Part character study, part oral history, Iwo Jima Diary features the journal entries and cartoon drawings of former Marine Edward "Mort" Denell to dramatically illustrate his personal combat experiences during World War II. Denell's story begins in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. After working in a bomber plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Denell joined the Marine Corps in 1943. First trained as a paratrooper, he ultimately became a machine gunner with the 5th Marines. After additional training in Hawaii, he found himself on a troop ship heading towards Iwo Jima. To pass the time and to help maintain his sanity, Denell began recording his combat experiences in a small journal. Following the war, his journal sat in a closet and was ignored for over fifty years. At the age of 77, he was persuaded by his family to write down his experiences before they became lost forever. As he recorded his experiences, he began to draw, illustrating each episode. Seven years and over 300 cartoon illustrations later, his story was complete. It is a selection of these stories and drawings that form the basis of Iwo Jima Diary. Beginning with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and covering everything from hand to hand combat to a direct mortar hit that killed five other Marines in his foxhole, Iwo Jima Diary is a rare first-hand account of this pivotal World War II campaign. The story concludes with the withdrawal of the Marines from Iwo Jima, following thirty-six days of intense fighting that claimed the lives of over 6,000 Marines and 21,000 Japanese. Enhanced by combat footage supplied by the Marine Corps Archives--including newsreel footage of the invasion and the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi--Iwo Jima Diary is filled not only with the horrors of combat and almost unbearable hardships, but amusing moments as well.
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