What It is Like to Go to War
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Matterhorn, this is a powerful nonfiction book about the experience of combat and how inadequately we prepare our young men and women for war.
War is as old as humankind, but in the past, warriors were prepared for battle by ritual, religion and literature--which also helped bring them home. In a compelling narrative, Marlant...more
A few caveats to add context to my review of the book:
1) I won this book through Good Reads.
2) I am a civilian.
3) I am a US citizen.
4) I am an opponent of the vast majority of wars that we have participated in.
5) I am a counselor; the counseling p...more
Marlantes reveals in this non fiction book what you no doubt already suspected, that much of his fiction was based on truth and at times, danced very close to being an exact blow by blow of events.
Many who know me on Goodreads, know that I lay my heart on the table in my review of Karl Marlantes...more
Marlantes provides a riveting account of what it is like to be sent to war and points out how ill-prepared our young men are. Previous generations spent years preparing warriors. Modern Americans should and could do mo...more
However, I found that I just couldn't get through this book. It read very slow with lofty psychological language (and I even have my BA in P...more
First, I appreciate that the author is writing about something he knows first hand about. (I get upset when people write or talk about something they have never experienced.) I felt Marlantes' experience was explained appropriately and held my attention without being over the top in bloody details.
Second, I want to thank all veterans who have served our country in the past and pre-thank...more
In 1968, at the age of 22, Karl Marlantes abandoned his Oxford University scholarship to sign up for active service with the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. Pitched into a war that had no defined military objective other than kill ratios and body counts, what he experienced over the next thirteen months in the jungles of South East Asia shook him to the core. But what happened when he came home covered with medals was almost worse. It took Karl four decades to come to terms with what had really hap
One of the best parts of the book was when he wrote about how he had a "Death Mass" in a church that help liberate him from his guilt and pain from the Vietnam War.
It should most certainly should be read by every combat veteran and every in coming serviceman and woman in the military. It'd be a good book for Police Officers...more
Marlantes was a Marine Lieutenant during the Vietnam War. Well educated (Yale, Rhodes Scholar) and quite literate, he writes about his journey to understand his experiences, the after-effects, and his reaction to his service in Vietnam.
This is a great piec...more
To say that it is a meditation on war and warriors does not do it justice. It's evident that for Marlantes, writing about his experiences as a young Marine lieutenant in Vietnam was a spiritual and psychological exercise. But more than that, he warns us how ill-prepared our warriors are spiritually, psychologically, and morally for the horrors of w...more
I recommend watching the Bill Moyers interviews with Joseph Campbell before reading this book. (Netflix) It will give you a greater understanding o...more
But as I read it, I'm struck with the similarities between ER nursing at times, and the kind of intense situations that occur (internally, spiritually, intellectually, morally) in combat. This quote helps explain why I don't need or even enjoy being praised by management at times after a really difficult shift:
"I now don't blame those who were cheering. They...more
This book is less about the physical aspects of war (though there is that) and more about the mental and emotional. Though I’m not one to care about moving this company in such-and-such vehicle up blah-blah-blah pass the explanations Marlantes gives about the mindset of and emotional toll on soldiers, particularly those of the Vietnam War, a...more
What impresses me about the book is Marlantes' focus on the spiritual side of war. He argues that many of the facets of combat (e.g., attention on the now, a heightened sense of community, etc.) are similar to those of experiences of spiritual transcendance. The major difference being the the view: the mystics see heaven, the warriors hell.
I think the strength of the book is Marlantes' willingness to acknowledge all the psychological impacts of war on the sold...more