and has always been intrigued by 'The Photo' of the flag, which became a powerful symbol of patriotism and national pride. But the story of how the flag got there, and even the identity of the soldiers in the photo, has been muddied by history. Eric Hammel here sets the record straight, viewing complex events through the lens of the story of the infantry company in which all the flag raisers served.

Joe Rosenthal's "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" photo is one of the best-known images of US war history. The photo captures the moment that the first American flag flew over the core of Imperial Japanese territory on the top of Mount Suribachi. The focus of this book lies on the 28th Marine Regiment's self-contained battle in February 1945 for Mount Suribachi, the 556-foot-high volcano on Iwo Jima. It was here that this one regiment defeated more than 1500 heavily armed Japanese combatants who were determined to hold the highest vantage point on the island.

Two Flags over Iwo Jima reveals the all-but-forgotten first-flag raising and the aftermath of the popularization campaign undertaken by the post-WWII Marine Corps and national press. Hammel attempts to untangle the various battles which lead up to the first and second flag raisings, as well as following the men of the 28th Marine Regiment in the events which took place after. Not only is the full story behind one of the most iconic photographs ever taken revealed, but also the real heroism and stories of the men behind this most fervent expression of American patriotism.


This book is for the person or persons that are truly interested in the story behind the two Flag being raised on Iwo Jima that day. That day is four days after the invasion. The author will take you behind the scenes into why it was and is important. Iwo being the first Japanese held soil that we raised the flag on. The reason why we felt it was necessary to take the island, for the length of it for B-29’s could land there too and from bombing raids being made on Japan. The hill 556 was taken and the first flag went up, but after it went up Lt. Colonel Chandler Johnson wanted that flag brought back down and a bigger flag put up instead. Men needed to retake the hill once again because of the interlocking tunnels that were placed prior to the invasion. Once the flag went a photo was taken by Joe Rosenthal and that photo is the one that would become famous. The first flag raising a Marine photographer Staff Sgt. Lou Lowery missed the raising of the flag because he was changing the film in his camera. He did take some photos of before and after. The author discusses what happens to some of the men and if they were wounded or killed in action. Any medals they were awarded and the citations along with them. The part of the book deals with some people who years ago because of the age of computers felt that it was necessary to try and get all of the people correct. At the end of the book, the author puts in the finding and recommendation of the Navy to have names change of the first photo and second. The author also speaks about why Mr. Bradley did not come forward and say he was not in the photo. First I would like to say that as a son of a WWII VET, we don’t know that he didn’t. At that time the U.S did need more money for the war and bond drive was down. This photo and anyway that they the government could put any kind of face with it was going to draw money which it did. Second Ira the Native American Marine did not want to leave his unit, his guys but was ordered to go back to the states, not to his home but on this tour. So I really don’t think it would have made a difference one way or another. Mr. Bradley along with the other two still was not able to return home until they the government said they were done, he did not get married until after he got home, and he never spoke about it again for as much as we know. I grantee you through any Marine who was there with Bradley and him seeing anyone from Iwo had a bound that know else could touch and that was more than having your name at the bottom of the photo. Like my father with the 82nd there was a special bond with the men he went into battle with and when he spoke about it a few times there was a different look in his eyes. Overall a good book if you don’t know the backstory about the Flag on Iwo and the brave men who stormed the black volcanic beach on Feb 19, 1945 – March 26, 1945. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

Collision of Wills: Johnny Unitas, Don Shula, and the Rise of the Modern NFL

COLLISION OF WILLS                                  JACK GILDEN

In their seven years together, quarterback Johnny Unitas and coach Don Shula, kings of the fabled Baltimore Colts of the 1960s, created one of the most successful franchises in sports. Unitas and Shula had a higher winning percentage than Lombardi’s Packers, but together they never won the championship. Baltimore lost the big game to the Browns in 1964 and to Joe Namath and the Jets in Super Bowl III—both in stunning upsets. The Colts’ near misses in the Shula era were among the most confounding losses any sports franchise ever suffered. Rarely had a team in any league performed so well, over such an extended period, only to come up empty. 

The two men had a complex relationship stretching back to their time as young teammates competing for their professional lives. Their personal conflict mirrored their tumultuous times. As they elevated the brutal game of football, the world around them clashed about Vietnam, civil rights, and sex. Collision of Wills looks at the complicated relationship between Don Shula, the league’s winningest coach of all time, and his star player Johnny Unitas, and how their secret animosity fueled the Colts in an era when their losses were as memorable as their victories


The author takes you back in time when the football was played by a different set of rules than what we are shown today. He does that while also describing what was going in our country at the time as well. Looking back I think they go hand in hand, for on Sunday’s we watched football at least I did with my father. Then during the week, we watched the Vietnam war or maybe riots going on somewhere else, or some important figure being killed, and then by the end of the 60’s walking on the moon. During all of this, the Green Bay Packers were winning, as were the Baltimore Colts. The Colts had Johnny U and he called all of his own plays and he could do no wrong on the football field, but all of a sudden they could not beat the Packers and most importantly they did not beat the Jets. For me, the sixties were a lot of things and one of them was football and the different leagues. The AFL was young and brash and threw the ball, and they had a guy named Namath and he was something and when the Jets beat the Colts the game of football was changed forever, but so was the Colts and Shula and Unitas. You are shown the history of the game Webb Ewbank who was the head coach of the Colts when they won the greatest game in 1958 and the championship in 59 would be fired years later and be hired by the Jets and yes be the coach to beat the Colts in another important game in football. Yes, Shula would be fired and then coach the Dolphins and would lead them to three straight Super Bowls winning two one is the perfect season. You get all of that backstory, plus the trade of franchises by Rosenbloom, who would take over the Rams and Robert Irsay would take over the Colts. Eventually, both franchises would end up moving. The Rams after Rosenbloom’s death which his children always thought was suspicious but could not prove anything. This is just a small part of this book and yes I knew some or most of it but it was a great read for me who remembers a different time and a different game than one that is being played today. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

Path of the Dead (Arthur Nakai Mysteries #1)

PATH OF THE DEAD                                      MARK EDWARD LANGLEY

Arthur Nakai is an ex-marine and ex-member of the Shadow Wolves, an ICE tactical unit recruited by the US Government to hunt human traffickers and drug smugglers on the US/Mexico border as part of Homeland Security. With that life behind him, he now lives with his wife, Sharon, as owner/operator of White Mesa Outfitters in New Mexico. Sharon, a KZRV-TV field reporter and weekend anchor, has flown to Belen, New Mexico, to cover the newest renovations to the Fred Harvey House, unaware that her path will soon cross with that of a serial killer who has just added to his list of young victims by brutally murdering sixteen-year-old Renee Braun earlier that morning. Arthur's life is shattered when acting Navajo Nation Police Chief, Jake Bilagody, makes a personal visit to White Mesa. Arthur learns that Sharon's cameraman was found strangled to death inside their news van and Sharon is missing. Meanwhile, the killer has already begun his journey north toward the Canadian Rockies with Sharon in tow. Together they meet up at a safe house with his lover, a woman whose dreams of a better life blind her to the evil that sits beside her until a twisted change of fate intervenes as an early winter storm begins to build. Arthur's search takes him into the majestic mountain ranges of Montana where he enlists the help of his friend and ex-Shadow Wolf, Abraham Fast Horse, a local Blackfoot outfitter. After receiving a phone call from a member of the Blackfoot Brotherhood, Arthur and Fast Horse track the killer to an unforgettable showdown. 


The title of this book changed on my kindle from “Navajo Wind” to “Path of the Dead”, and that is why it took me a while to find this book to read. Once I did I was put with a book that I did not want to put down until I got to the last page. You are taken on a journey from the person who is kidnapping and killing women, to the couple and their struggles from the past and for every day. That is until Leonard Kansewah, kidnaps Sharon Nakai who is a local news reporter. More importantly her husband Arthur is a retired Marine and was part of a special ops team shadow wolves. They were recruited by the Government to track drug smugglers, human traffickers, they worked with Homeland security and were an all Native American Indian unit because of their tracking abilities. Now seeing that the FBI has gotten nothing in the first few hours he decides to look into things himself. This is where the real story begins. You are taken on a journey through the west and through mostly Native American lands which only enhance this story. The story has suspense and mystery and will keep you hooked until the very end. A very good book. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

Up in Flames (Flirting with Fire #2)

UP IN FLAMES                                               JENNIFER BLACKWOOD

Sloane Garcia has butted heads with Reece Jenkins ever since he was a colossal jerk of epic proportions on a night she’d rather forget. So what if he’s overconfident, ultramasculine, and hard muscled? When she finds out he’s on the auction block at the annual firefighter’s charity event, she decides to give this cocky firefighter a dose of his own medicine. Now that she’s won the hunk, he’s on call—to do whatever Sloane wants.

Sure, Reece and Sloane had a rocky start, but he had his reasons. None of that matters now that he’s the bachelor at her beck and call, tasked with granting her four wishes in four weeks. He runs into burning buildings for a living, but nothing will be as tough as dousing the flames Sloane ignites in him. What started out as just a game might end up with Reece losing the one thing he swore he’d never give up: his heart.


The second book in the series but you don’t need to read the first one. In that one Reece Jenkins, a firefighter and has known Sloane Garcia for a long time. Took her home because she was drunk. What he said that night instead of just saying no to her come on is still pissing off Sloane months later. This always comes out when the two of them are together because she is his sister’s best friend. Now everyone around them is getting tired of their verbal banter when she goes to the fireman’s auction with her friend. She ends up winning the bid on Reece and he must do four tasked in four weeks. This starts off like they always do but slowly they begin to show their true feelings towards each other. When the chief of the firehouse receives an e-mail from Sloane, this puts Reece’s job in jeopardy. Now she is trying to fix it with the chief so she can have another chance with Reece. See what happens. A good story and fast read. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

Button Man

BUTTON MAN                                                 ANDREW GROSS

Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabinowitz grew up poor but happy in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris apprenticed himself at twelve years old to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to college and became an accountant; and Harry, the youngest, fell in with a gang as a teenager and can’t escape. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until he’s running the place and buys out the owner, and Sol comes to work with him. But Harry can’t be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that comes from working for mobster Louis Buchalter, an old bully from the neighborhood. And when Louis sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers’ factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, and puts brother against brother.


A story that was based on the authors’ grandfather and really could be anyone’s family who migrated to the U.S. and ended up in New York. Here you have a Jewish the Rabinowitz who is struggling like everyone else in the 20’s and 30’. Their struggle is deepened by the loss of their father in a fire and a brother in an accident in front of their apartment. Now Morris the younger brother leaves school and begins work with a clothing or garment factory. There he is taken in by the owner and his wife who help him learn the trade and are surprised by his natural talent. Sol the oldest brother becomes an accountant, and Harry the youngest who is tormented by the death of his twin turns to the underworld, but just the fringes. Now as you go through Morris has an opportunity to buy a and own his own garment factory and does so with his brother Sol. Harry meanwhile continues to struggle in finding his place. You are taken from the very highs of marriages, births of children expanding of business and also the time in New York when the mob was making its presence felt through strikes and strong-arm tactics with businesses. Morris and Sol finally have come under the when they took in Harry and now lost everything because of a fire. Morris is devastated and takes it out on Harry and it is not until he is killed and Morris is asked to come to prison to speak to his childhood friend Lepke that he finds out more and makes peace too late. A story that could be told by anyone from that period the author brings you back in time with words and brought me back to the stories of my father growing up in New York working in a shop sewing men’s hats, and also living in an orphanage. So this story made me think back to him and my family. A wonderful story. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

The Syndicate (The Pictures #2)

THE SYNDICATE                                            GUY BOLTON

June 1947

Eight years have passed since the events of The Pictures.

Jonathan Craine has left his old life in Hollywood behind him, content to live out his days on a farm in rural California with his teenage son.

But when infamous mobster and Las Vegas founder Bugsy Siegel is killed at his home in Beverly Hills, Craine is forced to face his past once again.

Summoned to Las Vegas to meet mob head Meyer Lansky, Craine is given the impossible task of finding Siegel's murderers. He has no access to crime reports, no police contacts and no one to help in his investigation other than an aging hitman and a female crime reporter with her own agenda. But Lanksy's orders aren't to be ignored; if Craine can't find Siegel's murderers in five days, he and his son will both be killed.


This book opens with the killing of Bugsy Siegel. You are then taken to a farm in upstate California where a man Jonathan Crane is forced to go to Vegas where there he is given the tasked by Myra Lansky to solve the killing in five days. Going back to L.A. where he once worked for L.A.P.D. but really was a fixer for the studios. Now dealing with a police captain that does not want to help he must find someone else. That person is a crime reporter Tilda Conroy. He also has a guy sent with named Abe who follows him around. He starts putting pieces together only to find out that the FBI agent in charge is holding out with evidence. You also get a look at Hoover's look into Hollywood stars through an investigation called HUAC, The House Un-American Committee which was looking into communism in Hollywood by actors, writers, directors, mainly a witch hunt that started shortly after WWII. The author keeps the story going along with Crane wanting to find the answers so he can save his son. You as the reader are taken through L.A. greed, wealth of Hollywood, the mafia and corruption of both the L.A.P.D and the F.B.I. A good story that keeps your attention from beginning to the end. With good characters, and good descriptions of old L.A. a very good book. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

America's Sweetheart (Real Love #5)


Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .


A story that begins with two people talking about the future while they are in college and Allison telling Jackson that there is a change in the plans. She is going to California for the summer to intern for her aunt and then come back. That come back home is ten years later, and is after her picture is all over the rags with her looking like she is trying to steal an Oscar from a party she went to with her so-called boyfriend. Now leaving L.A. she is supposed to be at a rehab place instead she decides to go home. Home in Ohio and at her home is Jackson Burke, who was hired to remodel her parents’ bedroom and deck. Also, they are gone on vacation, she, of course, knows none of this. The last person she expects to see is the first person she does and that is Jackson. The story from there works through both of their issues from the past and you find out that really neither one of them has been able to move forward with anyone else. Allison finds Jackson as the only real person she has dealt with in years and Jackson realizes that she is the one. When he tells her she is shocked and does not know if it is for all of the cameras that were there or if it was real. Now find out what really happens by reading this wonderful story. The other characters in the book are good as well. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment

TWO FLAGS OVER IWO JIMA                       ERIC HAMMEL The saga of the flags on Iwo Jima has fascinated America for decades. Hammel h...