The Marine Corps Professional Reading Program List
All marines are expected to read throughout their time in service. In 1989, the
Commandant's list was originated to encourage Marines to read and discuss their readings
to enhance learning about their profession of arms. It was meant to be an ever-evolving
list. Originally, they book recommendations were divided by enlisted rank, with each rank
expected to read a certain number of books each year on the recommended list (and officers
to read twice that number). The Commandants Reading List has evolved to
the U.S. Marine Reading Program. Below are some of my own favorites from the
Commandant's recommended reading for Privates, Privates First Class, Lance Corporals
- The Bridge at
Dong Ha by John Grider Miller
The real story of a Marine Corps hero in Vietnam.
Science Fiction by Robert A. Heinlein
Mobile Infantry and see the Universe! Classic sci-fi tale gives a detailed, realistic look
at futuristic war and an incisive view on how a citizen-soldier army works. And in this
society, if you haven't served in the military you are not a citizen, since only those who
have laid their lives on the line for their country get to have a say in how it is run.
Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
Just 32 pages long (and priced under $2.00), provides motivating lessons of initiative and
loyalty. Inspired by a conversation between the author and his son about the real hero of
the Cuban War, a lone officer who simply did the right thing. Written in 1899, proving
that basic, core values do not change over time.
- The United States Marines : A History
by Edwin Howard Simmons, Charles C. Krulak
Paperback, 400 pages, list price $19.95
The third edition of Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Simmons's
popular history of the U.S. Marine Corps. It reflects the latest scholarship on events
reaching back to the Corps's beginnings in November 1775, when the Second Continental
Congress authorized two battalions of American Marines, to 2001. As updated, it includes
material on the tumultuous events of the last quarter-century in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama,
the Persian Gulf, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Haiti. The book provides a lively chronicle of
the Corps's participation in all the nation's wars, from the American Revolution to Desert
Storm. Highlights of the work are the Marines' legendary contributions at such places as
Bladensburg, Guantanamo, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Chosin, Hue,
and Khe Sanh. While the focus of this history is on the big wars, it never slights events
in between, among them the humanitarian missions that have helped define the Corps. Nor
does the author neglect the intermittent but never-ending fight for the Corps's survival
at home where it faces periodic challenges from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and on
occasion, unfriendly presidents. Few writers know the subject as intimately as General
Simmons, who writes from firsthand experience in three wars and as the longtime head of
the Corps's history division.
Commandant's recommended reading for Corporals and Sergeants
Leon Uris's famous novel about life in
the jaws of death in the U.S. Marine Corps. Here are the men from the cities, farms, and
whistle-stops. Here are the tough kids and the mama's boys, the liars and the lovers, the
goldbricks and the heroes. Here are the men who made up the most courageous fighting force
on the face of he earth -- in the best novel about them ever written.
Moving, shocking, tense, and glorious, here is a magnificent saga of
men at war.
by Orson Scott Card, Science Fiction
Synopsis: Aliens have attacked earth twice and almost destroyed the
human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken
to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them to the arts of war ... The early
training, not surprisingly, takes the form of "games" ... Ender Wiggin is a
genius among geniuses; he wins all the games ... He is smart enough to know that time is
running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?
Old Man's Trail: a Novel about the Vietcong
by Tom Campbell
Men: The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps
by John C. Chapin
368 pages, List price $29.95
Who were these leaders? How did they achieve their
position as the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps - the enlisted man's general? Marine
Captain John Chapin provides the answers to these and other questions in Uncommon Men: The
Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps. This book is a study of the careers, lives, and
working environment of the first eleven men to hold the senior enlisted billet in the
United States Marine Corps.
Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane
The Life of Chesty Puller
by Burke Davis
Paperback, list price $7.50
Chesty Puller enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1918 at the age of 20. He chased bandits in
Haiti and Nicaragua, commanded the Horse Marines in Peking, battled his way from island to
bloody island in the Pacific, led the landing at Inchon, and fought the most savage
rearguard action of the Korean War. He became a legend in his own time, yet was forced
into early retirement. Here is the explosive true story of the most courageous and
controversial commander of them all a fabulous tale of a real-life hero.
in the Streets: The Battle for Hue Tet 1968
by Eric Hammel
Definitive history of the battle where Marines and soldiers wrested Vietnam's royal city
from crack North Vietnamese troops.
Bayonets! (Classics of Naval Literature)
by John W., Jr. Thomason, Hardcover, List price $34.95
One of the few first-hand accounts of the US Marines in World War One.
Soldiers : A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West
William H. Leckie
Men Armed : The United States Marines Against Japan
by Robert Leckie
Right Kind of War
by John McCormick
A novel of island-hopping and man-to-man combat in the WWII Pacific.
of Duffer's Drift
by Ernest Dunlop Swinton
"The Western world's most popular book in the training of military