Making the Corps
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Making the Corps

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  977 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The bestselling, compelling insider’s account of the Marine Corps from the lives of the men of Platoon 3086—their training at Parris Island, their fierce camaraderie, and the unique code of honor that defines them.

The United States Marine Corps, with its proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 2nd 1998 by Scribner (first published 1997)
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Chris Linzey
This book was simply "ok". There were moments when I thought, "This book is good." Those moments vanished too quickly. Ricks is a fine writer when he is telling the stories of the Marines - their lives before, during, and after Basic Training. Too frequently the author jumps on little rabbit trails and delves into the world of politics, military strategies, and outright comparison of the different services.

He is clearly biased towards the Marine Corps and says some things that are not only unfl...more
Juli
This book was truly amazing for me. My mom gave it to my dad for Christmas, and he read it in less than two days. It's the first non-firefighting education-related or Mason-related book he's read since a true account of one of the FDNY units that responded first to 9/ll. I picked up the book after coming back from vacation, and it's given me extra insight to my father's military career, and especially his boot camp experience, which is kind of the only part of his past he doesn't ever talk about...more
Christina
I don't know much about the military, but I'm curious and wanted to know more about it so I read this book. It was a really interesting account of a platoon's experience in Marine boot camp, also filled with broader discussion about the role of the military and Marines in particular. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the Marines now, although this book is a little outdated now. It was written in the mid 1990s so a lot of the author's conclusions/musings felt inapplicable given ho...more
Heather
When I was in college my dad was stationed at the US Embassy in Cairo and the Marine Security Guards posted there became dear friends of mine. One of them recommended this book to me as a pretty good representation of what USMC basic training is all about. I don't remember details, but I remember finding it to be a good and entertaining read. As a military child myself, I've always had respect and admiration for the training these men and women undertake and the oaths they take to protect. This...more
Jerome
I went to MCRD San Diego 9-1-54. Things were a lot different back then. We had one black kid and about 6 Latinos. No one with a police record of any kind was allowed in then. Boot camp was 10 weeks which included 2 weeks at camp Mathews, the rifle range. After 20 days leave EVERYONE went to camp Pendleton, tent camp 2, for advanced infantry training which lasted about two months. From there we were sent to Staging Regiment, main side Pendleton, and about two weeks later we were on a ship bound f...more
Joseph Stieb
Although it's dated in some ways, I thought this was a fascinating book. Ricks blends two stories together. First, he follows the entire process of one platoon becoming Marines from their decisions to sign up through their training and on to their first deployments. Second, he explains the culture and recent history of the Corps. The first part was interesting because everyone likes reading about military training, especially for the rough and ready Marines. However, the second part really made...more
Nomad
I went thru Boot Camp in 1967 Platoon 3006. Thirty years later I read this book about Platoon 3086. I am sadden by the lack of values and morals of the young men coming into platoon 3086....but am happy that the Marine Corps now teaches them the Values of the Corps and they understood how important those values are and how lacking they are in todays society. I will always be a Marine...God Bless those young men and the Marine Corps.
Lisa
Since my son is currently in Marine boot camp this was both disturbing and helpful. I now know some things I wish I didn't know, but also have information that will help me understand what he's been through.
Austin Carroll Keeley
A terrific look at the culture and indoctrination of the Marine Corps. Ricks uses the Marines holds up the Marines as an insular organization which foreshadows the future of the American military. Written in 1996/97 the book was fairly prescient (i.e. small wars will dominate the future, the civilian military divide will hurt the country but continue to grow). It's a great read for those interested in joining the military and for anyone who wants to better understand what drives the engine of th...more
Taryn Brittany
Making the Corps follows a platoon of young men through Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and provides insight into the process of becoming a Marine. Ricks describes day-to-day life at boot camp in great detail and gives readers an in depth look at the transformation that occurs within each recruit during those grueling weeks. I was surprised to learn how much emphasis was given to imparting the values, traditions, and culture of the Marine Corps at boot camp—it’s not just...more
Lizabeth Tucker
The author was a reporter who found himself intrigued and fascinated by the Marines he had met during his time covering the first Gulf conflict. Wanting to know more, from how the Corps turned themselves around after the scandals of the 1970s and early 1980s, to how they are the most respected of the military branches, to how they turn borderline recruits into Marines, he follows a group of men through basic at Parris Island. We hear in their own words why they are there, what their backgrounds...more
Kevin
A gripping and extremely accurate portrayal of the process of making a Marine. The recruits in this book went through boot camp about 2 years or so before I did. I just recently read this and I must say that it is extremely true to life; capturing not only the feelings and emotions of being subjected to the physical, mental, and emotional stresses of boot camp itself but also the passions and convictions that drove these men and women to become Marines in the first place. Ricks does a great job...more
Jeff
This is the second of Thomas Ricks' books I have read. The first, Fiasco, is a tremendous book, a combatant's indictment of a command structure that is doing no favors to the the soldiers under it. This book is about a boot camp platoon on Parris Island undergoing basic training.

Ricks is not, so far as the biographies in his books tell us, a soldier, but he has a large degree of empathy for soldiers, and especially for Marines. He doesn't mistake politics for caring for soldiers, and in fact doe...more
Joshua
I loved this book that takes an in depth look into Marine culture that is the boot camp experience. I saw FULL METAL JACKET in 1987 when it came out and R. Lee Ermey's performance as the DI is one of the most riveting on screen characters I've ever seen. I always wanted to read in detail what going through boot camp is like and thanks to Ricks--that's accomplished.

I've never been in the military--frankly not sure how I'd handle it especially the intensity of the Marine boot camp where the main...more
Karen
Following one platoon through their boot camp experience at Parris Island, author Ricks is thorough, hard-hitting and still full of admiration for the Marine Corps. He gives a lot of the history of the Corps, not only battles and missions, but the struggle for funding, the changes in leadership, the political maneuvering, etc. An interesting facet of his work is that he researched the backgrounds of many of the recruits of that platoon, and continued to follow them afterwards as they progressed...more
Bob Reutenauer
Ricks is one of the best journalists covering military affairs, on the field of battle, around the Pentagon, and for his first book he went through boot camp with a Marine Corp training group at Parris Island. This is his account of those 11 weeks. Spartan glory meets Full Metal Jacket insanity meets I'd be willing to "give it the old college try." .. anything to imagine I could get into shape again.

Serious book.. I learned a lot about the Marine Corp.
Vivek
Journalist Thomas Ricks observes a platoon of men who want to become enlisted Marines go through their boot camp on Parris Island. Marine boot camp has changed in the 15 years since he wrote the book, but I thought the most valuable aspect of the book was Ricks' look into the culture of the Marine Corps and his meditation on civil-military relations. Even given how good that was though, you can't help but feel like the book is out-dated, as it is written in an immediately post-Cold War, decidedl...more
Jennifer
This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the making of a Marine and the instillation of Marine culture in these very special people. I work with veterans, and to date have only worked with one Marine but it was evident to me that this person was very different from other soldiers. When I asked soldiers from other branches ant the Marines they confirmed my perception that these soldiers were wired a bit differently. I found this book very helpful to understand more about the culture of the Mar...more
Marcie
I'm only half-way through at this point, and I already give it 5 stars. I think I love the statistics and macro view even more than the individual stories of the young men in Platoon 3086 going through basic training. This is a fascinating account of how the Marines Corps takes fat kids, potheads, and gangbangers and turns them into U.S. Marines. It's a chilling first-hand testimonial on American society (and condemnation) for those who want to see it, brought to you courtesy of the me-generatio...more
Alan
Focused on a platoon at Parris Island basic training, with some follow up. Interesting. 20 years old. I'm not sure how different it would be today.
sckenda
This book follows recruit of Platoon 3086 through Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina, and the drill instructors who instill in them the principles of discipline, teamwork, and commitment. Ricks also examines changes in recruit training and how the Corps deals with critical social and political issues like race relations, gender equality, and sexual orientation, as well as the growing divide between the military and the rest of America. As the author follows these men from th...more
Alice
It was hard for me to rate this book- in the end I decided on 4.5 stars. The first two/thirds was exactly what I was hoping for. An in depth glimpse into what it means to be a Marine and what happens during boot camp at Parris Island. The last part though took a hard turn and turned into a hard, clinical look at the divide between the military, specifically the Marines, and civilians.

A lot of good points were made, but as this book was written pre-9/11 I don't feel a lot has relevance nowadays....more
Lenny
Excellent narrative of indoctrination in 11 weeks of boot camp in the Marines.
Kevin Metcalfe
An extremely interesting look at what goes into the making of a Marine.
Colleen
I bought this book as a gift for a Marine friend and ended up reading it myself. This book is a eye-opening introduction to the uninitiated and does a wonderful job of showing how modern Marines are molded during training. Ricks does a masterful job explaining the complex process of shaping disparate young men into a cohesive fighting unit. I highly recommend this book if you have Marine friends and want to gain some insight into their attitudes and values.
Katherine Merseth
Having many US marine friends has made me fascinated by their unique culture... This book helps to explain why they are the way they are!
Leela
Nov 15, 2007 Leela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone curious about the process of creating a Marine
Shelves: ministry, educational
I'm not much for the military as an institution, but I was glad to read this book. Certainly it's a bit out of date (there is a newer edition with a new afterward, but that's not the copy I have) but the information, the clear picture of the process and of the men involved, is interesting and compelling reading. I was surprised, but I had a hard time putting it down. If you're anti-military or anti-war prepare to have your mind stretched.
Rhonda
This book was fascinating to me! It follows one Marine recruit platoon through boot camp and also fills in what happened to some in the following year--desertions, promotions, courtmartials, etc. It's nonfiction and there are photos of the recruits and drill sargeants the author is writing about. I have a real respect for the military, but if I had my like to do over again, this book would make me want to be a marine.
D P
Excellent read if you've ever been remotely interested in the backstory of the Marine corps. It was an accessible story with a built-in narrative following a fresh unit from knuckleheads to officers on Parris Island, an insider's view of barracks and mess halls. It gave me a clearer perspective on the will it takes to transform the self from a civilian into a soldier. In short, this book was aces.
Tk Uhrich
Awesome book. It starts to stray from its purpose towards at times and becomes somewhat of a history book, but always to inform on what is going on in the life if the platoon and its drill instructors. A must read for anyone who is thinking about joining the Marine Corps, has loved ones at Recruit training, or has any interest in Marine Corps History and what separates them from the other branches.
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