November 10th is the Marine Corps Birthday, the biggest day of celebration in the Marines. I served in the 1980s and since then have been an on-again/off-again reader of Marine Corps history and lives. I’m currently in an on-again phase. So on Saturday I took a drive to The Book Barn in Niantic, CT to browse their military section, which is rather sizable and well organized. I wanted to discover a few “new” books about or by Marines.
I came home with three:
Like every new recruit, I learned about Smedley Butler (1881-1940) in boot camp. Butler is one of the most decorated Marines in history. What I didn’t learn in boot camp is that after Butler retired from the Marines he became an outspoken opponent of war and railed against the extreme wealth war created for a few Americans at the expense of many. In the post WWI years he gave speeches against war profiteering which he turned into a book called War is a Racket.
Paul Harper grew up in Evanston, IL, attended Yale, and served in Marines as an officer during WWII. I look forward to reading his self-published memoir. I Googled Mr. Harper and found his obituary. He passed just last December at the age of 92. RIP and Semper Fi, Sir.
I owned a copy of Fix Bayonets! by John W. Thomason (1893-1944) back when I was active duty and think I read it, but I’m not sure. I remember teasing my grandmother when she couldn’t remember if she’d read a particular book or not and now here I am with one foot in the same boat. When you’re a teenager you don’t realize that, if you’re lucky, there are decades and decades of books yet to come in your reading life. Anyway, this edition includes illustrations by Thomason who published over 60 short stories, articles, and several books (see his Wikipedia page).
I also purchased Emma by Jane Austen. A local book group is discussing Emma later this month and if I can squeeze in some extra reading time I’d like to join them.
Well, now, didn’t this post take a Sesame Street-like turn into One of These Things is Not Like the Others?
Do you have a favorite military related book you’d like to recommend? Please leave it in the comments below!
And an early Happy Veterans Day to those of you who have served!