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Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine Paperback – November 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
"Some aspects of Brute Krulak's early years are disturbing. I elected to take an explanatory stance toward those years. Some will say I should have replaced the frail reed of sympathy with the righteous sword of judgement. But my sins as a young man were scarlet, and they were many. I do not consider those green actions the defining moments of my life and if I am to be measured, let it be by the deeds of my later years. Here I afforded Brute Krulak what I would ask for myself."
Wow! It would be nice if more biographer's used such a perspective; as a great man once said to me, "It is not how you start, it is how you finish."
General Krulak did his Corps proud and sometimes it was not pretty, but he held a passionate love for his country and his Corps. Mr. Coram presents a man of single minded purpose, who kept his Corps relevant because he knew that is what America wanted and continues to need. Mr. Coram traces the life story of a man driven to achieve and contribute. From General Krulak's contributions to the development in the years leading up to WWII of amphibious warfare as a core competency to his largely rejected ideas of counterinsurgency warfare in Vietnam, Mr. Coram paints the portrait of a man of substance, intellect, and passion.Read more ›
Born in 1913, Krulak didn't fit the external mold of those who traditionally ascended the ranks of the military to make a full-blown career of it --at least on the surface. He was not descended from a familial line who had served in the military. Plus, was short, and had a roughness hewn from growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming when it still very much was the wild west. Krulak was also Jewish.
Writer Robert Coram unravels the strands of mystery surrounding Krulak's roots. While Coram makes far more of Krulak's Jewish roots than the man did himself, the writer does so to reveal Krulak's drive. Perhaps rather than say Krulak reinvented himself, it would not be unreasonable to say that Krulak discovered himself in the genteel halls of Annapolis. The person who emerged was Episcopalian, a new-traditionalist, with just a hint of the dust from the plains of Cheyenne. To Krulak, where he was going was far more important than from where he had come.
The drop-bow Higgins-boat, used in amphibious landings throughout the Pacific and at Normandy, was the result of Krulak's observations of similar craft designed and used by the Japanese during the second Sino-Japanese war.Read more ›
Brute hits the first and second, but Coram's book seems less grounded in detailed analysis this time around. There are many leaps of logic .... Brute was near something so he must have been involved ... Brute liked something so he must have done it ... etc. That is not to say that these leaps didn't lead to truth, but whereas in Boyd, Coram seemed to detail the logic train, it wasn't done in Brute. There also seemed to be a lot of hyperbole ... Brute had a tremendous secret to hide about his background, family, etc ... which didn't seem to be necessary. It is almost that the author hit on this ying / yang theme about Brute's public and private persona that didn't quite hold up, but he didn't rework the initial premise.
Those criticisms not withstanding, I would still recommend this book. Not as strong as Boyd, but a good read for anyone interested in the Marine Corps, US Military History, or perhaps surprisingly, Business. Yes, Business. The way Krulak managed through the bureaucracy teaches much to those found working in today's corporate hierarchy.
Mr. Coram has done it again with Brute. Anyone who designed the primary landing craft used by the allies in World War II could have considered that he had lived a useful life. Same for the fellow who looked at a primitive helicopter and first conceived of it as a weapon of war. Ditto for the guy who prevented the US Marine Corps from getting eliminated. That all of these contributions came from General Krulak - along with much else - is extraordinary.
But Gen. Krulak's most significant contribution failed. He was one of the only senior advisors to President Kennedy to oppose the campaign to oust Ngo Dinh Diem. Once Diem fell, there was no escaping the consequences. General Colin Powell's warning that "you break it, you own it," applies not just to the enemies of the US, but even more to the allies we foolishly depose. The coup against Diem was the first time in US history when the US toppled a friend, not an enemy, and South Vietnam immediately fell apart. The repercussions spread quickly. Even before JFK died three weeks later, Cambodia, citing the coup, threw out its American advisors and declared non-aligned status. LBJ had no room for maneuver. The pantheon of heroes in the whole tragic affair was pretty small: Paul Harkins, Margurette Higgins and Victor Krulak up against the Best and the Brightest, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Establishment itself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read Boyd, loved it, and then decided to buy the Brute and Bud Day books. Having just finished Brute, it is entirely deserving of five stars. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Michael Holovacs
Good biography of a great Marine.
A National treasure who was ignored by a foolish President Johnson.
The life of Victor Krulak, U. S. Marine, a short scrawny Jewish kid from Cheyenne who managed to get into the Naval Academy because no one else in landlocked Wyoming was interested... Read morePublished 1 month ago by weston
The book was very well written . The good and bad of brute Krulak is laid bare for the reader.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Enjoyed the book, especialy since I drove for him for a short while while he was at Quantico. He was a real Marine.Published 1 month ago by William A. Meredith
Well researched. A remarkable portrait of a complex man who contributed much, not only to the Marine Corps, but to the entire U.S. military.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book. I didn't know much about the history of the marines and this book covers some amazing stories. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Melissa OShaughnessy