Review of ‘The Reminiscences of a Marine’

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Published originally in 1930, The Reminisces of a Marine, is the account of the life of John A. LeJeune, who served for eight years as the Commandant of the Marine Corps. LeJeune’s story of his childhood, growing up in the turbulent years immediately after the Civil War in reconstruction-era Louisiana, and his career, first as a naval officer and finally as a U.S. Marine.

LeJeune’s account, while intensely personal, also highlights many of the pivotal events of world and American history of the period; notably the Spanish-American War, the period of heavy American involvement in Latin America, China, and the Philippines; and the horrific trench warfare of World War I in Europe. He also outlines the history of the Marine Corps in the 20th century, and the pivotal role he played in making it a quasi-independent part of the Department of the Navy.

With knowledge of world events since 1930, something that LeJeune, from his vantage point would not have, one can also see the foreshadowing of many triumphs and tribulations that persist down to the present day. From the often troubled relationships we have with our southern neighbors, a residue of the years of American occupation and involvement in internal affairs, to the prickly familial relationship with the Philippines.

This book should be read by anyone interested in a personal look at America during the period between the end of the Civil War and the conclusion of World War I, as the United States reestablished itself as a world power.

I received a free copy of this book. I give the author a posthumous four stars.

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