I must admit that this book was a big surprise to me. Picking up what most books on the Marines Corps leave out. Not only did General Krulack give me a new perspective on the Corps's battles, tactics & it's inventiveness. But on it's vary existence as an elite fighting force.
Many times over the Corps had proved it's worth to her county on battlefields across the globe. But as the General points out (form first hand experience) - unknown to most are the political battles fought behind closed doors that saved the Marine Corps from becoming nothing more than a token force, or worst it's complete elimination. Even more surprising are some of "Great Americans" who (for various reasons) fought so hard to emasculate and/or eliminate the Corps outright. Americans like: Truman, Eisenhower, and Bradley to but name a few. While I'll always have great admiration for these individuals and their accomplishments - As a Marine alumni (77/81) I can't help but feel somewhat betrayed by these people and others like them.
First in Fight makes for engaging reading - as it covers Krulack's own experiences within the battle over the unification of the armed services. Moreover - this book explains how & why the U.S. Military chain of command (Executive office - down to the lowly Private) is set-up the way it is today.
Most people think that the erecting of the U.S. Flag on Mt. Suribachi's peak was the defining moment that guaranteed the existence of the Marine Corps. While I'd never take anything away from that historical event - thanks to this book I now realize that the Corps survival to date is partly in thanks to a few dedicated Marine senior officers, a Pro-Marine Congress and a supportive people.
On a personal note: I would make this mandatory reading for any Marine, as it gives new insight into our timeless inter-service rivalry with the other service branches. Semper Fi!
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
I found this to be quite revealing and extremely interesting. The history of the creation of the Marine Corps brings out more than the History and Tradition taught at Parris Island to new recruits. Krulak obviously has a different view and made use of the inside help and long personal experience including all the work he did on the political and organizational problems related to the survival of the Corps.
His work brings out the workings of the office of the Secretary of Defense, the service Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon and the civilian/military authority and relationships. The story he tells with his personal slant gives good reason to question anyone regarding motive for taking a position or hiding their agenda. If the whole story was known and analyzed in a completely objective fashion it would surely be different and certainly be no less fascinating.
I read everything I can related to the USMC and learn something new from each source. This book had something for me in every chapter. A worthwhile read. Semper Fi !