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Semper Fi
W.E.B. Griffin
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Semper Fi (The Corps #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  4,423 ratings  ·  102 reviews
The first Corps novel--the first Corps New York Times bestseller.
Semper Fi sets the stage for World War II and brings to life the men of the Marine Corps--their loves and their loyalties--as they steel themselves for battle, and prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Paperback, 484 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Inedita (first published January 1986)
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Mar 02, 2010 Kevin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, War nuts, anyone who just loves a good story!
W.E.B. Griffin's "The Corps" series are not simply books about war. The war is a backdrop for vignette's about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. His characters are detailed, living, breathing, flawed creatures... just like you and I.

Book 1 "Semper Fi" follows Ken J. 'Killer' McCoy. It is just before America gets involved in WWII and follows through the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the fall of Wake Island (Phillipines). McCoy is a 'China Marine' or a Marine stationed in Shanghai Chi...more
Well I was very surprised by this book. The book has received countless four and five star reviews and I thought I would love it. Historical fiction about marines in the lead up to World War II? How could a guy like me not love it?

I am so disappointed by this book. I am not one of the people on these sites that finds incredibly popular books and rips them to be contrarian. I usually fall in with the masses. This book is the great exception to that rule.

First of all, there is little to no action...more
Ron Hartley
Griffin is an excellent writer when it comes to Historical Fiction. His books are more character driven than action driven. Sad to say, he does use some profanity, but it doesn't seem to be for shock value like some authors do. These are military men in dangerous situations and occasional bad language comes out their mouths.

Like most of his main characters, in the first book the hero bounces from woman to woman until he meets his one true love and becomes a one woman man.

The conversations are cr...more
Shannon C.
I love WEB Griffin's books. Not only are they amazing historicals, they have great character development, lots of action and adventure and a bit of romance. My grandfather was career military, a retired Maj Gen in the Marines. I especially enjoyed reading this series as it made me feel closer to him and what he went through, following his death.

If you don't want to read about military men, he also has a very good police procedural series Badge of Honor.
Jake Kline
Surprisingly enough, though WEB Griffin is a prolific author, with more than 6 major series and 100 books (under a variety of pseudonyms), The Corps series is the only one I ever really got into. The characters somehow got under my skin and I couldn't help but empathize with them when they got into trouble or were in danger of being killed. This was an excellent book and a great introduction to one of my favorite series of all time.
Bunny Maurer
I gave this a 4 only because I love Griffin's explanations of the training, weapons, customs of the Marine Corps and I love WWII books. But most of the characters are rich except the main character and they all fall in love a minute after meeting and go to bed in 2 minutes after meeting.

This is a series of 5 books and I'm going to read all five but jump over the sophmoric love interests.
Michael Flores
Entertaining and technical read. I say technical, because the amount of detail given to the make and model and rank of every character and gun and vehicle is a bit distracting, although I’m a sucker for things like that. Formulaic and troubled heroes, but likeable as they fight through daunting odds to achieve freedom.
Michael Nash
W. E. B. Griffin's Marine Corp series is straight-up wish fulfillment. It follows a devastatingly handsome and competent Marine Corporal as he Mary Sue's his way through the military hierarchy of 1941 Shanghai and then the world, sleeping with beautiful women and engaging in amazing feats of marshal prowess as he goes. The story moves forward primarily through the use of idiot plot (the main character's superiors always refuse to listen to his completely reasonable advice for NO REASON, and then...more
I read this and several others in his multiple series's back in the mid-late 80's as they came out and remember them as good diversionary reading so when I had need of something for audiobook content I bought the first 3 books in "The Corp" series. I'm finding the overall storyline weak and not as well written as my recalled first read through. As best I can guess when READING I was able to 'skip ahead' through a lot of the repetitive descriptions and plot point rehashes where as as a listener I...more
Kaye Stambaugh
"He realized that his heart was throbbing. Like the water hose on a Browning .30." And that is how you know you're reading a love scene from a military genre series! I wasn't sure I'd stick with this since women are merely a means for Marines to "get their ashes hauled". Although not familiar with that phrase, plenty of hauling of ashes takes place thus the phrase becomes quite clear. Apparently all women are hankering for Marines, according to the story. Older women, virginal women, missionarie...more
J.W. Thompson
This was the first book I read by this author. I am a Marine Veteran and found it very entertaining. His writing style hooked me and I have read every book he has published. I read this one many years ago
Jim A
A re-read for me. I first read this maybe 20-25 years ago.

One of W.E.B. Griffin's better series, following members of the Marine Corps during WW II.
My first experience in reading Griffin’s work was actually in reading his Brotherhood of War series from end to end. I thought perhaps that I had read the crown jewel of his efforts, but I was sorely mistaken. Semper Fi kicks off a series that I found to be far superior to the Brotherhood of War, and what I consider to be Griffin’s best work to date.
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It’s January, 1941, and Private First Class Kenneth McCoy finds himself on the precipice of promotion to Corp...more
Brett Tompkins
People have been handing me Griffin books for years now, but I was intent on reading a 'book one' regardless of the series. I finally came across The Corps Book One and dove in, curious as to what Griffin is all about. I was pleasantly surprised. I was worried that, as a historical novel, it would be so full of facts and technical information, that it would be boring and hard to get through. I was absolutely wrong and could not read this book fast enough. Instead of a continuous onslaught of his...more
Somehow refreshing variant on the typical ultrapatriotic Marine-Stories and World War historical novels.

E.g. does the author skip most of the cliché-ladden stuff from basic training (a little bit of it returns with the "platoon leader programme") to start at an more interesting point of this marines personal life...
All in all ther ARE some "stu"ish scenes where the protagonist seems to be blessed too much to be true, but in the whole context of the story those moments are few and far between, so...more
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It's hard to explain why I am obsessed with WEB Griffin's books because the male characters are insufferably arrogant, the women characters either madonnas or whores (usually whores), and the language is foul. However, while I was working at Putnam Berkley, I picked this first in the series up one night when I needed something to read on the subway, and was up until 3 am devouring it. Griffin really captures the essence of men at war, and I particularly enjoy his characterizations of real people...more
Was a great read....was interesting to see how Griffin tells a story from the WWII era.....the first series I read of his was from the present day. As always his books are fun to read and you never want to put them down. Can't wait for the 2nd one to arrive at the library.

One other thought on Griffin, I am now going between books from Griffin and Brad Thor.....the one thing I see that makes all the Griffin books stand out is the amount of detail and character information you get. You feel as if...more
Nick Brett
An odd little number this one - with a title of "Semper Fi" and describing itself as " a novel of the corps" you might expect a chunk of WW2 marine action, but you would be wrong. This is about a smart young private/corporal whose wits get him into field intelligence in China in 1941. McCoy is a little too good to be true, a linguist, street smart and wise beyond his young years. And Semper Fi is McCoy's tale set within the environment of a US not yet at war with Japan and the book ends just aft...more
(#1 of the Corps Series)-This was a very interesting book. It is not really a book I would have picked out to read. However, the ladies in book-club highly recommended this so I thought I would give it a try. I am glad I did. I was fascinated by the subject line. This was about Ken McCoy, a Marine who was enlisted right before the attack on Pearl Harbor. You get some really great info on the Marines and the hierarchy of this part of our armed forces. But the author also had a great fictional sto...more
Dave Gehrke
I actually read the third book in this series, "Battleground" first. I found that interesting enough to backtrack to "Semper Fi" the first book. "Semper Fi" introduces several of the characters of that reappear in later books. McCoy is quite an interesting character and you feel yourself pulling for him. If I have one criticism, Griffin seems a little too interested in the very wealthy characters in his series and outside of McCoy paints a picture of the influential and moneyed. And, in my humbl...more
Sep 24, 2007 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in WWII or the Marines
I really enjoy reading about World War II, and this series of books is one of the reasons why. It follows a few characters through the careers in the Marines (mainly during WWII, but moves on to the Korean War as well). It is full of coincidental meetings, but still seems realistic as the size of the Corps at the time was much smaller than currently.

I am a wealth of information about the Pacific campaign, which is great since most people know more about the European theatre.

I highly recommend th...more
Mike Althouse
Excellent story telling. Enough historical facts added to make the story much more alive. Highly recommend. Semper Fi!!
James Oliver Burns
As always Mr. Griffin captures the Essence of his Subject matter and time Period, He is historically
accurate even though this is a work of fiction. This is the 1st book in the Marine corps series. It starts right after the Boxer Rebellion in China and WWI, It Centers on the life of U.S. Marine pfc Kenneth (killer) Mcoy in China in the mid-1930's to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor By the Japanese on December 7th 1941. Semper-Fi Introduces you to all the important characters and how the intera...more
Lee Franke
Best book in the series. Really starts the entire series off on the right foot.
Fred Lombardo
This entire series does for the Marine Corps, what The Brotherhood of War series does for the U.S. Army soldier. Breathes life into historical events in a tremendously entertaining way, but also brings the reader into the very hallowed halls of the likes of Roosevelt, MacArthur, Truman and all the surrounding "players". On the other side, the reader lives through the events of World War II and Korea, seen through the eyes of the ordinary men and women who lived through such times as these. You w...more
I was recommended by a guy at Borders to try this Griffin series...and I'm sort of sorry that I listened to him. Through out all the books in this series, we follow a small group of characters...and NOTHING ever happens! These are not stories in which a lot of action fact so little happens one wonders what the author was thinking. I kept buying books of this series in the vain hope that Griffin would at some point actually have a character doing something. And it never happened.

Going into this book I wasn't sure I would like it, since I wasn't looking for a book about war. Rather, I wanted to get a better idea of what life was/is like as a US Marine. After reading several other reviews, I decided that this series would be good because it was about people and not solely about the War.

Griffin's writing is fluid and very easy to read. The characters are people you can relate to and the stories aren't that unbelievable. I look forward to reading the rest of the series now!
I've been wanting to read this series for a while was worth the wait. This follows the trials of Kenneth "Killer" McCoy as he progresses from a Marine corporal in China spying on Japanese occupation to a commissioned lieutenant in D.C. during the time right before the invasion of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Along the way he makes friends, mistakes, and meets a few women. A hard-nosed look at the Marine Corps during WWII, and I am looking forward to the next few in this series.
For those of us who love the military, this was a very good story. I'm going to enjoy this series. Good characters and writing. Just a lot of good entertainment.
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W.E.B. Griffin is one of several pseudonyms for William E. Butterworth III.

From the Authors Website:

W.E.B. Griffin is the #1 best-selling author of more than fifty epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other best-seller lists. More than fifty million of the books are in print in more than ten languages, including Heb...more
More about W.E.B. Griffin...
The Hostage (Presidential Agent, #2) By Order of the President (Presidential Agent, #1) The Lieutenants (Brotherhood of War, #1) Call To Arms (The Corps, #2) The Berets (Brotherhood of War, #5)

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