Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War
Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones's The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as b...more
Newly Tarted Up Review! I...well...honestly, I have no idea what word to use to describe how I feel about MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes. It's a superlative book, no adjectives need apply. I gave it five stars because that's the scale...but it deserves six.
Moved to my blog.
Grim. Heartbreaking. There were sections of this book that, honest to God, were difficult to read. If you cannot read war novels, don’t even pick it up. If you are made uncomfortable by vivid descriptions of suffering and of overwhelming human endurance, do not read this book. If out of touch and passionless bureaucratic polices that result in needless hurt anger you, then stay far away. If brilliantly illustrated charac ...more
Matterhorn is a deep and penetrating look within the Vietnam War. It's the sort of horribly realistic novel that can only be reproduced by the survivor of an atrocity.
Highly decorated Vietnam War veteran Karl Marlantes had been at work on this book since the war ended. If you ever need an example of an artistic project into which the artist has poured his blood, sweat and tears, you can point to Matterhorn.
The book follows 2nd Lieutenant Mellas, a ...more
I received Matterhorn from Powell's (Indiespensable #17, a wedding present, I decided) and avoided it for a while, busy with other books, and honestly, looking at it with trepidation because of its considerable size and content. I don't think I've ever read a book about the Vietnam War--would I understand it, I wondered, would it hold my interest? And I didn't understand and it ...more
I'd read some background to the Vietnam war but was really quite sketchy on the detail surrounding the political background and even more so on details of the conflict itself. I've subsequently read up a little more on the political element but was directed to this novel as a vehicle that would ...more
My husband is a history/military/war fanatic. The history and/or military channel is on all the time. I’ve fallen asleep with the military channel on and had some very naughty dreams of Dan Snow and little red and blue soldiers (see 20th Century Battlefields if you are wondering what the heck I’m talking about).
So, imagine my surprise when I wanted to read Matterhorn. I mean, come on, don’t I get enough “war” on tv? I guess not.
Imagine my delight when Matterhorn turned out to be much more than ...more
As far as I can tell, war is the horrific dark antithesis to civilization. The central aim of what men have done since they squirmed out of a cave and lit a fire has been to make life longer, easier, and more comfortable for themselves. Granted, they often did this at the expense of others (women, differently-hued men, etc.), but better ...more
I saw duty at MCAS Nam Phong, Thailand. The aircraft we supported flew bombing missions in ...more
“First of all, you can’t fall into hating the people you are killing. Because you’ll carry that hate with you longer than you will the actual killing itself. It is only by the grace of God that you are on one side and your enemy is on the other side. I often think, ‘I could have been born in North Vietnam.’”
Matterhorn author Karl Marlantes, August 20, 2010 The Times (London).
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War launched onto the bestseller lists in 2010, when United States was entrenched in t ...more
My passion for history is, in my own estimation, above average. I read about it, I write about it, and I visit the locales, all with a certain fervor that will probably be well-detailed in my wife's court f ...more
This sentence, from Karl Marlantes' superb novel "Matterhorn", pretty much encapsulates the war in Vietnam for many people, including some who served there. The war as a whole (its origins and machinations) was more complex, as all wars are, but mostly only to the politicians who started and sustained it. Marlantes, who served as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam and earned various combat med ...more
The book mainly follows 2d Lt. Waino Mellas, a Princeton grad who after signing up for the Marine reserves before going to college gets shipped off to Vietnam after graduation. 600 pages later, you have only been in the ...more
Marlantes somehow pulls off placing the reader smack dab in the middle of the fighting without grossing the reader out. What's more, it isn't by distracting the reader from the characters either. I rooted for everyone in Bravo Company except the Colonel and Number 3. Hey, I felt part of the company.
How Marlantes whisked me through the w ...more
An Epic Song of War
Karl Malantes’ Matterhorn is One Bloody Battle Hymn
The creation story has now become legend. Karl Marlantes, a highly decorated Marine Corps second lieutenant, returns from the front lines in Vietnam and vows to write the proverbial Great American Novel.
“I sat down and pounded it out manically in first person,” he told Steven Kurutz of The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy. “It was pure psychotherapy, psychodump. That helped ...more
I wasn’t in Vietnam; I’ve never spoken to anyone about Vietnam who fought in the war yet I feel in my gut that this book by Marlantes speaks to the experience of many. Filled with images of oozing immersion foot, young faces smeared with purple Kool Aid, clinging leeches, young soldiers crawling ...more
Karl Marlantes knows of what he writes from his service as a Marine in Vietnam. He wanted to somehow explain this experience to his family and to share it with us. Vietnam was what I call "my war" meaning it was happening just as I was graduating and getting ready to start my adult life. It was part ...more
Lt. Mellas is the central character of the book. When the book opens, he is new to the war. And he must prove his salt. Mellas is twenty-two compared to the men in his company that average nineteen years old. Mellas must make split second decisions that will change everyone's fate, including his own.
When I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel completely im ...more
Matterhorn is powerful, emotional, gripping, gut wrenching, but most of all, it is haunting.
Haunting. Yes, that is it most of all, it is haunting in a way that is beyond anything that I have read for a very long time.
I want to thank Karl Marlantes for the experience and the insight.
I want to thank him for sharing with me a story that I have no doubt has ...more
But I'm tiring of it after 170 pages: I really don't dig reading battle scenes.
It's not that I'm squeamish or over-sensitive, it's just that reading about strategies, combat manoevers, even actual fighting, makes my eyes glaze over and I get bored.
I was under the impression that this was a broader story of the Vietnam war. What this is (or what it is seeming to me, after what I've read, and peeking at the ...more
I have written my thoughts as I progressed through this audiobook, so this will be just a short summary. As is evident from the comments below, when I began this book it caused me lots of trouble. I had trouble understanding the military jargon and acronyms. I had trouble keeping track of the numerous characters, their rank and personality traits. My confusion and the many characters made it difficult for me to empathize with any of them. I had trouble understanding what exactly wa ...more
My book group chose this, not me. And I can't wait to start it, along with the IRS ConstantAudit iPhone app and Fons and Porter's Love of Gastroenteritis.
9/16/12: Nine months after I started. I could have finished it by now. I could have had a baby. Looks like I decided to give that a miss, too. The process would have taken ...more