Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps

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9780674416819: Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps

The Marine Corps has always considered itself a breed apart. Since 1775 America s smallest armed service has been suspicious of outsiders and deeply loyal to its traditions. Undying faith in its exceptionalism made the Marines one of the sharpest, swiftest tools of American military power, but developing this brand did not come without costs.

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About the Author :

Aaron B. O’Connell is Director of Defense Policy and Strategy on the National Security Council and a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Review :

O'Connell [separates myth from reality] with brio in his absorbing account of the Marines between 1941 and 1965.--Max Boot"Wall Street Journal" (12/18/2012)

[A] thoroughly researched and splendidly written book.--John R. Coyne, Jr."Washington Times" (12/21/2012)

O'Connell, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, analyzes the development of the corps' culture from World War II to the Vietnam era. The Marine ethos was defined by a commitment to toughness ingrained at boot camp and a willingness to suffer reinforced by the high casualties the corps experienced in World War II and the Korean War. O'Connell does not shrink from describing the physical and mental toll this culture takes on individual marines and the violent behavior, drunkenness, and domestic abuse that represent its dark side. He also details the organization's relentless self-promotion, which helped turn it from the least to the most admired of the services and guaranteed its independence. The corps has a deserved reputation for assiduously cultivating politicians, journalists, and filmmakers to help burnish its public image and win bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. This is an honest, but not unsympathetic, take on the Marines and a fine contribution to the study of military culture.--Lawrence D. Freedman"Foreign Affairs" (01/01/2013)

O'Connell has penned an important, extraordinary volume--wonderfully descriptive, copiously referenced, and richly punctuated by anecdotal presentations...A wonderful book, but more importantly, a significant addition to military historical literature.--J. Stanley"Choice" (04/01/2013)

As well as detailing the inner psychological effects of front-line fighting on Marines, O'Connell describes how war turns public opinion, and how the Corps employed the media, movies, and Congressional support to build a positive public relations network.--C. D. Quyn"Sacramento Book Review" (02/15/2013)

A superb cultural history of the modern U.S. Marine Corps. This book makes a significant and original contribution to both the military history of the Cold War and the ongoing conversation about the militarization of American culture.--Beth Bailey, author of "America's Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force"

A brilliant synthesis of military and cultural history. "Underdogs" will do for Marine Corps history what Peter Karsten's "The Naval Aristocracy" did for naval history.--Ronald H. Spector, author of "In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia"

"Underdogs" is a probing history of one of the most storied institutions in American life: the United States Marine Corps. Aaron O'Connell takes readers inside the culture of the Corps to explore its strengths, its weaknesses, and the lessons it can teach to us all.--Nathaniel Fick, author of "One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer"

This fascinating and sometimes frightening cultural history highlights the Marines' exceptional agility in catering to and cultivating the changing needs of American power, and the costs of doing so.--Michael S. Sherry, author of "The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon"

O'Connell's depth offers military professionals, serious history enthusiasts and ordinary armchair buffs enlightening insights via easy-to-understand explanations of why the Corps always has considered itself unique and superior to the other U.S. Armed Forces...O'Connell patiently cuts through the origins of the USMC's cultural power, delineating its maneuvers, contradictions and effects on mid-20th-century American life...[Underdogs] deserves high honor and distinction.--Don DeNevi"Leatherneck" (10/01/2012)

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