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First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps
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First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  442 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Marine general Victor "Brute" Krulak offers here a riveting insiders's chronicle of U.S. Marines - their fights on the battlefield and off, and their extraordinary esprit de corps. He not only takes a close look at the Marine experience during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam - wars in which Krulak was himself a participant - but also examines the foundation on which the C ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 22nd 1999 by US Naval Institute Press (first published 1984)
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Joshua Greer
Jun 27, 2014 Joshua Greer rated it did not like it
A truly awful book in so many ways.

Extremely dry and poorly written, the book is a chore to read. I would have dumped it after the first chapter but it is required reading for Expeditionary Warfare School in the Marine Corps. Krulak has been involved in some historical moments but he focuses so much on names and dry details that the impact of what he is describing is lost. The sentence structure is often overly complex, bordering on run-on sentences; so much so that I wonder if he hired an edit
Jonathan Roberts
Aug 11, 2016 Jonathan Roberts rated it liked it
Dry, feels dated, however, there are some good bits and pieces to take away.
J. Gibson Hartley
Jul 09, 2016 J. Gibson Hartley rated it it was amazing
While Tomas Ricks gives the reader a deeper understanding of the Marine Corps and its unique culture through the story of a single platoon at Parris Island, Krulak delivers an extraordinary tour of history responsible for the Corps' culture we see today. This book is populated by the heroes of the Marines, both on and off the bullet-ridden battlefield: Vandegrift, Ellis, and Edson fighting for the institutional survival of the Corps, Higgins and Roebling with their amphibious assault vehicles, W ...more
Savannah Carpenter
Jan 25, 2016 Savannah Carpenter rated it liked it
With my brother recently becoming a US Marine, I have been interested in military books. Although this was not one of my favorite books, I did love reading a story based upon the Marines.
Jan 16, 2013 Nate rated it really liked it
A "must read" for all Marines, not just because it is on the Commandant's Reading List, but because it waters the roots of our Corps and underscores why throughout our storied history the accomplishments of the Corps supersede individuals. Full of eye witness perspective, this book added to my knowledge of the development of the amphibious assault mission which the Marines have only recently embraced as central to our role. Further, it suggests that our Marine Corps has become a metaphor for the ...more
Aug 13, 2014 Kb rated it really liked it
explains the building blocks of the Corps.
Rick Barcenas
Jun 23, 2008 Rick Barcenas rated it liked it
Ok, this was required reading for work. We get tons of USMC history in boot camp but what they don't tell you is how close the Corps has come to being dissolved even after out performing our Army in winning battle after battle, the hardest battle the Corps has fought was for it's right to exist.

Written by Chuck Krulak's dad, it give you a peek into what it was like fighting through the beltways of Congress for survival, and gave me a sly smirk when we remained untouched and defiant. Makes me pr
Sep 16, 2012 Burt rated it really liked it
This book should be a mandatory read for all new Marine Corps Officers at the Officers Basic Course and for any officers who have thus far made it to any career-level, Marine Corps professional development course but have somehow not yet read the book. As well, it should be mandatory reading for all career Marine and staff non-commissioned officers. It is one of the most historically significant books I have read about the missions, functions, and tasks of the United States Marine Corps.
Mar 22, 2008 Travis added it
This book is different than the title would suggest. While it does describe some of the conflicts in which Marines participated, these descriptions are used more to illustrate the development of the Corps' basic values.

They also hi-light how and why Marines have learned to improvise, overcome, and adapt. This book describes how a warrior service has sustained itself and ensured its survival, and in the process become the elite fighting force of the United States.
Aug 23, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
Amazing read. Part history, part account, this is a great book written by a man who was there. He includes some of the history of the Marine Corps, interwoven with his own personal experiences that include helping to develop amphibious warfare in the 1930's, to fighting World War II, to trying to save the Corps from restructuring, to Vietnam. Very enlightening and inspirational read. Currently the Commandant of the Marine Corps recommended book.
Keith Cavey
Oct 31, 2007 Keith Cavey rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fellow Marines/Military Buffs
It was an informative (albeit dry) read. A lot of interesting tidbits on the struggles and history of the United States Marine Corps. I found the political and bureaucratic parts to be a bit boring, which sadly makes up a large chunk of the book. Still, as a Marine it's good information on how we view ourselves, our duty, and our sister services...and how they view us.
Mar 06, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it
I read this as a U.S. Army officer getting ready to serve in a joint assignment with the Marine Corps. I found it a great resource to learn how the Marine Corps thinks and its history as a service. I recommend this book for anyone with a interest in military history or a curiosity about how the Marine Corps sees itself in the scope of the overall joint force.
Wachlin007 Hotmail
Feb 23, 2008 Wachlin007 Hotmail rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book helps explain why the Marine Corps is different than the Army. It shows how the Marine Corps has handled challenges in the past and also discusses problems that it will face in the future. The author was a Lieutenant General in the Marine Corps and his son went on to become the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
This was a very informative book.
Apr 24, 2012 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
This book is an interesting, introspective look at the tumultuous beginnings and history of the United States Marine Corps. It shines a not so favorable light on some of America's wartime icons and their distain for the Corps. A great book that I couldn't put down.

On the Commandants Professional Reading List for all Marines!
David Todd
Sep 04, 2012 David Todd rated it liked it
Brute Krulak was a very influential USMC officer from the 1920's-1960's. He had much to do with the development of the Higgin's amphibious assault boat and the doctrinal development of the use of military assault helicopters. His ideas about how to fight in Viet Nam might have led to victory if they had been followed.
Jan 03, 2014 Brendon rated it it was ok
The book was written in three sections. Once I was able to get pase the first sections about the politics I enjoyed the remainder of the book.
Jun 15, 2009 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: military
The Marine Corps has had to fight for its very existence over and over again. As long as we continue to keep our honor clean by doing what's right and locating, closing with and destroying the enemy with violence of action; the American public won't let us go.
Dec 05, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, owned
A worthwhile and enjoyable read for Marines/Marine Corps enthusiasts, Krulak shares stories of the Corps that are not often told, some of them from as he experienced them himself, all of them contributing to the legacy and culture of the Marine Corps.
Dec 10, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-library
I was surprised while reading this just how much the Corps had to fight to stay alive. Additionally, being a young person with no real knowledge concerning the Vietnam conflict this book whet my appetite to learn more about it.
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 16, 2014 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
Shelves: us-marines, history
A former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps writes about life in the Corps. He gives personal accounts of several incidents and wars as well as discussing the Corps fight for survival.
Brandon Baggett
Feb 06, 2010 Brandon Baggett rated it liked it
Shelves: marine-corp
Overall, it was dry, but there were some points when I saw that it was dead on with the definition of the Marine Corps. I did enjoy it =)
Gwen Burrow
Nov 09, 2013 Gwen Burrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
Story of the Marine Corps. Oorah.
Aaron Andrews
Jul 16, 2012 Aaron Andrews rated it it was amazing
Must read for all Marines!
Jun 10, 2008 Jamon marked it as to-read
Required reading for marines
Jun 11, 2009 Zachary rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Marines who have to read it, and military enthusiasts.
First of all I have to say that the only reason I read this book is because all Marines are required to and I would look like a total douche on any promotion boards I went on if I had not.
That said, this book was surprisingly entertaining for the simple fact that it was not written like the average military history book, but took a rather more conversational tone. The kind you would hear if you had bumped into the author, (Lt Gen Krulak) at a bar and got to hear a few hours worth of war stories.
Mait rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2016
David rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2016
Tucansam rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2016
Mark MacDougall
Mark MacDougall marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2016
Aahlya marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2016
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Military Professi...: First To Fight 2 54 Nov 30, 2012 06:14AM  
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