The most recommended Marine books

Who picked these books? Meet our 34 experts.

34 authors created a book list connected to United States Marines, and here are their favorite United States Marine books.
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Book cover of Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II

Robert C. Daniels Author Of 1220 Days: The Story of U.S. Marine Edmond Babler and His Experiences in Japanese Prisoner of War Camps During World War II

From my list on World War II POWs.

Who am I?

History has always been a strong part of me since I can remember. My heart has always laid in reading, studying, researching, and writing about it, and World War II history is a large part of that. When writing about World War II, I like to visit topics that relate to the everyday person, not well-known generals and admirals. I like to interview people about their experiences and write their stories, what they saw, lived through, witnessed. Both of my books are based upon this concept, how everyday people lived their lives during World War II.

Robert's book list on World War II POWs

Robert C. Daniels Why did Robert love this book?

Last Man Out is the true account of a U.S. Marine who surrendered to the Japanese on the Philippine Island of Corregidor. I find this book and its account very interesting because Ed Babler was at the very same POW camp on the Island of Palawan during the time that Glenn McDole was and only escaped being murdered by the Japanese with the bulk of the rest of the Marines there due to having been injured and transferred off prior to the massacre. Last Man Out tells the harrowing account of the massacre and how McDole was able to escape, one of the very few to do so.

By Bob Wilbanks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Man Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On December 14, 1944, Japanese soldiers massacred 139 of 150 American POWs. This biography tells the story of Glenn (""Mac"") McDole, one of eleven young men who escaped and the last man out of Palawan Prison Camp 10A. Beginning on December 8, 1941, at the U.S. Navy Yard barracks at Cavite, the story of this young lowan soldier continues through the fighting on Corregidor, the capture and imprisonment by the Japanese Imperial Army in May 1942, Mac's entry into the Palawan prison camp in the Philippines on August 12, 1942, the terrible conditions he and his comrades endured in the…


Book cover of Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines

Marcus Hammarberg Author Of Salvation: The Bungsu Story

From my list on leadership and change management.

Who am I?

Get agile to work in practice - is my motto. This led me to take interest in Kanban, Lean, TDD, Specification by example, cloud and serverless technologies. I have more than 20 years experience of doing agile and helping companies small and large, primarily in Sweden. Between 2014 and 2016 I worked for the Salvation Army in Indonesia to help the health services there to become more effective. Between 2018-2023 I created a bootcamp for the School of Applied Technology where we trained the next generation of agile developers. I have presented at many international conferences in Europe and Asia and I've written two books, Kanban in Action and Salvation: The Bungsu Story.

Marcus' book list on leadership and change management

Marcus Hammarberg Why did Marcus love this book?

This is a little gem that not that many people have read. If you have Air Force, Army, and Navy - why would you need anything more? Well, US Marines have chaos and unpredictability as their normality.

This book describes how they work with values and culture to build small autonomous teams that can still cooperate with a larger unit to achieve amazing things where others fail. I’ve found the book highly inspiring, and although I read it for the first time over 12 years ago, I still come back to it frequently.

By David H Freedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Corps Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fast. Motivated. Hard-hitting.

That's what every business wants to be. And that's why the U.S. Marines excel in every mission American throws at them, no matter how tough the odds. In Corps Business, journalist David H. Freeman identifies the Marine's simple but devastatingly effective principles for managing people and resources -- and ultimately winning. Freedman discusses such techniques as "the rule of three," "managing by end state," and the "70% solution," to show how they can be applied to business solutions.


Book cover of Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

Ronny Bruce Author Of The Grunts of Wrath: A Memoir Examining Modern War and Mental Health

From my list on infantry life during modern war.

Who am I?

I’m an OG ATLien (born in Atlanta, Georgia) and served in the US Marine Corps and the US Army. I hold a degree from Kennesaw State University and taught high school social studies from 2004 - 2006, before my military reenlistment which jumpstarted the events in my memoir.   

Ronny's book list on infantry life during modern war

Ronny Bruce Why did Ronny love this book?

It’d be hard to imagine a former marine, who served during the 1980’s or 1990’s, not identifying with Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead.

Swofford and his unit land in the desert sand to kickoff Operation Desert Shield, and months of boredom, anxiety, and self-doubt blanket the men. This isn’t your typical “shoot ‘em up bang bang” war diary. In fact, Swofford is a sniper who never fires a shot.

But months of patrolling an empty desert, living “the suck” life, eagerly awaiting a war to start, and the fear of the unknown drag on these marines and test their sanity. After months of grinding, the Gulf War begins then quickly ends. 

By Anthony Swofford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jarhead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anthony Swofford's Jarhead is the first Gulf War memoir by a frontline infantry marine, and it is a searing, unforgettable narrative.
When the marines -- or "jarheads," as they call themselves -- were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper's rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one…


Book cover of Echo in Ramadi: The Firsthand Story of US Marines in Iraq's Deadliest City

Johnnie M. Clark Author Of Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

From my list on war and the Marines.

Who am I?

As a combat Marine, I believe these books honor the brave men who served and died for America. I joined the Marine Corps at 17 years of age after graduating from St. Petersburg High School. I served as a machine gunner with the famed 5th Marine Regiment during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. I was wounded 3 times by mortar round, grenade, and gunshot. I've written nine books around these subjects as well as an off-Broadway stage play titled The Battle For Nong Son. Many of my books are recommended reading for all newly commissioned officers at The Basic School. I am the recipient of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association Brigadier General Robert L. Denig Memorial Distinguished Service Award for writing, as well as the Silver Star, 3 Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Civil Action Combat Medal, and the Marine Combat Ribbon among other decorations.

Johnnie's book list on war and the Marines

Johnnie M. Clark Why did Johnnie love this book?

Major Scott Huesing is a Marine after my own heart. He was once a Lance Corporal and understands the Corps from top to bottom. He was the combat leader for Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines during their bloody battles in the deadliest city of the Iraq War. Reading this book taught an old Marine what the new Corps is like.

By Scott A. Huesing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Echo in Ramadi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 Gold Medal Award, Best Military History Memoir, Military Writers Society of America

Ranked in the "Top 10 Military Books of 2018" by Military Times. 

"In war, destruction is everywhere. It eats everything around you. Sometimes it eats at you." —Major Scott Huesing, Echo Company Commander

From the winter of 2006 through the spring of 2007, two-hundred-fifty Marines from Echo Company, Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment fought daily in the dangerous, dense city streets of Ramadi, Iraq during the Multi-National Forces Surge ordered by President George W. Bush. The Marines' mission: to kill or capture anti-Iraqi forces.…


Book cover of Fives and Twenty-Fives

Darin Pepple Author Of Dodgebomb: Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War

From my list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense.

Who am I?

Being an Iraq War veteran and former Army officer, I cringe at the prevailing Hollywood cliché that stereotypes everyone that served in Iraq as Special Forces with crazy PTSD or being some broken human being. It’s apparent that popular movies and books on this war were produced without any veteran input, usually done by authors completely unfamiliar with the military and this region. I wrote my book Dodgebomb to insert reality into the narrative—that most servicemembers were regular men and women who expertly fought jihadists, rebuilt this country, and tried to instill democratic self-determination while reconciling impossible political and strategic goals that muddled completing the job.

Darin's book list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense

Darin Pepple Why did Darin love this book?

This novel about a U.S. Marine Corps road clearance platoon is one of the few fiction books out there that genuinely conveys the Iraq War experience. The deployment story, intertwined with post-war vignettes from its primary characters, captures the authentic perspectives and sensory feel of daily patrols in Anbar without the hackneyed action hero plot lines usually tacked on to sell books. Its accurate detailing of Marine Corps culture while translating it for the uninitiated with the author’s talented prose makes this a compelling and insightful journey into what this war was.

By Michael Pitre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fives and Twenty-Fives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the rule-always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.

Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine's life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel.…


Book cover of Honor Bound: An American Story of Dreams and Service

Robert Stewart Author Of No Greater Duty

From my list on duty and courage in peace and war.

Who am I?

I have been fortunate to write and publish three books on America’s service academies: two on the U.S. Naval Academy, and one on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The two nonfiction books were appealing photographic and narrative presentations of academy life at Navy and West Point. The third, my debut novel happening at the Naval Academy, is an inspiring tale of moral courage and dedication to duty with war and peacetime conflicts. Each book was a rewarding creative project.

Robert's book list on duty and courage in peace and war

Robert Stewart Why did Robert love this book?

I was aware Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath was the first female U.S. Marine Corps aviator in history selected to pilot the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet warplane; and to fly combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I learned and admired much more reading her compelling biography of a life devoted to family, community, and service to the country. A childhood interest in military aircraft led her to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and become a commissioned officer who earned and wore the gold wings of a Marine Corps pilot. She successfully changed a federal law that had prohibited women from flying in combat; now they do. Today she promotes greater citizen participation by Americans for their communities and our nation.

By Amy McGrath, Chris Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Honor Bound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiring story of the first female Marine to fly a combat mission in an F/A-18—and the transformative events that led to her bold decision to take on the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate.

Amy McGrath grew up in Edgewood, Kentucky, a childhood shaped by love of country, baseball (the Cincinnati Reds), and, from the age of twelve, a fascination with fighter jets. Her devastation at learning that a federal law prohibited women from flying in combat fueled her determination to do just that--and then, to help change the laws to improve the lives of all Americans.

McGrath…


Book cover of Phase Line Green: The Battle for Hue, 1968

William W. Stilwagen Author Of VIETNAM War SPEAK: The Distinctive Language of the Vietnam Era

From my list on the Vietnam War from a Marone who served there.

Who am I?

I served in Vietnam in 1969 carrying a radio on my back with the 12th Marines on the DMZ. In 1970, I was a door gunner with HMM-364 (Purple Fox Squadron) out of Marble Mountain. Beginning in 1996, I have led 68 tours for veterans, their family members, historians, active-duty military personnel, and others to the jungles, mountains, and battlefields of Vietnam. I currently serve as president and bush guide for the non-profit tour company, Vietnam Battlefield Tours. As an avid reader of non-fiction books on the Vietnam experience, this knowledge base has helped tremendously in my non-profit volunteer service.

William's book list on the Vietnam War from a Marone who served there

William W. Stilwagen Why did William love this book?

It is rare when an actual participant of a battle can produce such a chilling and accurate narrative that keeps a reader’s attention page after page. This was the Tet Offensive urban battle for the Citadel, a walled city containing a labyrinth of buildings and houses jammed around numerous narrow streets. This was city fighting at its worst. In the end, many thousands of the enemy lay dead.

By Nicholas Warr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phase Line Green as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bloody, month-long battle for the Citadel in Hue during 1968 pitted U.S. Marines against an entrenched, numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force. By official U.S. accounts it was a tactical and moral victory for the Marines and the United States. But a survivor's compulsion to square official accounts with his contrasting experience has produced an entirely different perspective of the battle, the most controversial to emerge from the Vietnam War in decades.

In some of the most frank, vivid prose to come out of the war, author Nicholas Warr describes with urgency and outrage the Marines' savage house-to-house fighting,…


Book cover of Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps

Beth Bailey Author Of An Army Afire: How the US Army Confronted Its Racial Crisis in the Vietnam Era

From my list on unexpected histories of the US military.

Who am I?

I started my career as a historian of gender and sexuality, but in what I sometimes describe as a mid-career crisis I became a historian of the US Army. I love doing research in archives, piecing together the scraps of stories and conversations into a broader whole, figuring out how people made sense of the world they lived in. The books I write make arguments that I hope will be useful to other historians and to military leaders, but I also want people to enjoy reading them. 

Beth's book list on unexpected histories of the US military

Beth Bailey Why did Beth love this book?

Aaron O’Connell, himself a former Marine, gives us the line commonly attributed to army officer:

“In the army a squad consists of thirteen men. In the Marine Corps it consists of twelve men and a press agent.” In this very readable work, he shows us how the Marine Corps developed its identity and, in essence, built its brand—as a means to claiming public support and resources as the services struggled for position and prominence in the years following World War II.

By Aaron B. O'Connell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Underdogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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. Marines believe in nothing more strongly than the Corps' uniqueness and superiority, and this undying faith in its own exceptionalism is what has made the Marines one of the sharpest, swiftest tools of American military power. Along with unapologetic self-promotion, a strong sense of identity has enabled the Corps to exert a powerful influence on American politics and culture. Aaron O'Connell focuses on the period from World War II to Vietnam, when the…


Book cover of Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines' Finest Hour in Vietnam

John Podlaski Author Of Cherries: A Vietnam War Novel

From my list on about the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

I served as an infantryman in Vietnam with both the 25th ID and the 101st Airborne. Curiosity about what other units did during the war drove me to read about their exploits and learn about what else took place outside of my little part of the war. I am also the admin of a website dedicated to the Vietnam War and its Warriors. My intent over the last eleven years is to educate the public and continue our legacy.  

John's book list on about the Vietnam War

John Podlaski Why did John love this book?

The Last Stand at Khe Sanh was an intriguing read that documented the 77-day siege of the Marine basecamp. It seems like the author took the after-action reports about the events and then humanized the report and breaking it down to squad-level action to make it more readable. I especially like how he listed names of personnel and followed them through the battle where they either portrayed valor or shows how they died. My close friend, Doc Cecala was wounded during an ambush while on a patrol with B 1/26; most of his platoon was killed and at least half of the second which came to reinforce them. Shot in the shoulder and legs, he managed to crawl back to the gates of the firebase and be rescued.

The book also does justice to the hill fights surrounding the base, showing how they worked through their difficulties: ground attacks, incoming,…

By Gregg Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Stand at Khe Sanh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Last Stand at Khe Sanh is a vivid, fast-paced account of the dramatic 1968 confrontation, when 6,000 US Marines held off 30,000 North Vietnamese Army regulars at a remote mountain stronghold. Based on extensive archival research and more than 100 interviews with participants, author Gregg Jones captures the courage and camaraderie of the defenders and delivers the fullest account yet of this epic battle.


Book cover of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Kit Chapman Author Of Racing Green: How Motorsport Science Can Save the World

From my list on science stories you won’t believe are true.

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning science journalist at Falmouth University, UK, and have written for just about every major science magazine going. When I’m not teaching, I try and emulate Indiana Jones by going off on incredible adventures – so far, my hunt for stories in the name of science has taken me to 75 countries and every continent. Science writing doesn’t have to be dull: I adore the weird, quirky stories of science history, about humans being brilliant idiots and somehow making our world a better place.

Kit's book list on science stories you won’t believe are true

Kit Chapman Why did Kit love this book?

Mary Roach is an absolute treasure as a science writer: not only hilarious, but often insightful. I’ll admit, when I wrote my first book, I always wondered "what would Mary Roach do?" when I came to a tricky bit. Grunt isn’t her best-known work, but it’s my favourite because it looks at something only she could do well: non-violent science in the military. The only gun, she writes, is the one that fires frozen chickens at windscreens to see if they can withstand the impact. This is a book about how to keep soldiers safe from the enemy, cool in the desert, and stop Navy SEALS from pooping their pants.

By Mary Roach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries-panic, exhaustion, heat, noise-and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa,…