A commemorative history of The Corps which reads more like a trade magazine report on the growth of the tree-pulping industry. What could have been a big, ballsy, illustrated history, say like James Jones' WW II, full of gyrene slang and gristle, from Parris Island (""YOU SHIT-BIRDS WILL NEVER BE MARINES!"") to the boondocks (""What's fer mess?"" ""Owl shit, what'd y' expect?""), is instead a fatiguing recital of every action Marines have participated in since the Continental Congress first formed a land-soldering arm for the navy. The liveliest fact to slip through Simmons' officialese is that, in 1943, girdles were required articles of dress for the new Woman Marines (or BAMS--""broad-assed Marines""). More often he is as colorful as a telex: ""At 1420 on Monday, 12 May 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired across the bow of the thirty-one-year-old, 10,766-ton container ship SS Mayaguez, tramping its way from Hong Kong to Sattahip, Thailand."" That's not writing, it's taxidermy.