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Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero Hardcover – September 25, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum; 1 edition (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307383040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307383044
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this macho, profanity-laced memoir by a 2003 Iraqi invasion veteran, Martinez describes himself as a Hispanic juvenile delinquent from Albuquerque, N.Mex., who turned his life around by joining the marines in 2001. His exploits (including winning the Navy Cross) will entertain military buffs with precise details of combat and of a sadistic boot camp that recalls the antiwar movie (but Marine and Martinez favorite) Full Metal Jacket. Bonded and eager for battle, his unit yearned in vain to fight in Afghanistan after 9/11 and joyfully participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though experts now agree our forces overwhelmed Saddam Hussein's disorganized army, Martinez and his men assumed they faced a vicious enemy, referred to by Martinez as terrorists, and killed scores while destroying buildings with their overwhelming firepower. His company suffered two wounded. Martinez never doubts that he fought to defend America's freedom and freely admits his contempt for those who don't appreciate this. The book is peppered with denunciation of biased news coverage, liberals, hippies, John Kerry and Anthony Swofford (ex-marine author of Jarhead), but readers who enjoy learning about the mechanics of an urban gang and of a marine platoon in combat are unlikely to object. (Sept. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hard corps is a term of praise for a really dedicated marine. It's highly merited by Martinez, who pulls no punches, including in his language about his gangbanging teen years before, vaguely wanting an alternative and at the prodding of some mentors, he enlisted in the marines. Nor is there any bowdlerizing in his description of boot camp as intended to simulate the stresses of infantry combat (the marines' overriding purpose, after all) without deliberately killing anybody. Thereafter comes a grunt's-eye view of marine garrison service and, at last, deployment to Iraq. Martinez's battalion was one of the first into Baghdad and shortly after was engaged in a knock-down, drag-out fire fight in the suburbs, which Martinez most vividly relates and for which he received the Navy Cross for courage and leadership. Now a civilian again, Martinez will always be proud to have worn the title of United States Marine, and any reader interested in such a man's self-portrait will devour this book. Green, Roland

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Marco Martinez is a great American Hero.
Y. Haidermota
It's one of the most accurate portrayals of combat, and shows what the life of an average Marine Corps Infantryman is like.
Paul Gardner
I read this book and had a hard time putting it down.
JC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Paul Gardner on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My name is Paul Gardner, known in the book as just "Gardner." As someone who fought in battle with Sgt Martinez, I can and will vouch for this book. If it weren't for Marco Martinez' actions that day, April 12, 2003, I would not be alive today. The enemy was trying their hardest to shoot me again and finish me off after the initial gunshot wound I suffered, hitting my spinal cord and immediately paralyzing my body. I was forced to just watch the insurgents shoot round after round at my limp and motionless body. I was so scared and knew I was going to die. After calling out to Martinez for help, I passed out from shock.

What unfolded in the next five minutes while I was passed out was simply the most brave and selfless action I never got to see, just hear about and read about later. There are A LOT of people who are responsible for my being alive today, but Martinez' actions on that Sunday afternoon in Al Tarmiya, Iraq started my long road to recovery, and I owe the man my life.

Buy this book! You won't be disappointed! It's one of the most accurate portrayals of combat, and shows what the life of an average Marine Corps Infantryman is like. And also this book just goes to show that no matter what you did growing up, and regardless of all the stupid mistakes you have made in the past, you can grow up to be an outstanding person and achieve anything with the proper motivation. Martinez is a true American hero, as well as one of my many personal heroes from that day!

-Paul
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By The Lifelong Learner on November 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Publishers Weekly review misses the point by a mile. While I'm hardly a reader who "enjoys learning about the mechanics of an urban gang and or a marine platoon in combat" I was impelled to read the book when I heard the author interviewed. I was drawn to the person of the story, not the exploits, and this young man's transformation from a troubled, aimless gangbanger is worth the read.

It's a gritty tale. I don't like the profanity, but at least it's in context and not thrown around like so much of the trash mouth in today's entertainment.

As a teen Martinez begins to think twice about the road he's on. The USMC takes his diffused and destructive energy along with his sense of adventurousness, piles on their discipline and training and channels it all like a ricochet into a productive direction.

There's much to learn about a slice of life that never intersects some of our worlds. We owe a tremendous debt to men like Sgt. Martinez - war or no - because they are the front line where civilization meets the breach, a protective hedge around our "good life." He tells the story with a fresh candor that makes you appreciate anew the value and worth of our military.

Plus, anyone who has ever lawyered an explosive combat scene to death, nitpicking apart actions (as if one had the luxury of time to contemplate, evaluate all options and plan actions only clearly evident in hindsight) needs to read this book and get a grasp on reality.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Marine on September 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having served in the Marine Corps as an enlisted infantryman I can honestly say Martinez describes lower enlisted life perfectly. Martinez puts you right in his shoes as a private, private first class and lance corporal. Martinez brings you into Marine life which is usually shrouded in stereotypes, tall tales and speculation by non Marines. Martinez finally sets the record straight with Hard Corps. He tells stories that others would be scared to tell. Martinez then again puts you in his shoes as a leader in combat as a corporal and sergeant. Hard Corps tells a story of brotherhood, violence and valor. The whole time I read the book I felt I was with him as all this was happening to him the (I'm surprised he lived through it all). The book contains amazing stories of his past life as a gang member and as a Marine. Martinez has written a book that is unlike any I have ever read in my life. I read alot of books about the Iraq war but non have measured up to Hard Corps. Hard Corps is what as us Marines have been waiting for. A book written by an enlisted man who has seen combat and accurately describes the Marine Corps. Semper Fi Sgt. Martinez
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By JC on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a Master Sergeant in the Marine Corps, over 21 years service and I am an Iraq vet. I read this book and had a hard time putting it down. I hope the author will write more books in the future, he has a great gift for writing. As far as what he went thru, Semper Fi brother, welcome home. The book is a must read for any Marine of any era or anyone that wants to read about todays Marine Corps grunts. Be warned, there is foul language, but other than that, a great read.

Jim
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Navarro on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sergeant Marco Martinez, USMC, has offered his story of redemption and development of true self-worth. This young man once was a gang member and thankfully recognized the need for personal change. His story of hope is the story so many of America's young people lost to gang violence need to hear.

Fortunately for America this young man recognized he could only attain a positive future for himself by committing himself to a greater cause; love of his fellow Marine, love of his country and a willingness to give his life for the protection of those he loved (and that truly loved him).

This book could be used for high school reading (Sgt. Martinez fairly warns in the preface of foul language and violence and parents of students need to be equally warned) and lower level college courses. Sgt. Martinez's patriotism and lack of respect for anti-war protesters is evident in his book, but it is his story and warrants discussion.
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