Susan's Reviews > What It is Like to Go to War

What It is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes
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's review
Jun 06, 11

bookshelves: arc-edition, e-books, history-biography-memoir, personal_memoir_biography, social-issues-or-commentary
Read from June 03 to 05, 2011 — I own a copy

The author of the popular Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War has turned his talents to writing a nonfiction book about his experiences in Vietnam, how present-day warriors are not trained to emotionally and spiritually deal with the jobs they physically must do, what we've done wrong, what we need to do better. He looks at the history of war and warriors in ancient cultures and mythology, and how the wars we fight are changing every day. He has advice for warriors, those who are serving now, those who are trying to deal with having served, and those seemingly fearless and impressionable young who want to serve. He looks at the psyches of those who kill, what emotions they are feeling. And like the training, that which makes the warriors strong and loyal can also work against them. I haven't underlined so many passages in a book since I was a student, trying to memorize facts.

I don't remember reading a book that touched me as deeply and as personally as this one did. Some of his writing is about theories, ideas, interesting to read and ponder. Some is very highly personal, violent, open. While I found the theories and ideas fascinating, the personal really hit home. I found myself, most unexpectedly, crying. I can't imagine it not having an effect on anyone living through that period. But I think it is very important reading for anyone who has served or is serving, for anyone considering it, anyone who is responsible in any way for training warriors. And it is also for those who oppose most or all wars. It's a must-read for anyone who has ever given a second thought to war.

The version I read was an e-book uncorrected proof, and I thank Grove/Atlantic and NetGalley for giving me a copy. The publication date is scheduled for September, 2011. In case you haven't already figured it out, I highly recommend this book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Susan A very powerful book. I write a review tomorrow.

message 2: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Excellent review! thank you

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