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Fick, Nathaniel. One bullet away; the making of a Marine officer.

FICK, Nathaniel. One bullet away; the making of a Marine officer. Houghton Mifflin, Mariner. 372p. illus. c2005. 0-618-77343-6. $14.95. SA *

The US Marines have justly earned their honored reputation on nearly all of the nation's battlefields, and numerous boot camp epics over the years have shown the American public how the Corps sets about turning their boys into mature fighting men. Infusing young enlisted troops with esprit de corps is all well enough, but consistently winning battles demands a whole lot more than high morale. This book provides one answer: solid and unending professional training that deliberately eschews any trace of Semper Fi bombast. Nate Fick, a young Ivy League student, went through Marine Officer Candidate School and then its acclaimed Infantry Officer School. The first thing that young Fick learned was that being a college athlete was no guarantee that he could pass the physical. Once admitted, he watched as the school systematically winnowed out even more candidates. He and the other young students soon discovered that infantry fighting is a complex and intricate business, simultaneously brutal and yet subtle, a world away from the blazing heroics of the movies. The green lieutenants learned that besides winning battles, their highest goal was good stewardship of their young, hyped-up enlisted troops.

Lieutenant Fick went off to the fleet and received his own weapons platoon. A few short months later, the World Trade Center atrocities soon had him leading his sea soldiers into combat into Afghanistan, and then into Iraq. Fick's account of training, leadership, and combat is straightforward and unadorned, and he is refreshingly unselfconscious about his own baptism by fire. Yet he writes with enthusiasm and avid curiosity about the varied personalities and the unusual situations he encountered.

During controversial times like these, it is good to be able to put yourself into the minds of those who actually are on the scene, actively involved in the situation. Like all good memoirs, this one tells us lots more than just the adventures of one young Marine Corps officer. Raymond Puffer, Ph.D., Historian, Edwards AFB, Lancaster, CA

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Puffer, Raymond
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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