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Why Marines Fight Hardcover – October 30, 2007

20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The reasons are almost as numerous as the Marine combat veterans quoted and profiled in this engaging collection of reminiscences. Many cite the training and discipline drilled into recruits and the determination not to let down one's buddies. Others are motivated by vengeance after a friend is killed. Gen. Smedley Butler, after a career invading banana republics in the early 20th century, opines that he fought mainly as a gangster for Capitalism. Some fight for the thrill of it (the heavy machine gun made you feel like no one could touch you), and some fight out of the sheer cussedness personified by Sgt. Dan Daley, who shouted, Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever? as he led his men against the Germans in France in 1918. Parade columnist Brady (The Coldest War), a Korean War Marine vet, sketches vivid thumbnails of his interlocutors and sets the right leatherneck vibe—sympathetic, irreverent, comradely—to draw them out. Some tales meander; this is very much a meeting of old (and a few young) soldiers catching up and telling war stories in a glow of nostalgia. Still, Brady assembles from them an unusually personal and revealing collage of the nation in arms.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“These inspirational tales cover as many Marine experiences as Brady can pack in.”--Kirkus Reviews

“For anyone who wants to know how the U.S. Marine team works in war and peace, this book is indispensable.”--Booklist (Starred review)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312372809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312372804
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The late JAMES BRADY commanded a Marine rifle platoon during the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. For more than two decades, he wrote the "In Step With" column for Parade. He also wrote a column for Forbes.com. He authored eighteen books, among them several on the Marines, including the nonfiction Why Marines Fight and the New York Times bestselling novel The Marines of Autumn.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Avid on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a former Marine combat Grunt, I was looking forward to reading this book. However, after enjoying Brady's novels about the Corps, I found this non-fiction work to be less than expected. From the guy who is listed as the "Corps' poet laureate", this work is much less that expected.

The title asks the question, "Why do Marine Fight"? However, the question is not answered. Rather, Brady writes a series of vignettes about people he apparently knew, none of whom deal with the issue - why DO Marines fight?

From my personal experience, Marines fight for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the brother Marines to their left and right, for the Corps and for their country. Marines fight because, as volunteers, they are and always have been trained to fight since 1775. Never giving up a piece of ground without an argument, Marines fight ferociously because that is what is expected of them. They took "impossible" positions in WW I and "impossible" island fortresses during the pacific campaign in WW II, never yielding, but always on the offensive, even when cut off and without support, as at Guadalcanal. What makes a man go forward into almost certain death? Again, it's his fellow Marines, those who have also been trained to close with and kill the enemy, and protect their comrades, which is why so many Marines have been awarded the Medal of Honor for selfless acts such as covering a grenade with their own body to protect fellow Marines.

Brady had a good idea, but in the writing it fell way short of his objective. Marines fight because that is what we are trained and expected to do. It is also because we have leaders and NCOs who are trained to lead and lead from the front, not from a desk. Every Marine is a rifleman and every Marine is trained to taker command, if needed. That's why and how we fight!

Our motto says it all: Semper Fidelis! ALWAYS FAITHFUL!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By David Gideon on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. As a Marine myself, I thought it was great to hear, in their own words, Marines from various generations describe their combat and life experiences.

While the prose, apparently direct from interviews, could at times be a bit grating, I liked Brady's introductions and running commentary.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Eric & Lisa on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book gives unique glimpses into the personal lives of Marines past and present--rightfully portraying the average Marine as the unknown hero next door.

What would have made this book an epic is if the author would have kept his political opinions out of it. He agreed with one Marine that he quoted, saying that war is purely apolitical. Yet sprinkled throughout the book [and laid on pretty thick in the last chapter] were his personal opinions that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are--in his words--silly. This discredits the objectivity of his work, reducing it from greatness to an okay book from a guy with an ax to grind.

Also, he tends to get diarrhea of the mouth when talking about trivialities (i.e. himself). He kept mentioning how important he was when writing articles for Parade magazine. It's completely irrelevant...especially when discussing something as intriguing--and nearly sacred--as the motivations of a Marine.

If you are able to filter out the bias and "white noise", the individual stories are decent.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Stafford on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a Marine, the material on Marines of different generations is interesting but Mr. Brady's constant narrative injecting himself, his politics, his place of residence and the restaurants he frequents makes it sound like the book is all about him. It's almost like he trying to have some of the valor of his subjects rub off on him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Smithroz on July 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I certainly don't know why he wrote this book, for Brady never actually systematically tried to answer the question posed in his title Why Marines Fight. Some of the individual stories of men he interviewed were very good, but they get buried amid references to Brady himself and the continual name dropping. Supposedly Brady had a wealth of material as Marines in droves responded with letters to him when they heard about the proposed title to the book. Expecting to read the stories of unknown Marines, I was disappointed when so much of the book covered the stories of Marines turned famous politician such as James Webb and John Warner of Virginia and the late John Chaffee of Rhode Island. Whether that was Brady's choice or those of his editor, I wish far more space had been given to the stories of lesser known Marine and no space at all to John Warner's penchant for dating beautiful and filthy rich women. An ever greater waste of space are the political comments on events in Iraq and Afghanistan scattered throughout the book on a random basis. These opinions bear no relevance to Brady's purported topic and show no special insight on Brady's behalf. They merely echo the conventional wisdom of Brady's peers on the celebrity journalist beat at Parade magazine.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence J. Paradis Sr. on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had read the coldest war also written by Brady and found it to be an honest description of a part of the Korean war true to the title.This on the other hand did not to my mind keep the promise of the title.Personally I did not even finish it.Save your money
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mike hammer on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Thank God, we have Marines. Thank God we have men who are willing to live in the dirt and fight for their country. However, as a former USAF pilot, who fought in Viet Nam, as I looked down at the Jungle, I often wondered why Marines fight down there while I was up in the clear air, and certainly causing more damage to the enemy than any one Marine could do. And for every Marine I have met, it seems that they think they have the monopoly on courage-or is it stupidity. My parents, and friends thought I was crazy to get into a plane. So maybe anyone who puts his body at risk in any war, let alone Viet Nam, but at least I was comfortable, ate hot food IF I got back.

I found Brady's description of former Jim Webb's Senate career noble. As was his resigning as Sec of the Navy when Bush decided that we no longer needed a 600 ship navy. For me, this was not a noble act, but was either a fit of pique, or the toadie of the Navy Admirals. Many Navy Admirals supported the draft dodger, rather than the Navy WWII veteran. Brady doesn't even touch on the "noble" resignation. The fact was that the Cold War was over, and we didn't need a 600 ship navy. The Army and Air Force also lost units. Isn't that what happens when a war ends

Senator Webb was hardly a sucess. And he served in the same party that was full of anti-marine, anti-military politicians. Sory, but this book should have avoided coments about politics and how wars are fought. I thought this book was going to avoid politics. No wonder this book was published, it was "politically correct".
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