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THE BATTLE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES MARINES, by Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret.) with Don Horan and Norman C. Stahl (HarperCollins Publishers, 416 pages, $30.00).

Military historian Joseph Alexander, who served in the Marine Corps for 28 years, has written the first single-volume account of the United States Marines. With the aid of 180 dramatic black and white photographs, Alexander vividly chronicles the heroic part played by the Marines during turbulent periods of U.S. history, starting with the American Revolution (1775-1783), when the Leathernecks served with distinction aboard Captain John Paul Jones’s ship Bonhomme Richard, as she squared off against the 50-gun British frigate HMS Serapis. During the War of 1812, the Marines aboard the USS Constitution helped win the naval battle against HMS Java. In the Mexican War (1846-48) a battalion of Marines joined General Winfield Scott’s army in its campaign against Mexico City. The book also covers Marine actions in the two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam (the Marines’ first deployment to Vietnam as organized units was in 1962). Alexander reports that the Persian Gulf War (1991) produced the largest single combat operation in Marine Corps history, with nearly 93,000 Leathernecks taking part. The author also examines the Marines’ role in the present-day peacekeeping forces stationed around the world.