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
I command a rifle platoon, the 40 marines from Bravo Company-1st Battalion-- 24th Regiment-- 5th Marine Division. Because I lead, I am strong. I cannot let the men see my fe...more
The Publisher Says: 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 boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also mon...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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
I found myself unable to believe what...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
In the midst of horrific chaos and the suffocating...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
But neither is it some psychedelic, hallucinatory nightmare populated by Kilgores and Kurtzes. It turns out this first novel, 30 years in the making, was written by a former Marine and much-decorated Vietnam veteran. That realism is quite evident....more
Karl Marlantes' debut novel attempts to meet the challenge of its predecessors with sincerity and authenticity. His tale of a Marine company in Vietnam, Matterhorn, puts the reader in the thick of combat like few others I've read. It comes as no surprise to learn that Marlantes ser...more
If there is one thing Matterhorn faithfully captures, it is the circular and illogical nature of the Vietnam War. Through its pages, we follow a company of U.S. Marines as they dig in on a remote jungle hilltop outpost, abandon it to traipse through the jungle in an unsuccessful search for an invisible enemy, then return to the same hill, now occupied by the North Vietnamese Army.