View Full Version : Truth in Flyboys (book) by James Bradley?

2008-Oct-03, 02:26 PM
Okay, so I was persuaded to read "Flyboys: A True Story of Courage" and am just getting through the first chapters. I realize that there is much more recognition of American war atrocities (WWII and before) now, but some of what he describes seems incredible... particulary his discussion on American expansion in the 19th century and the presentation of certain... native American anatomical parts... to crowds. Also his writings on the naval campaign to Chici Jima in the 1850s. Has anyone else read the book, and where can I find evidence to support what he has written? It's not that I disbelive it, but somehow it smacks of revisionism in ways, and I want to make sure of the facts.


2008-Oct-03, 03:22 PM
I read the book, but it's been too long for me to recall details.

I would think information on the individual events (e.g., Chici Jima) would be available online.

2008-Oct-04, 08:19 PM
Not really revisionism, just sloppy research and some real howlers. See this review: http://www.warbirdforum.com/flyboys.htm

2008-Oct-04, 08:25 PM
Thanks. That review confirms some of what I thought was going on. I'll have to decide if I will bother finishing it or not.


2008-Oct-05, 05:48 AM
I read this book too. The entire book.

I found the openning chapters an excuse for Japenese war crimes because they 1) learned it from the West (United States mainly) and 2) the US did it too.

There are some very good reviews of the book on amazon that discuss your concerns.

2008-Oct-05, 10:15 AM
Never read the book, never going to read it if I can avoid it.

There was enough atrocious acts done during the WW2 by all sides, no country that played that game is totaly without guilt in that area, so it may be a good thing to focus on Allied acts some times, but at least one should get ones facts as correct as possible.

Warren Platts
2008-Oct-05, 01:42 PM
From the cited review:

sure, the Japanese murdered a few prisoners, but what about Americans who sank Japanese transports, then machine-gunned the survivors in the water? To Bradley, these are similar atrocities, rather overlooking the fact that soldiers in the water haven't surrendered and will become combatants if they get ashore. Killing them wasn't pretty, but it wasn't a war crime.

Soldiers in the water swimming for their lives haven't surrendered? What about when the USS Wahoo torpedoed a troop ship filled with Allied POW's? They were waving their white t-shirts--and got machine gunned anyway. And it was all filmed--in color. Talk about friendly fire. . . .

No, I did read Flyboys, and I thought it was a great book.

captain swoop
2008-Oct-05, 09:38 PM
Japanese sailors and soldiers in the water had a habit of trying to kill anyone that attempted to rescue them. There are documented instances of Japanese survivors hammering on the hull of a ship trying to rescue them with cannon shells. Also if you sink a troop transport and the troops get ashore they will fight you.

As for 'friendly fire' In the Atlantic U-Boats developed a habit of sitting underneath the survivors from a sinking to protect themselves from Convoy Escorts. This was countered I am sad to say by running down and Depth Charging the sub at the cost of the men in the water.

If you disable an enemy tank and the crew bail out, do you let them run away or do you shoot them? if they run away they will come back and fight you in a new tank.

Now, if the Japanese soldiers had been rescued from the water and then shot out of hand after they had surrendered then you have a war crime.

2008-Oct-05, 10:40 PM
There are, and always have been, atrocities committed in EVERY war, by EVERY side since the dawn of time.