CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Author James Bradley, with son Jack, 10, greeted fans at a book signing for "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Fly Boys" Sunday at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center. CLICK FOR LARGE
Author Bradley diverts from war path
PLANTING a flag atop a hill is hard enough. Doing so with the Imperial Japanese army and navy trying to shoot you ratchets up the difficulty factor. Some of the American warriors who raised the flag on Iwo Jima lived, and some didn't, but all of them -- albeit in anonymity -- survived in a snapshot that became one of the most famous images in 20th-century history.
At least no one is trying to shoot you when you write a book. But there's also a sense of accomplishment when it's done. Ask James Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Flyboys: A True Story of Courage." He worked with Ron Powers on his first book, slogged it out alone on his second, and is now hard at work on his third, this time diverting from the familiar grounds of Iwo Jima and the Pacific War.
"Each book shows my development," mused Bradley, who was in town this weekend to sign books at Barnes & Noble. "If you read 'Flyboys,' you'll see the progress from 'Flags of Our Fathers,' and the next book will show more!"
His current project, "The Imperial Cruise," covers President Theodore Roosevelt's approach to Asia. It's set, he said, "on the 1905 cruise led by Secretary of War William Howard Taft with 23 congressmen and senators that sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii to Japan to Philippines to China to Korea back to San Francisco."
"Flags of Our Fathers" was made into a much-lauded film and Bradley thinks director "Clint Eastwood captured the emotional accuracy of the book."
But no military-themed film has done really well at the box office in the last couple of years, and "Flags" was no exception. "If I knew how to predict or interpret these things, I'd have a Beverly Hills mansion or a big office on Wall Street!" said Bradley.
As for Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" companion film, Bradley said, "It takes two to tango and it's brave of Eastwood to present both sides."
Film plans for "Flyboys"?
"It was purchased by Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks and they're developing it," said Bradley.
"The Pacific War is much more difficult to comprehend. It was a water war, the European conflict a land war. People can conceive of Paris to Berlin, but what about Eniwitok to Saipan?"