Marines are different: distinct not only from ordinary U.S. citizens but from the ranks of the army, navy, and air force as well. The difference begins with boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, where the history and future of the United States Marine Corps intersect in the training of every new recruit. In Making the Corps
, Ricks follows a platoon of young men through 11 grueling weeks of boot camp as their drill instructors indoctrinate them into the culture of the Few and the Proud. Many arrive at Parris Island undisciplined and apathetic; they leave as marines.
With the end of the cold war, the role of the American military has shifted in emphasis from making war to keeping peace. "The best way to see where the U.S. military is going is to look at the marines today," says Ricks, as the other armed forces have begun to emulate the marine model. To understand Parris Island--a central experience in the life of every marine--is to understand the ethos of the Marine Corps. Ricks examines the recent changes in the Standard Operating Procedures for Recruit Training (the bible of Parris Island), which indicate how the corps is dealing with critical social and political issues like race relations, gender equality, and sexual orientation. Making the Corps pierces the USMC's "sis-boom-bah" mythology to help outsiders understand this most esoteric and eccentric of U.S. armed forces. --Tim Hogan
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From Library Journal
Ricks, the Wall Street Journal's Pentagon correspondent, here follows a Marine Corps training platoon (#3086) from the arrival of the recruit bus at Parris Island, South Carolina, to graduation. The background he gives on most of the recruits is solid, but Ricks is also concerned with the recent history and present-day image of the corps. According to Ricks, what sets the Marines apart from other U.S. military services is its reliance on teamwork, discipline, and commitment. By following the 3086th through its first year, he not only shows how the new recruit is molded but paints a larger picture of the corps. John Wayne movies have shaped most Americans' image of the Marines?an image that, as Ricks shows, is not necessarily reality today. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially those with large historical collections.?Mark E. Ellis, Albany State Univ., Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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