Over a number of years, Commandants throughout history have employed a way to expand a Marines range of knowledge by way of the Commandant’s Reading List. Officially known as ‘The Commands Professional Reading List’ (CPRL,) it highlights a variety of literature particularly aimed to support the professional development of Marines. While this list covers an array of themes, three books a year are required to be read, which will be then be recorded in the fitness report of every Marine.
Though all books listed are highly encouraged to be read, we have explored and identified the most reviewed and highly esteemed books on the list to help jump start the selection process. The books highlighted in this article are the top-rated books on Amazon, listed by leadership ranks – also, featured are good reads for several occupations within Marine Corps.
Take a peek at “Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” By Laura Hillenbrand. This book has had over 10,000 Reviews with a 5-star rating, which is quite impressive to have those numbers together. Another indicator that this is an impressive piece of literature is that “Unbroken” was on the New Your Times bestseller list for over 165 weeks. Not only will Marines enjoy reading these books, but many spouses will too.
Commandant’s Choice, Best Book for Marines
- “The Warrior Ethos” By Steven Pressfield (4 ½ Stars)
Best Book Recommendations for Enlisted Marines
- Entry Level Enlisted (Recruit/Poolee): “Making the Corps” By Thomas Ricks (4 ¾ Stars)
- Primary Level Enlisted (Pvt-Cpl): “Enders Game” by Orson Scott Card (4 ¼ Stars)
- Career Level Enlisted (Sgt, SSgt): “Outliers” By Malcolm Gladwell (4 ½ Stars)
- Intermediate Level Enlisted (GySgt, MSgt, 1st Sgt)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” By Erich Maria Remarque (4 ½ Stars)
“Flags of Our Fathers” By James Bradley (4 ½ Stars)
- Senior Level Enlisted (MgySgt, SgtMaj)
“Hot, Flat and Crowded” By Thomas Freidman (4 Stars)
Best Book Recommendations for Marine Officers
- Entry Level Officer (Candidate/Midshipman): “The Killer Angels” By Michael Shaara (4 ½ Stars)
- Primary Level Officer (WO, 2nd Lt, 1st Lt): “Gates of Fire” By Steven Pressfield (4 ½ Stars)
- Career Level Officer (CWO2, CWO3, Capt): “On Killing” By Dave Grossman (4 ¾ Stars)
- Intermediate Level Officer (CW04, CW05, Maj, LtCol):
“Battle Cry of Freedom” By James McPherson (4 ½ Stars)
“Blink” By Malcolm Gladwell (4 Stars)
- Senior Level Officer (Col, Gen): “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” By Doris Goodwin (4 ½ Stars)
Specialty Books Recommended for Marines
- Aviation: “On Yankee Station: The Naval Air War Over Vietnam” By John Nichols
- Logistics: “Supplying War” By Martin van Creveld
- Counterinsurgency: “Street without Joy” By Bernard Fall
- Roots of Maneuver Warfare: “Maneuver Warfare Handbook” By William Lind
- Wounded Warrior: “Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” By Laura Hillenbrand (5 Stars)
- Strategic Thinking: “Thinking Fast and Slow” By Daniel Kahneman (4 ½ Stars)
- Regional and Cultural Studies: “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” By Barbara Demick (5 Stars)
- Leadership: “Start with Why” By Simon Sinek (4 ½ Stars)
Click here to access the official site of the Commandant’s Professional Reading List. The list hasn’t been updated since 2013, but expect an update in the near future with General Dunford’s input.