Luke Sineath'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 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: war, nonfiction
Read from June 14 to 17, 2012

Very thought-provoking. Not having been in war, I can't testify to its accuracy, but many of his observations seem consistent with what I've read in war diaries and memoirs: that war is pretty terrible and can change you. However, Mansur Abdulin, in "Red Road to Stalingrad" says it all pretty succinctly. The most important things for a soldier, he wrote, are to be fed, to know why he's fighting, and to respect his commander. There seem like important central insights, especially the second. Marlantes agrees that not knowing why one is fighting, or fighting for no good reason at all, is damaging.

This book won't satisfy people who are completely anti-war or pacifists. Marlantes believes that violence and aggression are natural impulses, part of the human experience. I found myself agreeing, overall. Perhaps this is a cynical conclusion, but it seems supported by the evidence of life: civilisation is a force at war with itself...

But I found most interesting his ideas about the two spheres: that of war and combat, and the domestic, peaceful home. The collision of these two worlds is dangerous. It made me think that this is perhaps why so many soldiers are killing themselves these days. Sure, they might be overseas, but they still have internet access and can skype with their girlfriends and wives back home. In some respects, they don't ever really leave home.
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06/17/2012 page 256

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