A few months before Pearl Harbor, author Gallant gave up at Atlanta's Emory University, answered the call of the Marines and whizzed off to Paris Island's ""boot camp"". Now with a gung-ho surge of heartfelt sentiment, sincerity and just about no sophistication at all, leatherneck Grady, currently feature writer for a Chattanooga paper, recreates the real-life training, fighting and comradeship of men at arms, from North Carolina to Guadalcanal. Neither profane nor angry, the book attempts a small-scale celebration of pup tents and rifle ranges, DI's and chow lines (""I really like this outfit. I think I hit it lucky""); then shore leave in Frisco, with troop ship to New Zealand (""Where the hell is that? the Corpsman groaned""); finally, swampy, seething Guadalcanal (""Here Victory would embrace one, and Death, many""); and so, 4000 Japs against 400 Marines and a holocaust of a holding operation. But frankly the glory, guts and grind of that all-mighty encounter and the whole reality of battle has been better served many, many times elsewhere. On Valor's Side remains strictly a clean-cut-kid-next-door opus (""If this book stirs young men to serve their country in the world's finest military organization, then I will be proud""). Gallant can probably be proud.