There is no doubt in my mind that I first picked up this series when I was way too young, impressionable minds and all. So it shouldn't be surprising ..Show More »that it indeed left a fairly big impression. While I was still first learning about some of the events covered in this series, I was enjoying this colorful take on the men who made up the corps, which played such an instrumental part in the triumphs and tragedies of the Pacific War. The most notable thing I think I took away from the series then, was a more skeptical view of institutional figures like Douglas MacArthur, and a whimsical appreciation for the accidents of fate that come together to create the history we take for granted. Not bad for a series that according to Wikipedia, can't even settle on the given names of some of its recurring characters, right?
The great shame, so many years ago, was that I could never find audio versions, unabridged or otherwise, of the first two books. And now, here they are, and dirt cheap in audiobook terms at least. And read by Dick Hill no less! The great thing about W.E.B. Griffin is that by all accounts, he wrote about things he'd experienced or people he knew well had gone through, so these books have the feel of a good, larger than life war story, the "let me tell you about the time I..." kind, a sort we're not likely to see many more of any time soon.
Reading this book for the first time, I was taken with some of the details; how the US and other allies coexisted with Axis forces in China in 1941, how much of the military establishment remained absolutely convinced of the ineptness of Japanese soldiery, and the brutality and corruption present in the armed forces. You can also get a hint at the strength of the organization which saw a war coming and strove to prepare, reaching into the enlisted ranks and out to the unlikeliest civilian recruits to find officers with the skills necessary to win. It's a lively tale worth revisiting, and certainly a rather painless try at this unbeatable price. I had thought Audible was planning to release the series at a steady pace, but it appears that is not to be, I hope to see the next one out soon.
One of the things that stands out in my mind about Griffin's writing, and The Corps in particular, is how he writes about the institution as a sum of ..Show More »its parts, made greater or lesser by the situation and how those parts interact. I did not read this installment until it made its way onto Audible, due to an inability to find it sooner. But nowhere else is the above assertion more clearly seen than in this account about how the USMC struggled to cope with the shock of Pearl Harbor and the need to hit back.
From the moment war is declared, Griffin's characters are witness to the efforts of the marines to prepare for the impending Pacific War. Pilots are being rushed through training; new units are being assembled; and perhaps most dramatic, new ways of fighting are being proposed. And here, the centerpiece of the novel, the marines' internal conflict over the Marine Raiders, as both a viable combat doctrine and a serious political threat to the existence of a postwar corps comes to light.
Occurring as it does at a time and in places where action is light, this book for the most part is an establishing point for the cast that the reader will follow through the series, in marine aviation and the shadowy world of the corps's own covert operations. There is much space given over to the personal lives of the characters and their own personal conflicts, ranging from a pilot's infatuation with another pilot's widow, to a marine officer's dealing with an inexplicable loss of sight, to an intelligence officer's misgivings at being instructed to spy on a superior. The raiders' trial by fire is almost a postscript to the individual dramas that lead up to it.
It's quite an engaging war story, considering how little shooting actually goes on. It's a story as the name suggests, about the corps, told in the often irreverent, humorous, occasionally dark, sort of way, that evokes the tone of the sort of larger than life tale you could expect to be told you by someone spinning it as they go. This impression is helped greatly by Dick Hill's narration; one could easily imagine him, telling the individual tales as though they were his own, or recounted from someone who was there, with a "so there I/he/she was..." grandeur, and maybe a wink.
It is well worth a listen if you're familar with the series, but have either not read its beginnings or have forgotten and contemplate a reacquaintance. If you're new to the series, it is worth starting with Semper Fi, especially given the rather modest member pricing. I can't wait for the third book's release.
Written about a time of war and bloodshed, Counterattack, is more of a character study than a shootem' up. (and OH what great characters!!) Yes the "T..Show More »ommie guns do blaze away" but the story of the men and women who fought is the real strength of this book. W.E.B. catches both the tone and courage of people who fought a very real war. One last point is what a wonderful job an author can do when his historical research is spot on.
It was nice to return to familiar territory after slogging through that Bourne book earlier this week. By all definitions, Griffin’s books are my guil..Show More »ty pleasure. I’ve completed the entire Corps series more than a half-dozen times over the last 20 years and honestly, it’s like visiting old friends and favorite relatives, complete with all the quirks (he notoriously changes characters’ middle initials for no reason, even historical figures), inside jokes and catch phrases. Yes, yes I know you can write everything you know about that subject in a matchbook with a grease pencil. Now fully recharged, I can take on something more unfamiliar.....
It's called, "Find the inconsistencies in WEB Griffin books." I'll start. (Ships, planes and guns are beyond my ken, so I can't speak to them.) LT We..Show More »ston is given an address in Philadelphia complete with zip code. The USPS introduced the zip code in 1963. Hmmmm.
Retreat includes characters introduced in 2 previous Marine corp books by griffin. We experience the start of the Korean war, with all the intrigue a..Show More »nd politics of the day served up with humor, sex and Marine dialog that keeps you listening. I could listen to Dick Hill read the phone Book. He is terrific.