USMC recommended reading list

Whilst browsing the USMC home page, I found a link to a page with a recommended list categorised by rank.

I thought it was an interesting idea, and there were some cracking books amonst them. What do you think of their suggestions?

United States Marine.....a Lifetime of Reading
The titles listed below are required to be read by all Marines while serving in the grade shown. These titles are specifically focused on warfighting. Leaders are expected to have read all books of those grades junior to the grades they currently hold, and to engage their juniors and peers in frequent discussion of these titles. Our goal is achieving excellence in warfighting based on competence and comradeship.

I. Required Reading by Grade
a. Private to Lance Corporal
i. A Message to Garcia
ii. Rifleman Dodd by C.S. Forster
iii. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
iv. The Soldier’s Load by S.L.A. Marshall
v. The Defense of Duffer’s Drift by E.D. Swinton
vi. Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden
vii. Constitution of the United States

b. Corporal to Sergeant
i. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
ii. Battle Leadership by Adolph Von Schell
iii. With the Old Breed at Pelelieu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge
iv. The Bridge at Dong Ha by John Miller
v. Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
vi. The United States Marines: A History by BGen E.H. Simmons
vii. The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara
viii. Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley
ix. Fields of Fire by James Webb
x. Tip of the Spear by Sgt G. J. Michaels

c. Staff Sergeant of Marines
i. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Griffith translation is recommended)
ii. The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
iii. Pegasus Bridge by Stephen Ambrose
iv. We Were Soldiers Once and Young by Moore and Galloway
v. Phase Line Green-The Battle for Hue 1968 by Nicholas Warr
vi. The Village by Francis West
vii. This Kind of War by T.R. Fehrenbach
viii. The Arab Mind by R. Patai
ix. Attacks! By Erwin Rommel

d. Gunnery Sergeant
i. Semper Fidelis: The History of the U.S. Marine Corps by Allan Millet
ii. Navajo Weapon by Sally McClain
iii. Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose
iv. Breakout by Martin Russ
v. My American Journey by Colin Powell
vi. Unaccustomed Fear by Roger Willock
vii. Savage Wars Peace by Max Boot
viii. Command in War by Martin Van Creveld

e. Master Sergeant and First Sergeant
i. Bayonet Forward! By Joshua Chamberlain
ii. Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence
iii. Defeat into Victory by William Slim
iv. Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
v. Strong Men Armed by Robert Leckie
vi. The Mask of Command by John Keegan
vii. War in the Shadows by R. B. Asprey
viii. The Face of Battle by John Keegan

f. Master Gunnery Sergeant to Sergeant Major
i. First to Fight by Victor Krulak
ii. Fortune Favors the Brave by Bruce Myers
iii. Reminiscences of a Marine by John A. Lejeune
iv. No Bended Knee by Merill Twining

g. Warrant Officer
i. Small Wars Manual
ii. Leading Marines MCWP 6-11
iii. Victory at High Tide by Robert Haint
iv. The Armed Forces Officer by S.L.A. Marshall
v. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

h. Officer Candidate, Cadet, Midshipman
i. Beat to Quarters by C.S. Forester
ii. A Message to Garcia
iii. The United States Marines: A History by BGen E. H. Simmons
iv. MCDP-1 Warfighting
v. Chesty by Jon Hoffman

i. Second Lieutenant
i. Rifleman Dodd by C.S Forester
ii. On Infantry by John English & Bruce Gudmundsson
iii. This Kind of War by T. R. Fehrenback
iv. Cleared Hot by Bob Stoffey
v. Fields of Fire by James Web
vi. Chancellorsville by Stephen W. Sears
vii. The Easter Offensive by G. H. Turley
viii. The Face of Battle by John Keegan
ix. The Arab Mind by R. Patai

j. First Lieutenant and Chief Warrant Officer 2
i. The Ugly American by Lederer and Burdick
ii. Reminiscences of a Marine by John a Lejeune
iii. A People Numerous and Armed by John Shy
iv. All for the Union by Elisha Hunt Rhodes
v. The Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger
vi. Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer
vii. Company Commander by Charles B. MacDonald
viii. The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
ix. Utmost Savagery by Joseph Alexander
x. Attacks! By Erwin Rommel

k. Captain and Chief Warrant Officer 3
i. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Griffith translation is best)
ii. Fields of Battle by John Keegan
iii. Goodbye Darkness by William Manchester
iv. From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman
v. Unaccustomed to Fear by Roger Willcock
vi. Command in War by Martin Van Creveld
vii. Eagle Against the Sun by Ronald Specter
viii. Stonewall in the Valley by Robert G. Tanner
ix. Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot
x. Infantry in Battle compiled by George C. Marshall
xi. Field Artillery and Firepower by J.B.A Bailey
xii. Terrorism Today by Christopher Harmon

l. Major and Chief Warrant Officer 4
i. Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton
ii. The General by C.S. Forester
iii. On War by Karl von Clausewitz (Howard ad Paret)
iv. European Armies by Hew Strachan
v. The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
vi. The Mask of Command by John Keegan
vii. A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan
viii. Crucible of War by Fred Anderson
ix. Strategy by B. H. Liddell Hart
x. The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
xi. For the Common Defense by Millet and Maslowski
xii. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson
xiii. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (“The Landmark” version by Strasser recommended)

m. Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Warrant Officer 5
i. A Revolutionary People at War by Charles Royster
ii. Defeat into Victory by William Slim
iii. Patton: A Genius for War by Carlo D’Este
iv. The Army and Viet Nam by Andrew F. Krepinevich
v. Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence
vi. One Hundred Days by ADM Sandy Woodward
vii. The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman
viii. Supplying War by Martin Van Creveld
ix. Masters of War by Michael I. Handel
x. The Roots of Blitzkrieg by James S. Corum
xi. Frontiersmen in Blue by Robert M. Utley

n. Colonel to General
i. Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by James McPherson
ii. Supreme Command by Eliot Cohen
iii. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
iv. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
v. Military Innovation in the Interwar Period by Murray and Millett
vi. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
vii. Dereliction of Duty by H. R. McMaster
viii. Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger
ix. Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson
x. Crusade in Europe by Dwight D. Eisenhower
xi. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman; Edited by William S. McFeely
xii. Feeding Mars by John Lynn
xiii. Eisenhower’s Lieutenants by Russell S. Weigley
xiv. Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat by Wayne P. Hughes Jr.
xv. Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure by J. F. C. Fuller
xvi. Inventing Grand Strategy and Teaching Command by Jon T. Sumida
xvii. The Campaigns of Napoleon by David G. Chandler
Its a cracking idea, but what is the aim? To impart a sense of awarness of military literary culture? There are some cracking books in there, but do the yanks think that this will make better soldiers of their men? Judging by the outward appearance and attitude of the average U.S.M.C soldier, you would find it hard to imagine them kicking back with a copy of 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu. Luckily for them Band of Brothers is on DVD!!!!
Excellent in principle, but am puzzled by the omission of a certain texts, notably:
Norman F. Dixon - "On The Psychology Of Military Incompetence": for all NCOs & officers.
Richard Holmes - "Firing Line" (U.S. title "Acts of War"): all ranks.
Peter Hopkirk - "The Great Game": re Afghanistan/ Central Asia, C19th - for senior officers, and maybe SNCOs.
Tony Jeapes - "Secret War": SNCOs & officers.
Frank Kitson - "Bunch of Five", and many others: SNCOs & officers.
George MacDonald Fraser - "Quartered Safe Out Here": all ranks.

And, if the above suffer from being just too British, why nothing by David Hackworth or Bernard Fall? Hackworth, incidentally, makes some interesting/ trenchant comments on "Slam" Marsall, whose "minder" he was in Vietnam. In short, the selection seems a bit slanted to me: aimed to perpetuate a particular mind-set.

Great to encourage intellectual development/ broaden historical & professional perspectives etc, but as someone once noted, minds are like parachutes; they only really function usefully if open.
Also , although I am biased because he taught me:

The Campaigns of Napoleon - Dr David Chandler RMAS Ed

& maybe

Picking up the Brass :)
What, no Hitler My Part In His Downfall by Spike Milligan?
I can't see Catch 22 on that list either :D


Didnt know that they did these books with large text and pictures. Do these books have the Hollywood treatment and the Americans win everything. They obviously dont include recognition guides or how to spot the union jack. They dont even have time to read there ROE.


Similar threads

Latest Threads