Marines are different: distinct not only from ordinary U.S. citizens but from the ranks of the army, navy, and air force as well. The difference begins with boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, where the history and future of the United States Marine Corps intersect in the training of every new recruit. In Making the Corps
, Ricks follows a platoon of young men through 11 grueling weeks of boot camp as their drill instructors indoctrinate them into the culture of the Few and the Proud. Many arrive at Parris Island undisciplined and apathetic; they leave as marines.
With the end of the cold war, the role of the American military has shifted in emphasis from making war to keeping peace. "The best way to see where the U.S. military is going is to look at the marines today," says Ricks, as the other armed forces have begun to emulate the marine model. To understand Parris Island--a central experience in the life of every marine--is to understand the ethos of the Marine Corps. Ricks examines the recent changes in the Standard Operating Procedures for Recruit Training (the bible of Parris Island), which indicate how the corps is dealing with critical social and political issues like race relations, gender equality, and sexual orientation. Making the Corps pierces the USMC's "sis-boom-bah" mythology to help outsiders understand this most esoteric and eccentric of U.S. armed forces. --Tim Hogan
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"A thousand years from now, a historian looking at the U.S. military will do well to cite Ricks's book." -- USA Today
"An important book...essential reading for anyone who cares about the role of the military in America." -- The Washington Post Book World
"Anyone reading this book cannot help but think that America has many lessons to learn from the Marines." -- Chicago Tribune