Semper Fi. The few, the proud. From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Once a Marine, always a Marine. The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth. No other group in America leaves so deep and permanent a mark on its members. Today, though, the Marine Corps feels increasingly besieged, at war with a new kind of enemy the vast social and political forces that it feels threaten to destroy its values. Making the Corps visits the front lines of that war: boot camp, Parris Island, South Carolina, "where the difference begins." Here, old values are stripped away and new, Marine Corps values, forged. Acclaimed military journalist Thomas E. Ricks follows sixty-three raw recruits, the men of recruit platoon 3086, from their hometowns to Parris Island, through boot camp, and into their first year as Marines. As three fierce drill instructors fight a battle for the hearts and minds of this unforgettable group of young men, a larger picture emerges, brilliantly painted, of the growing gulf that divides the military from the rest of America.
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