Email this review


The former Commandant of the Marine Corps has written a straight-faced but rather compelling account of his command activities during the War and earlier. The account reads like part memoir, part communique, and is most exciting during his recital of the 1st Marine Division's fight on Guadalcanal. Guadalcanal's victory, while not at the cost of the massacre on Tarawa, came dearly, but it was the first instance during WWII that American troops smashed the image of the Japanese soldier as an invincibly savage foe. General Vandegrift was on active duty from 1909 to 1947 and early saw action in several South American and Caribbean republics to which Marines were sent to protect U.S. interests. Following WWI he became an advocate of amphibious warfare, for even in the early 20's our military was preparing secret tactics for hitting Japan (as evidently might be necessary). During the '20's and '30's he saw action in China. Then, following Pearl Harbor, he was given the 1st Division, which found itself practically abandoned on Guadalcanal but secured the Island after many difficult months. The general's story keeps to the view from the top, does not involve itself with stories of individual courage except in passing, and eschews salty braggadocio. No glorification of ""the Corps"" here, just straight goods.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1963
Publisher: Norton