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

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  21 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, 252 pages
Published February 22nd 1999 by US Naval Institute Press (first published 1984)
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Nate
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
Rick Barcenas
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...more
Burt
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.
Travis
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.
Eric
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 2 of 5 stars 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.
Gallaghertm
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
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.
Nicholas
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
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.
Brendon Roach
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.
Eric
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.
John
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.
John Berry
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
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
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
Story of the Marine Corps. Oorah.
Aaron Andrews
Must read for all Marines!
Jamon
Jun 10, 2008 Jamon marked it as to-read
Required reading for marines
Zachary
Jun 11, 2009 Zachary rated it 3 of 5 stars 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....more
Halee Fleming
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