Brooks's Reviews > What It is Like to Go to War
What It is Like to Go to War
by Karl Marlantes
by Karl Marlantes
Apr 14, 12
Read in April, 2012
I read this as the third book in a war trilogy which included O’Brian’s, “The Things They Carried” and Junger’s “War”. This was the final book that provided the context and explanation of the first two books. Marlantes is a Yale Rhodes Scholar and Navy Cross awarded Marine. It has taken him fifty years to be able to have the perspective on his experience and wants desperately to help those who will need to fight future wars. He is able to provide an abstract view of war using the metaphor of the “temple of Mars” for all the terrible and valorous aspects of war. Yes, we need to admit that there are positive aspects of war and Marlantes provides the moral and ethical justification of war and how to be a warrior and still retain your ethics. You must see your enemy as a fellow human. It is not possible to be under the adrenaline high of combat and not loss your identity – it is required and necessary part of warfare. But there must be the proper preparation and even more importantly the transition back to civil society. Marlantes provides the perspective of how societies have re-integrated the warrior back to society and speaks passionately for this to continue. This is not parades and yellow ribbons (not ideal but far better than his experiences of being spit upon and hated) but a grateful handshake and acknowledgement that the warriors have given up their friends and part of themselves in fighting for us. I have always struggled with the morality of war – I know it causes more suffering than the original evil it was supposed to allay. Marlantes obviously has wrestled with this issue and this book helped me understand the use of force. And as a parent, we can not suppress the human behaviors of aggression without it coming back much more negatively later in life. My thanks to the Author for one of the best books on morality and ethics that I have read.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read What It is Like to Go to War.sign in »