Melody's Reviews > Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
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's review
Jun 14, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: vietnam-war, war, fiction, audiobook
Read from May 19 to June 14, 2012

I listened to the audio book and discovered after disk 17 that disk 18 is a pdf with a glossary explaining all the military terms that are just thrown about like we are all straight out of the bush platoon with our M16s accompanied by the senior squid. Yeah. I could have used it earlier.

The message is pretty bleak, but locco cocoa. This book was written over a 30 year period by a Yale educated highly decorated Marine who served during the Vietnam War. Pretty much the character of lieutenant Mellas. Summed up at the end of the book Mellas decides that death is the only reality. The bush is the only place to be. We are just shadows. We come and we go. We don't change anything. That's it in a body bag.

There is more really. There's this big struggle between enjoying killing the enemy - and feeling extremely guilty about it. And suddenly understanding that the enemy is just like you and feeling guilty about it. And also worrying that killing the enemy might be no different from murder. And feeling guilty about that. All the while trying to balance staying alive and keeping the members of your platoon or company or battalion or baseball team or whatever you might call it, alive and at the same time advancing your career - if you are in the Marines with the plan for career advancement.

And don't argue with me. It does deserve 4 stars. I can't tell you why and I don't intend to feel guilty about it.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jennifer (aka EM) yeah - but good, huh?

message 2: by Melody (last edited Jun 14, 2012 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melody I should say more about the book. There is really so much more going on. Scary things.

One of my big unanswered questions is "What the hell do you do in a war? Is it just like the game 'capture the hill?" And this book answers, "yes, it's just like that. And to make it even more clear I'll show you that hill. A really bleak, blasted, defoliated, dangerous hill called Matterhorn."

Jennifer (aka EM) you've hit on the very thing -- I think this book is some amalgam of all the finest anti-war novels out there, including Catch-22. It's got that sense of absurdity running so strong in it.

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