From Publishers Weekly
Coram (Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War) clearly admires Krulak (1913–2008), a contentious Marine leader, and most readers will agree. Son of Jewish immigrants (a fact he suppressed), he attended Annapolis to obtain a free education. After observing Japanese naval operations as a young officer in 1937, he worked tirelessly to promote his design for what later became the Higgins boat, which proved essential for WWII amphibious operations. A decade later, he fought for acceptance of the helicopter. Krulak won numerous decorations for courage and rose to high command, where, Coram claims, his Marines enjoyed greater success than the army in Vietnam, although bitter quarrels with superiors and President Johnson over the war's conduct denied him his dream of becoming Marine Corps commandant. Despite Coram's high regard for Krulak and worshipful view of the Marines, he reveals innumerable details that Krulak suppressed, distorted, or invented in oral histories. Coram portrays a driven, fiercely outspoken. but creative warrior who probably deserves his legendary status. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.) (c)
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Coram’s third fine biography of one of the American armed force’s stormy petrels tells the life of Lieutenant General Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine Corps. Krulak began his public career by concealing his Jewish background at Annapolis, then went on to see combat in WWI. Between the wars, he carried out covert intelligence missions and development work on the equipment for amphibious operations. After combat in WWII, he was invaluable in the Pentagon infighting that saved the marine corps both then and after Korea. He commanded the marines in the Pacific during part of the Vietnam War, and his disagreements with Kennedy, Johnson, and McNamara probably cost him his chance to be commandant of the corps. Something of a diamond in the rough, he lived to see two of his sons as prominent Episcopal clergymen and his other son retire as commandant of the corps. Probably the best epitaph for Krulak is the one he might well have preferred: a good Marine. --Roland Green