Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am so glad I finally took time to read this and I am glad this book finally came to be published. (Marlantes evidently wrote it years ago but the book stayed stuck in the rejection pile for decades; I'm not surprised that he didn't give up!) I didn't realize this was fiction before I started reading, or I probably would have read it sooner. It is the story of a college graduate who signs up for a tour of Vietnam as a Lieutenant in the Marines; he goes into it thinking he'll take that tour before coming home and running for public office. Of course, he finds out about life and death and war politics over there. The voices, the vernacular, the setting, the themes, the politics, the turmoil, the battle scenes, everything just felt so accurate to me. I also really loved the sense of time warp in which I got a glimpse into soldiers' thoughts while battle was raging around them. Also, the tunnel vision in which the battles were written made them seem authentic and jump right off the page. (Reminds me of War and Peace in that aspect). What makes this book better than most "action books" is that the writing let me care about so many of the characters, and it allowed me to delve into the philosophies of the times, without the author passing judgment on the issues for me (other than to really show how out of touch the decision makers were!). This book is not for the politician; this book is for the "grunt" and "we the people."
I highly recommend this book -- if you are looking for a good new military book, don't let this one pass you by! ( The audio version is stellar, although there is much to keep straight.)
For more information (or if you aren't convinced yet) tune in to the video that describes this in much better detail than I can here, found on this page: Video about Matterhorn
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