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Marine!: The Life of Chesty Puller, USMC (Ret.)

ISBN: 978-0553271829
Review Date:

Marine!: The Life of Chesty Puller, USMC (Ret.) tells exactly the story the title suggests. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller remains to this day among the most decorated US Marines in the history of the Corps, but what mattered more to Puller was that he commanded the enormous respect of nearly every Marine infantryman and Noncom who ever served with him over 37 years and four wars.

In writing this book, Burke Davis makes no pretense about what the book is and what it is not. In the one-page Author's Note at the opening of the book, he says:

This book is as much a memoir as a biography, for it rests largely on a long series of interviews with General Puller and a lengthy study his official record. . . . General Puller's prodigious memory is often relied upon, and in matters large and small his point of view is taken; controversial points are not examined from every side, and thus this does not pretend to be an objective history of the many campaigns in which he fought.

As such, this is not so much a serious history for serious historians but rather it is Chesty's story told Chesty's way. Even so, the book is a very valuable and interesting look into the life and times of Chesty Puller.

Marine! was a fairly easy read with an ample degree of detail sufficient to tell the story. The copy I read was the second edition Bantam paperback so the type was small and the maps were nearly unreadable, but such is the nature of paperbacks. In large type or small, I would eagerly recommend this book to anyone with interests in one of America's legendary warriors, the development of the US Marine Corps in the 20th century, the story of the World War II Pacific, or the study of the principles of leadership.

For something that much more closely approaches a serious history for serious historians, see the excellent Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC by Colonel Jon T. Hoffman, USMCR.

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