December 19, 2003


the mind for battle (The Baltimore Sun, Dec 18, 2003)

On the theory that preparing the mind for battle is as important as preparing the body, the top officer in each service provides a reading list of recommended books for enlisted personnel to commissioned officers. The Marine Corps, which for many Americans has the image of being the toughest of the tough, offers the most extensive reading list, with about 175 books divided among each rank. [...]

Following is a sampling of books from the list of recommendations by Marine Corps rank, compiled by Tom Bowman, The Sun's military affairs reporter.

Private, private first class, lance corporal

Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein. A recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe - and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind's most frightening enemy.

The Bridge at Dong Ha, by John Grider Miller. On Easter morning 1972, Marine Capt. John Ripley, the sole U.S. adviser to the tough 3rd Battalion of the South Vietnamese marines, braved intense enemy fire to blow up a bridge and stop a major invasion from the north. [...]

Brigadier general through general

The Best and the Brightest, by David Halberstam. The story of how the U.S. got involved in Vietnam through the "best and brightest" policymakers appointed by John F. Kennedy.

Maverick Marine: General Smedley Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History, by Hans Schmidt. A two-time Medal of Honor recipient, Butler, beginning in 1898, served on American foreign military expeditions from Cuba to the Philippines, China, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France and China. After a rescinded court-martial and premature retirement in 1931, he renounced war and devoted his energies to causes ranging from labor unions to the anti-war movement of the 1930s.

What exactly are they trying to tell the Generals?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2003 9:16 AM

"What exactly are they trying to tell the Generals?"

Never trust the politicians,of course.
Something police officers have also learned in the last decade.

Posted by: M. at December 19, 2003 11:16 AM

I hope that Sledge's "With the Old Breed" is in there someplace.

And Guy Sager's "Soldier."

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 19, 2003 3:32 PM

The article is referring to an old list. Recommended readings by rank were eliminated a few years ago. They now list readings by topic.

The complete old list by rank can be found here:

The latest Marine reading list is here (currently 186 titles):

Posted by: Tom L at December 19, 2003 3:48 PM

Both of 'em are there! Gung ho!

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 19, 2003 11:08 PM