Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine

Robert Coram, Little, Brown, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-75846-8
Coram (Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War) clearly admires Krulak (1913–2008), a contentious Marine leader, and most readers will agree. Son of Jewish immigrants (a fact he suppressed), he attended Annapolis to obtain a free education. After observing Japanese naval operations as a young officer in 1937, he worked tirelessly to promote his design for what later became the Higgins boat, which proved essential for WWII amphibious operations. A decade later, he fought for acceptance of the helicopter. Krulak won numerous decorations for courage and rose to high command, where, Coram claims, his Marines enjoyed greater success than the army in Vietnam, although bitter quarrels with superiors and President Johnson over the war's conduct denied him his dream of becoming Marine Corps commandant. Despite Coram's high regard for Krulak and worshipful view of the Marines, he reveals innumerable details that Krulak suppressed, distorted, or invented in oral histories. Coram portrays a driven, fiercely outspoken. but creative warrior who probably deserves his legendary status. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/27/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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