Semper Fi


 Author: W.E.B. Griffin

 Title: Semper Fi (The Corps #1)

 Genre: Military Adventure

 Publication Date: November 1, 1986

 Number of Pages: 352 (Paperback)

 Geographical Setting: Shanghai, China and United States

 Time Period: The 1930’s and WWII (20th Century)

 Series: Book 1 of Griffin’s Corps Series, a 10 book series about different battles and time periods in the United States Marine Corps from the point of view of the Marines themselves.

 Plot Summary: In this novel we are introduced to Ken McCoy, a marine corporal, who is recruited into intelligence work in Shanghai in early 1941. He is involved in some action and sent back to the States, goes to Officer Candidate School and returns to the Pacific via Hawaii and the Philippines immediately after Pearl Harbor.  This book is not your average war adventure story however as it shows a more entertaining and historically grounded view of life from the inside of the Marine Corps. The flood of profanity within the novel, while it may be realistic, should be noted for those who are more sensitive readers. The constant specificity and jargon in referring to a character’s rank, or the make and model of weapons may come across as annoying at first but is effective in bringing the reader into the mindset of a marine.

Subject Headings: United States Marine Corps; Marines, WWII; The Thirties (20th century); Men – Friendship; Military bases, American; Military History – 20th century

Appeal: Character-driven; Intricately plotted; Fast-paced; Suspenseful; Dramatic; Compelling; Richly-detailed; Military jargon-filled; War story; Adventure story; Friendship story

3 Terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, Compelling, Character-Driven War story.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit by Tom Clancy

A unique inside view of the Marines, including their history, recruitment, training, arms, equipment, and strategies. His main focus is the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The USMC maintains seven MEUs, rapid-response units that patrol the sea while waiting for the president to send a “911” call for armed intervention. Clancy’s vivid detail works to add some real life context around some of the military jargon in Semper Fi.

2) Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the United States Marines by H. Avery Chenoweth and Brooke Nihart

For those interested in the historical side of the Marines before and after the time period depicted in Semper Fi, this book offers a look at the Marines through over 1,000 pictures and text. From their founding in 1794 to their most recent actions-including the second battle of Falluja-the entire history of the U.S. Marine Corps comes to life in these illustrated pages.

3) Code Talker: the first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII by Chester Nez

Another side of the Marine Corps of WWII and the role they played in winning the war on the Japanese front, this memoir tells the first person story of retired Marine and Navajo Indian Chester Nez who describes his experiences as one of twenty-nine top-secret codetalkers during World War II and how his life growing up on the Checkerboard Area of the NavajoReservation prepared him for service.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Victory by Stephen Coonts

Like Semper Fi, this is a fast-paced, suspenseful and richly detailed WWII stories. It’s a collection of original WWII stories that include contributions by authors like Ralph Peters, David Hagberg, and Harold Robbins.

2)  Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen

This novel is a tale of the Marine Corps as well, set in modern times. Like Semper Fi, it’s suspenseful, fast-paced and a character-driven adventure story about marine architect Hannah Bryson who must discover the mystery behind a decommissioned Soviet submarine, Silent Thunder, that was recently purchased by the U.S. government for use as a maritime museum after her bother dies mysteriously.

3) The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Like Semper Fi, this is a richly-detailed suspenseful WWII adventure story about the European warfront told from the perspective of the Germans. In this story, a small force of German paratroopers lands on the Norfolk coast during 1943 and attempts to kidnap Churchill who is visiting nearby. It’s is a convincing alternate history with detailed characters.

Name: Bridget Optholt


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