Book Review: The United States Marine Corps: The Expeditionary Force at War


by Paul W. Westermeyer

Philadelphia: Casemate, 2019. Pp. 160. Illus., chron., sources, index. $14.95 hardback. ISBN: 1612006930

An Introduction to the History of the USMC

An historian with the Marine Corps History Division, Westermeyer, the author of a half-dozen or so histories of the Marines and the Navy, gives us a summary overview of the history of the Corps and its role in American national strategy.

Westermeyer opens with a chapter on the origins and history of the corps from Revolutionary War through the eve of the Civil War. There follows a chapter during the Civil War, during which the Corps suffered from poor leadership, and on through the War with Spain, when the Marines first came to widespread public notice. Chapter three covers the early twentieth century through World War I. Chapter four, which encompasses about a third of the text, covers the interwar period, during which the Marines developed amphibious doctrine, and then follows events through both World War II and Korea, when the Corps performed in spectacular fashion. The final two chapters cover the early Cold War through 1980, and events since then, as the corps earned the nickname “America’s 911 Force.”

Naturally Westermeyer has to leave out a lot. But he touches on the essential events of the history of the Corps, tracing the evolution of its organization, missions, and wars.

The United States Marine Corps is a very good first book for anyone unfamiliar with the Marine Corps, and one that even more seasoned readers may find informative.


Note: The United States Marine Corps is also available in several e-editions.

StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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