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Brute
Cover of Brute
Brute
The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine
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From the earliest days of his thirty-four-year military career, Victor "Brute" Krulak displayed a remarkable facility for applying creative ways of fighting to the Marine Corps. He went on daring spy missions, was badly wounded, pioneered the use of amphibious vehicles, and masterminded the invasion of Okinawa. In Korea, he was a combat hero and invented the use of helicopters in warfare. In Vietnam, he developed a holistic strategy in stark contrast to the Army's "Search and Destroy" methods-but when he stood up to LBJ to protest, he was punished. And yet it can be argued that all of his these accomplishments pale in comparison to what he did after World War II and again after Korea: Krulak almost single-handedly stopped the U.S. government from abolishing the Marine Corps.

From the earliest days of his thirty-four-year military career, Victor "Brute" Krulak displayed a remarkable facility for applying creative ways of fighting to the Marine Corps. He went on daring spy missions, was badly wounded, pioneered the use of amphibious vehicles, and masterminded the invasion of Okinawa. In Korea, he was a combat hero and invented the use of helicopters in warfare. In Vietnam, he developed a holistic strategy in stark contrast to the Army's "Search and Destroy" methods-but when he stood up to LBJ to protest, he was punished. And yet it can be argued that all of his these accomplishments pale in comparison to what he did after World War II and again after Korea: Krulak almost single-handedly stopped the U.S. government from abolishing the Marine Corps.

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About the Author-
  • Robert Coram was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his work as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the author of seven novels and four nonfiction books, including American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day and Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. He lives in Atlanta.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 27, 2010
    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.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2010

    The story of a legendary Marine Corps commander who championed innovative tactics in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

    In this admiring biography, novelist and biographer Coram (American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day, 2007, etc.) traces the life of Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak (1913–2008), who was born the spoiled only child of a Denver watchmaker and grew up to become "a man of dazzling intellect and extraordinary vision" and "the most important officer" in Marine Corps history. Against the broader story of the modern U.S. Marines, the author shows how Krulak's tremendous drive and friendships with top officers fueled his rapid rise through the ranks; he eventually commanded all Marine Corps forces in the Pacific. He helped create the Higgins boat (its square bow became a retractable ramp), which famously carried troops onto the invasion beaches of Normandy and the Pacific in World War II; pioneered the use of helicopters in battle during the Korean War; and developed techniques for counterinsurgency warfare in Vietnam. He also successfully fought attempts to dissolve the Corps. But Krulak's ceaseless quest for recognition was "driven by a dark wind." The short, flinty officer hid secrets and told lies about himself. He never revealed that his parents were Russian Jews. Nor did he tell anyone—not even his wife and three sons—that he had been married, however briefly, at 16, a fact that would have prevented his admission to the Naval Academy. He claimed falsely that he was raised as an Episcopalian, that his father was a scientist and his great-grandfather had served in the Confederate army. Saddled with these and other lies, Krulak maintained an "icy self-control" to protect his inner self and the reality that "were it not for the Marine Corps, he would be an obscure little Jewish boy working in the family jewelry business in Denver." Coram suggests that Krulak's exemplary devotion to military duty and rectitude outweighs his duplicity. Krulak was denied the post of Marine Corps commandant after criticizing President Johnson's conduct of the Vietnam War.

    A revealing—and troubling—portrait of a much-revered figure.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine
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