The best Marine books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about United States Marines and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Naughty Heroes

By Nicole Austin, N.J. Walters, Belle Scarlett, Katherine Kingston, Elizabeth Lapthorne

Book cover of Naughty Heroes: In And Out Of Uniform

Sometimes I don’t have time for my steamy military fixes. In those cases, I like to read novellas or even short stories. Naughty Heroes is just that. Sitting in the doctor’s office (free, guilt-free reading time), I can get through at least one of these sexy stories. Have just half an hour to yourself at lunch? One of these tales will fit neatly into that time frame. I like killing two birds with one stone if it means I can enjoy a naughty Marine at break time…

Naughty Heroes

By Nicole Austin, N.J. Walters, Belle Scarlett, Katherine Kingston, Elizabeth Lapthorne

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NAUGHTY HEROES
In And Out Of Uniform

A collection of UNFORGETTABLE HEROES

Featuring NY Times, USA Today, Amazon & International bestselling authors!
Written by the Naughty Literati™
N.J. Walters, Nicole Austin, Belle Scarlett, Katherine Kingston, and Elizabeth Lapthorne.

Contents

MARINE ON A MISSION
N.J. Walters
When Mitch McCoy left rural Kentucky to join the U.S. Marines he never thought he'd return. Now he's undercover with a state drug task force. He's not only facing his past, but also Sara Hawkins, the woman who broke his heart. This investigation will risk their lives and their hearts.

SEX BOMB
Nicole Austin
From…

Who am I?

Passionate military members are my jam, and I feel pretty confident writing about them. First, I write erotic romance myself, giving me something of an inside view of what makes a good erotic romance with a military vibe. Second, I read a lot of them. Even if the story is a mite slow, you’ve got that alpha military guy who’s going to pull the story out. Or at least, that’s the way it’s worked in every military erotic romance I’ve read. Last, as I mentioned earlier, I was raised in the Navy. I’ve seen lots of men in uniform and the sight never fails to give me a thrill. I think I recognize that passion when I see it.


I wrote...

Naval Maneuvers

By Dee S. Knight,

Book cover of Naval Maneuvers

What is my book about?

Love and romance involving men and women of the armed forces are pretty much like they are for everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of "duty, honor, and service" as they might be applied to a woman. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which (maybe) you'd better be armed.

Dear Military Teen

By Shanon Hyde,

Book cover of Dear Military Teen: Moving, Deployments, and Winning The Game of High School

There aren’t many military-focused books for teenagers, so I’m pleased to recommend this one. Teens face challenges just by being teens; add the complication of deployment separation and life can be extra daunting. The author, a 20-year Marine Corps brat, shares his wisdom and experiences in this straight-talk, no-nonsense guide.

Dear Military Teen

By Shanon Hyde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his book, ‘Dear Military Teen,’ Shanon Hyde explores crucial life lessons in the obstacles that military brats face. Reflecting on the moves and deployments that his own family endured, Shanon provides honest advice for military teens looking to take their next steps in high school, college, and beyond.
“No military teen should ever feel like they are the first ones to undergo a tough transition,” Shanon explains. “This book serves as a reminder that they are not alone.”
Shanon also equips military teens with the essential skills of maintaining friendships over distance, navigate new social environments, and effectively chase…

Who am I?

I know the pain of separations. Navy doctor father. Missionary kid at boarding school in India. Military wife. Military mother. Separations suck. So when my three-year-old grandchild Lily struggled with her daddy’s deployment in 2010, I felt her pain. I composed the story and used personal photos to illustrate Lily Hates Goodbyes. Whenever we read about book Lily’s emotions, my Lily would say, “Just like me!” Wanting other children to have this cathartic experience, I hired Nathan Stoltenberg, a brilliant illustrator, and self-published the book. It’s available in a Navy version and an All Military version—the only difference is daddy’s uniform. Book Lily is a friend to young military children around the world. 


I wrote...

Lily Hates Goodbyes

By Jerilyn Marler, Nathan Stoltenberg (illustrator),

Book cover of Lily Hates Goodbyes

What is my book about?

Lily sometimes has to say goodbye to her Daddy for about a billion days. She feels a swirl of unhappy emotions that can be scary. She aches to feel connected to her Daddy while he's deployed. With Mommy’s help, Lily learns how to cope with her emotions and to be happy in her daily life while she looks forward to a joyful hello when Daddy gets home. 

Jarhead

By Anthony Swofford,

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

Anthony Swofford made a non-fiction book read like fiction. Period. He set the standard for writing about the “hurry up and wait” of the military. The grit of the sand in your mouth as you witness things that don’t feel right. And what happens when we go to fight abroad and come back different. I read this prior to deployment and it helped cast a light on what sacrifice can mean after we get out. 

Jarhead

By Anthony Swofford,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…

Who am I?

Before I’m a writer, I’m a reader and I need the realness when it comes to military service. I started as an Army journalist so the details matter to me. When I pick up a book to relax and the main character draws me with a story I can get all the five senses of it, I’m in! On the other hand, I'm usually turned off by books that use veterans as props or either heroes or villains with nothing in between. That’s not who I served with. Where was the gray of the human existence in veteran characters? Gimme books that bring more depth to characters that round out personal experience. 


I wrote...

Beyond Sacrifice

By Alicia Dill,

Book cover of Beyond Sacrifice

What is my book about?

Concepcion Chapa, an Army veteran, FBI special agent, and the orphaned daughter of two CIA agents, has lived a life of sacrifice for her country. When she learns that her parents may not be dead, just undercover, she allows herself to be recruited as a killer-for-hire for the CIA. Faking her death and undergoing surgery to change her looks, Concepcion leaves everything behind-her friends, family, and country. Under the identity of Sofia Paltrini, she travels the globe doing the dirty work of the US government. But in a world of subterfuge and hidden motives, no one is quite who they seem. Concepcion is left not knowing who to trust and wondering if there's a way to live a life for herself that's beyond sacrifice.

The Last Stand of Fox Company

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Book cover of The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat

Shortly after the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, the First Marine Division was fighting the North Korean army in the north of the Korean Peninsula. In the fall of 1950, the Chinese suddenly entered the war and the First Division Marines became surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Chinese soldiers near the Chosin Reservoir. The only way they could survive was to fight their way south through a narrow valley. Fox Company led by Captain William Barber fought a long cold struggle against the surrounding Chinese. During the relentless violence, three-quarters of Fox’s Marines were killed, wounded, or captured. Just when it looked like they would be overrun, Lt. Colonel Raymond Davis, who is fighting south from Chosin, volunteers to lead a daring mission that will seek to cut a hole in the Chinese lines and relieve the men of Fox.

The Last Stand of Fox Company

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Stand of Fox Company as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "gut-clenching and meticulously detailed" (USA Today) account from the Korean War and how Captain William Barber led 246 courageous Marines of the Seventh Marine Regiment in the perilous defense of Fox Hill.

November 1950, the Korean Peninsula: After General MacArthur ignores Mao’s warnings and pushes his UN forces deep into North Korea, his 10,000 First Division Marines find themselves surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered by 100,000 Chinese soldiers near the Chosin Reservoir. Their only chance for survival is to fight their way south through the Toktong Pass, a narrow gorge that will need to be held open at all costs.…


Who am I?

James Neal Butcher is a professor emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. At age 17, he enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War. He served 2 years in a parachute infantry division (82nd Airborne). He volunteered for service in the Korean War and served one year as an infantry soldier in the 17th Infantry Regiment during the war including the battles for Jane Russell Hill in October 1952 and Pork Chop Hill in April 1953. In 2013 he published a memoir of his early life and his military experience Korea: Traces of a forgotten war. 


I wrote...

Korea: Traces of a Forgotten War

By James N. Butcher,

Book cover of Korea: Traces of a Forgotten War

What is my book about?

The Korean War is often referred to as the forgotten war. In his book, Professor James N. Butcher relives his experiences as an infantryman with Fox Company of the 17th Infantry Regiment, during the final year of the Korean War (1952-1953). In a graphic portrayal of living conditions on the front, Butcher describes combat actions that occurred in two major battles of this period the Battle for Jane Russell Hill (a part of Triangle Ridge) and the First Battle of Pork Chop Hill and makes a strong case for why we as Americans need to remember what happened there and why.

To Hear Silence

By Ronald W. Hoffman,

Book cover of To Hear Silence: Charlie Battery 1st Battalion 13th Marines: The First 15 Months

This is a memoir that does not read like a memoir. It brings to the reader the harsh reality of war and a personal perspective on how one perceives war, told without shame or bravado. The reader is brought full circle from the fighting and destruction in 1967-68 to standing on the same battlefields some 45 years later, in peace.

To Hear Silence

By Ronald W. Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To Hear Silence is the history of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, from the time of its formation at Camp Horno, California, in July 1966, until the original members left Vietnam in early October 1967.Although partly written in narrative format, this book paints an accurate portrayal of the experiences of what really happened in 1966 and 1967 through its day-to-day, and often minute-to-minute, accounts of the members' time in Vietnam.This book is based on a diary kept by the author while in Vietnam, the actual declassified documents kept by the Marine Corps, and the memories of those who lived…

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.


I wrote...

VIETNAM War SPEAK: The Distinctive Language of the Vietnam Era

By William W. Stilwagen,

Book cover of VIETNAM War SPEAK: The Distinctive Language of the Vietnam Era

What is my book about?

If there ever was a time worthy of its own vernacular, it is the Vietnam Era. A generation split by peace and war spawned a library of lingo, slang, and fresh new words like no era before it. The warriors found that the torch had been passed to them by an assassinated president. It motivated them to bear any burden and to pay any price. And they created a second language to augment what they brought with them.

In this book, you will find over 2,500 terms, acronyms, jargon, slang expressions, and various lingo transported to you by Vietnam servicemen who showed remarkable insight into their own generational place in history. It is not a language for the timid nor the politically correct. But it is the language of reality.

American Sniper

By Richard Lyle,

Book cover of American Sniper: Chuck Mawhinney

There are many books, some greatly fictionalized, claiming just who was the most effective USMC sniper in Vietnam.  Although extremely brief, this book confirms just who was the top Marine sniper in the Vietnam War.  Mawhinney had 103 kills.  Unlike other snipers who have embellished their accomplishments, Mawhinney has remained modest and off the grid.  He alone sits at the top of the list of "Marine snipers with the most kills."

American Sniper

By Richard Lyle,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I served as an infantry platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, and rifle company commander in Vietnam and observed the direct results of snipers. I am the author of 30 non-fiction books on the military (six specifically about the Vietnam War), sports, and health that have sold more than 1.1 million copies in 15 countries and 12 languages.


I wrote...

Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam

By Michael Lee Lanning,

Book cover of Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam

What is my book about?

At the start of the war in Vietnam, the United States had no snipers; by the end of the war, Marine and army precision marksmen had killed more than 10,000 NVA and VC soldiers--the equivalent of an entire division--at the cost of under 20,000 bullets, proving that long-range shooters still had a place in the battlefield. Now noted military historian Michael Lee Lanning shows how U.S. snipers in Vietnam--combining modern technology in weapons, ammunition, and telescopes--used the experience and traditions of centuries of expert shooters to perfect their craft.

Echo in Ramadi

By Scott A. Huesing,

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

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.

Echo in Ramadi

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.…

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.


I wrote...

Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

By Johnnie M. Clark,

Book cover of Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

What is my book about?

"Guns up!" was the battle cry that sent machine gunners racing forward with their M60s to mow down the enemy, hoping that this wasn't the day they would meet their deaths. Marine Johnnie Clark heard that the life expectancy of a machine gunner in Vietnam was seven to ten seconds after a firefight began. Johnnie was only eighteen when he got there, at the height of the bloody Tet Offensive, and he quickly realized the grim statistic held a chilling truth.

The Marines who fought and bled and died were ordinary men, many still teenagers, but the selfless bravery they showed day after day in a nightmarish jungle war made them true heroes. This new edition is filled with photographs and updated information about those harrowing battles, also contains the real names of these extraordinary warriors and details of their lives after the war. The book's continuing success is a tribute to the raw courage and sacrifice of the United States Marines.

West to Cambodia

By S.L.A. Marshall,

Book cover of West to Cambodia

Slam Marshall is the author of many books about the American military. He was a Brigadier General and served in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. This book will give the reader a view of what it’s like to fight under the worst possible conditions, under constant surveillance, and over ground where the enemy continually held the advantage. This is a tribute to the GIs who fought those impossible battles.

West to Cambodia

By S.L.A. Marshall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Marshall, S. L. A.

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.


I wrote...

Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

By Johnnie M. Clark,

Book cover of Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

What is my book about?

"Guns up!" was the battle cry that sent machine gunners racing forward with their M60s to mow down the enemy, hoping that this wasn't the day they would meet their deaths. Marine Johnnie Clark heard that the life expectancy of a machine gunner in Vietnam was seven to ten seconds after a firefight began. Johnnie was only eighteen when he got there, at the height of the bloody Tet Offensive, and he quickly realized the grim statistic held a chilling truth.

The Marines who fought and bled and died were ordinary men, many still teenagers, but the selfless bravery they showed day after day in a nightmarish jungle war made them true heroes. This new edition is filled with photographs and updated information about those harrowing battles, also contains the real names of these extraordinary warriors and details of their lives after the war. The book's continuing success is a tribute to the raw courage and sacrifice of the United States Marines.

Book cover of Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1)

Smokepit Fairytales is one of the most provocative, original and surreal works of military science fiction I’ve ever read. Written by US Marine veteran Tripp Ainsworth, Smokepit Fairytales is the first book in an epic series following the trials and tribulations of a small band of Marines. Each of the characters in this book are normal, flawed human beings trying to pass the boredom in between deployments with anything they can do to distract themselves. When a war unexpectedly breaks out, they must face down their fears and band together to get the job done and get home in once piece.

This book is not for the fainthearted, but from the sheer volume of 5-star rankings on Amazon, it is not one to be missed.

Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1)

By Tripp Ainsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smokepit Fairytales (Volume 1) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hank and his trusty Corpsman, "Doc," only thought they knew what to expect when they were deployed to Iraq, but after getting trapped in an ancient Babylonian temple, things only got weird. After months of combat in a war that wouldn't end, Hank returns to California to face a different type of immigrant, the kind that comes from space.
Follow Hank through this wildly imaginative science fiction romp as he tries to figure out what it means to be human, or if he even still is one.

Who am I?

I served for seven years in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces, finishing as a weapons specialist in the infantry. I’m very grateful for the time I served in uniform and the lifelong lessons I learned that have helped me in my personal and professional life. Being a lifelong fan of military science fiction, I wrote Big Red from the point of view of a young Irish soldier thrown into a genocidal war on Mars. I’m a co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community and our online magazine Bard of the Isles.


I wrote...

Big Red

By Damien Larkin,

Book cover of Big Red

What is my book about?

Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, Irish soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth’s Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy. But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is…

Phase Line Green

By Nicholas Warr,

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

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.

Phase Line Green

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,…

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.


I wrote...

VIETNAM War SPEAK: The Distinctive Language of the Vietnam Era

By William W. Stilwagen,

Book cover of VIETNAM War SPEAK: The Distinctive Language of the Vietnam Era

What is my book about?

If there ever was a time worthy of its own vernacular, it is the Vietnam Era. A generation split by peace and war spawned a library of lingo, slang, and fresh new words like no era before it. The warriors found that the torch had been passed to them by an assassinated president. It motivated them to bear any burden and to pay any price. And they created a second language to augment what they brought with them.

In this book, you will find over 2,500 terms, acronyms, jargon, slang expressions, and various lingo transported to you by Vietnam servicemen who showed remarkable insight into their own generational place in history. It is not a language for the timid nor the politically correct. But it is the language of reality.

Or, view all 17 books about United States Marines

New book lists related to United States Marines

All book lists related to United States Marines

Bookshelves related to United States Marines