|Not the first thing you think of when I say "Marine Corps" is it? You might be surprised.|
Normally, you don't think of the United States Marine Corps when you think of great reading. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is strong men storming out of amphibious landing crafts storming the beaches to close with and kill the enemy. Maybe you think of their famous assault on Chapultepec in the Mexican War, or Belleau Wood, or Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
In any event, the image of the Marine Corps is one of martial strength, discipline, courage, and commitment. Notably absent there is the virtue of being well-read. However, that's a bit inaccurate.
Did you know the United States Marine Corps has a reading list? Yes, every Marine has assigned books to read based on their rank, and it's phenomenal. At minimum, three books per year are required to fulfill annual reading criteria for all active duty and reserve Marines, officer and enlisted.
Here's a selection of some of the books on the list:
The Killer Angels -Michael ShaaraI'm Staying With My Boys...: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC - Jim Prosser
The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
Ender's Game - Orson Scott CardThe Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines - Melton McLaurin
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae - Steven Pressfield
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa - E.B. Sledge
Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life - Eric Greitens
Infantry Attacks - Erwin Rommel
Black Hearts - Jim Frederick
Into the Tiger's Jaw: America's First Black Marine Aviator - Frank E. Petersen
Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions - Gary Klein
We Were Soldiers Once and Young - Harold G. Moore
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society - Dave Grossman
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - Malcolm Gladwell
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War - Robert Coram
Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations - Michael Walzer
Assignment Pentagon: How to Excel in a Bureaucracy - Perry M. Smith
The Face of Battle - John Keegan
Diplomacy - Henry Kissinger
Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Federalist Papers - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War - Robert B. Strassler
Again, this is just a partial list, but look at it. There is everything from the philosophical to the historical, to the abstract, to the in your face awfulness of war. Just even looking at this partial list, how much have you read?
Since I'm always looking for a good book to read, I've decided that I'm going to work my way through the list (after I finish the Aubrey-Maturin Series, of course). Accordingly, just like the Marine Corps is always looking for a few good men, you should always be looking for a few good books.
If you are in need of a good book, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps has a few suggestions for you.