The Lions of Iwo Jima

Major General Fred Haynes (USMC-ret) and James A. Warren

Henry Holt and Co.

The Lions of Iwo Jima tells the full story of one of the greatest units fielded in the history of the U.S. Marines. Combat Team 28, 4500 men strong, trained for a full year, landed on the black sands of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, and raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi after four days of ferocious combat. Major General Fred Haynes USMC (Ret’d), then a young captain, is the last surviving officer in CT28 intimately involved in planning and coordinating all phases of the Team’s fight on Iwo Jima. Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped documents, personal narratives, and letters, in addition to more than 100 interviews with survivors, Haynes and Warren recapture in riveting detail what the Marines of Combat Team 28 experienced, placing particular emphasis on the Team’s ferocious struggle to break through the main belt of the Japanese defenses to the north, and reduce the final pocket of resistance on the island in Bloody Gorge.

The Lions of Iwo Jima offers fresh interpretations of the fight for Suribachi, the iconic flag raising photo, and the nature of the campaign as a whole, and helps to answer the essential questions: Who were these men? What accounts for their extraordinary performance in battle?


Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION Many military historians today regard the attack on the island fortress of Iwo Jima as the supreme test of the amphibious assault in the annals of war. Three reinforced divisions of Marines and their supporting forces, some 110,000 men in all, not counting the massive numbers of men manning the ships and planes surrounding the island, assaulted the Japanese on February 19, 1945. From its formal inception in October 1944, the operation to wrest Iwo Jima from its defenders was considered by American planners to be potentially the most difficult mission in the 170-year history of


Praise for The Lions of Iwo Jima

“General Haynes and James Warren have written a brilliant firsthand account of the legendary battle that defined the US Marine Corps. As a student of the battle who has walked the black sand beaches of Iwo many times, I was fascinated by the detail and riveting description of every action. This is a must read for all those who want a grunt's eye view of fierce combat in an epic battle.”—General Anthony C. Zinni USMC

"This is the most comprehensive documentary of the battle for Iwo Jima. History has yet to understand the immense implications this epic struggle had for the strategic air campaign that finally broke the will of Japan's leadership. The vivid personal accounts of Fred Haynes and others make it a living history that is both painful to read and inspiring to contemplate."—Jack Lambert, author The Pineapple Air Force: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo

“In 1945 my father John Bradley and other members of Combat Team 28 raised a flag on Iwo Jima.  General Fred Haynes is the highest-ranking surviving officer from that heroic unit. In 1945 General Haynes helped America place a flag atop Mt. Suribachi.  Now with The Lions of Iwo Jima, he helps America understand how it was done.”—James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys

The Lions of Iwo Jima captures in stark detail the incredible trial by fire of Combat Team 28 in the Marine Corps’ most challenging battle of the Pacific War. It shows what Americans can do when the chips are really down.”—Dan Rather

The Lions of Iwo Jima tells the full story of the unit that raised the flags on Mount Suribachi in powerful, brooding detail. Certainly one of the best books ever written about Iwo Jima—and about the experience of war at ground level.”—Clint Eastwood, director of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

“This riveting and memorable account of the horrors and heroics of Iwo Jima is much more than another war story. It is about courage, grief, sacrifice and, most of all, about honor.”—Tom Brokaw, NBC News

The Lions of Iwo Jima is a powerful, gut-wrenching account of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. A tale of courage, heartbreak and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity, this outstanding book is also a reminder that we must never forget that the price of war is paid for by the sacrifices of gallant warriors like those of Combat Team 28.”—Carlo D'Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life

“In this intense, moving account, the authors bring the reality of the fighting on Iwo Jima to readers . . . The harsh face of war in the Pacific theater has rarely been portrayed so effectively.”—Booklist

“An extraordinarily absorbing account . . . [Haynes and Warren] write with skill and passion.”—Leatherneck

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Major General Fred Haynes (USMC-ret) and James A. Warren

  • Major General Fred Haynes USMC (Ret’d) commanded a combat team during the Vietnam war, and as a colonel, was the top operations officer of all Marine forces in that conflict in 1967. As a general officer, he went on to command both the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions. He is a contributor to The Marine Corps Gazette and The Naval Institute Proceedings, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is chairman emeritus of the American Turkish Council. He lives with his wife, Bonnie Arnold Haynes, in New York City.

    James A. Warren is the author of a highly acclaimed history of the U.S. Marines from Iwo Jima to Iraq, American Spartans, and Portrait of a Tragedy: America and the Vietnam War. A contributor to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, he lives in Narragansett, Rhode Island.






    Available Formats and Book Details

    The Lions of Iwo Jima

    Major General Fred Haynes (USMC-ret) and James A. Warren



    Henry Holt and Co.