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Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History Paperback – July 23, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This long-awaited biography is as crisp as a David Brinkley commentary. Fact-packed and exquisitely documented."―Naval Institute Proceedings
"As pure biography, Maverick Marine is a colorful story about a swashbuckling establishment-shaker. Schmidt's book is particularly valuable, however, for the insights it provides into Yankee imperialism and its racist undertones."―Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The book displays how Butler served as both a Marine in endless campaigns for the United States, and how he later came, not to renounce the military or the Marines, but the use of US Military forces overseas as, what he believed them to be, tools of Big Business, and not serving in either the interest of the United States Constitution or its citizens.
This book lead me to Butler's own small book "War is a Racket," which was highly influential in my own opinions about use of military force outside our country's borders. Butler would never consider himself an intellectual, but he had heaps of common sense - a quality which is sometimes lacking from those with sky-high IQs. Marines are sworn to the duty of protecting the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and they take this duty to heart. Once Butler realized that some of his fighting may not have served this interest, he became a very politically charged and controversial figure and speaker. How the hell could the former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps declare himself against war? Well, he didn't go against war, but advocated the prudent use of our military strength in the defense of the homeland. Sometimes he went a little far in supporting his points, but his intentions - to look out for both our country and those who serve it - are admirable traits in any career politician or general (there's little difference between the two once someone picks up that first star).Read more ›
"I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.... Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three CONTINENTS" [p. 231].
Dr. Schmidt is a fan of Butler--the "patriotic warrior hero whose courage, physical command presence, and vernacular coarseness epitomized the popular ideal of a soldier's general" (p. 1). This is easily understandable; Butler's distinguished combat record and blunt, extroverted style of leadership endeared him to the mass media and earned him a legion of followers. Schmidt became a Butler disciple after writing the UNITED STATES OCCUPATION OF HAITI, 1915-1934 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1971).
MAVERICK MARINE uses sixteen chapters to interweave two subjects: (1) The life and times of Smedley Butler and (2) The Marine Corps's role as the strong arm of American foreign policy in the early twentieth century. Schmidt's coverage of the former is nonpareil; his treatment of the latter, however, does not hold up as well under scrutiny.
Butler's career in the Marine Corps began in 1898 at age sixteen. During the war with Spain, Second Lieutenant Butler deployed with the 1st Marine Battalion to the Caribbean.Read more ›
Butler was also a skein of contradictions: a Marine from a Quaker family, a general who joined the Marines as a private, a critic of politics in the military whose congressman father just happened to oversee the department of the Navy, a soldier who spent most of his days maintaining order in America's colonies, official and otherwise, who then went to vehemently condemn the deployment of American troops overseas, and perhaps most importantly, a soldier who inspired fierce loyalty. This list could go on and on.
Unfortunately this biography reads like a police report and not like a measured and analytical examination of a truly fascinating American. Butler was a great man who deserves a much better biography. (Un)fortunately court historians who write popular political hagiographies seem to eschew the lives of quixotic Marines, however impressive, interesting, and instructive their lives may have been.
As there are not that many biographies of Butler extant, this one may well be worth reading for the facts, but do not expect greatness from this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If Icouldaffordit Iwouldmaila millioncopies to Republicans.Published 8 months ago by milton chapman
TWO NAVY MEDALS OF HONOR, FOR TWO SEPARATE DEEDS, THE MARINE CORPS BREVET MEDAL, FOR COMBAT LEADERSHIP WHILE UNDER FIRE AS WELL AS BOTH THE NAVY AND ARMY DISTINGUISHED SERVICE... Read morePublished 11 months ago by NESSER BROTHER FAN
Outstanding! I am a Smedley Butler fan. He was the most honest, courageous and effective Marine and General in our history. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Cajun fan
just the facts....wish it wouldve been more fictional at timesPublished 15 months ago by texas cowboy
If you like American, international, political and military history, of the period, 1900 to 1940, you will find this interesting. The Author does a good job of fairness and facts. Read morePublished 18 months ago by C. vonBlankenburg
General Butler's memoir describes his life as a career marine and regrets the time he spent defending the investments of US banks and businesses world wide. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Charles W. Gallagher
A terrific book by a 2 time MOH winner. He identifies the military industrial complex and the futility of war.Published on November 6, 2013 by Robert Whitener
Very few men win one Congressional Medals of Honor (CMH). Most Medal of Honor winners die in the act of earning the award. Read morePublished on April 20, 2013 by Phred