May 9, 2011

Review - Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks

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 physical training that takes place. Ricks provides the perspectives of both recruits and drill instructors to give a complete picture of what really goes on at boot camp. Ricks seamlessly weaves information about the history of the Marine Corps into the boot camp narrative and examines the role of the Marine Corps’ role in American society in the past, present, and future. 

I read this book while my husband (then my fiancé) was at boot camp in San Diego, and it helped me understand--to some extent--what he was going through. Some things about boot camp may have changed since this book was published in 1997, but it is still a great introduction to the Marine Corps. There is a 10th anniversary edition with a new afterword from the author which includes information on the recruits in the book who went on to serve in Iraq. I recommend this book to anyone who has friends or family members in the Marine Corps or anyone just wants to learn more about the history and culture of the Marine Corps. 


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