Sgt. Maj. to Marines: Read these books

By Dan Lamothe – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Aug 22, 2011 10:06:50 EDT

Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett has unveiled a new reading list for Marines, highlighting 54 titles that he said capture the history, culture and evolution of the Marine Corps.

The development of the “Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Library” shows the value the service’s top enlisted leader places on reading, Barrett said in an Aug. 11 interview in his office. He said he reads frequently and gives Marines copies of books he has enjoyed while traveling.

“Yeah, I’ve got my coin, and there’s a time and place for giving coins,” he said. “But, do you know what I’d rather give a Marine? Something they can actually use. I’m one of those guys who likes practical gifts.”

The library was developed with the assistance of the Marine Corps Association, he said. He visits the organization virtually every time he is at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and often buys books there.

The library includes nearly two dozen books that are on Commandant Gen. Jim Amos’ Marine Corps Professional Reading Program list, including perennially quoted books like, “First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps,” by the late Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak.

However, it also includes books about wounded warriors, military working dogs and the business world.

For example, one title is “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t.” It profiles Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens and eight other companies that succeeded by finding and promoting disciplined people. Another is “Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way.”

Barrett will leave his office library behind after he leaves his post at the Pentagon, and wants it to grow in the future, he said.

The following titles comprise Barrett’s library, located at the Pentagon. Check out the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program list at

Barrett’s list:

“13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam,” by John J. Culbertson

“Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character,” by Jonathan Shay

“Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII,” by William W. Putney

“Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander’s War in Iraq,” by Peter R. Mansoor

“Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest,” by Stephen Ambrose

“Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era,” by James M. McPherson

“Bayonet! Forward: My Civil War Reminiscences,” by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

“Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950,” by Martin Russ

“Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power,” by Victor Davis Hanson

“Colder Than Hell: A Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir,” by Joseph R. Owen

“Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their Families,” by Keith Armstrong, Dr. Suzanne Best, Dr. Paula Domenici and Bob Dole

“Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945,” by Field-Marshal Viscount William Slim and David Hogan

“Edson’s Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II,” by Joseph H. Alexander

“Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization,” by Ralph Peters

“Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America,” by John Keegan

“First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps,” by Victor H. Krulak

“Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae,” by Steven Pressfield

“Gods and Generals,” by Jeff Shaara

“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t,” by Jim Collins

“Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle,” by Richard B. Frank

“Heroes Among Us,” by Major Chuck Larson, John McCain And General Tommy Franks

“Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle: United States Marines at War in the Pacific,” by Eric Hammel

“Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom,” by Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz

“Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War,” by Karl Marlantes

“A Message to Garcia,” by Elbert Hubbard

“Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II,” by Robert Leckie

“Once a Marine: The Memoirs of General A. A. Vandegrift Commandant of the U.S. Marines in WW II,” by A.A. Vandegrift and Robert B. Asprey

“Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander’s Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery,” by Nick Popaditch and Mike Steere

“Patton: A Genius for War,” by Carlo D’Este

“The Reminiscences of a Marine,” by John Archer Lejeune

“Rifleman Dodd,” by C.S. Forester

“The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power,” by Max Boot

“Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way,” by Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh

“Silent Warrior: The Marine Sniper’s Story Vietnam Continues,” by Charles Henderson

“Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” by Robert D. Kaplan

“The Art of War,” by Sun Tzu

“The Bridge at Dong Ha,” by John Grider Miller

“The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War,” by David Halberstam

“The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme,” by John Keegan

“The General,” by C.S. Forrester

“The Gift of Valor: A War Story,” by Michael M. Phillips

“The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat,” by Robert Drury and Tom Clavin

“The Lions of Iwo Jima,” by Major General Fred Haynes and James A. Warren

“The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines,” by Melton Alonza Mclaurin

“The Mask of Command,” by John Keegan

“The Navajo Code Talkers,” by Doris A. Paul

“The Village,” by Bing West

“Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War,” by M. Sallah and M. Weiss

“Victory at High Tide: The Inchon Seoul Campaign,” by Robert Debs Heinl

“War in the Pacific 1941-1945,” by Richard Overy and Dale Dye

“We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who took Fallujah,” by Patrick K. O’Donnell

“We Were Soldiers Once … And Young: Ia Drang — The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam,” by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

“With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa,” by E.B. Sledge

“Wounded Warriors: Those for Whom the War Never Ends,” by Mike Sager

Sgt. Maj. to Marines: Read these books

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Author: Cpl. Beddoe
Cpl, USMC 1981-1985 MCRDSD Plt 3042, Aug 28, 1981 Work hard. Be kind. Pay it forward. Twitter: @txdevildog
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