Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War is a novel by American author and decorated Marine Karl Marlantes. It was first published by El Leon Literary Arts in . The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes Dispatches by Michael Herr A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo The Quiet American by. Roger Perkins on Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn, an anger-fuelled Vietnam War tale of camaraderie and conflict.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.

It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in B A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by jatterhorn highly decorated Vietnam veteran. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Madlantes, 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 monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition.

Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever. Written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war.

It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: This is his first novel. He lives in rural Washington State. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Matterhornplease sign up. In the series, he said his motivation karp enlisting was driven by a sense of guilt for letting others fight in his place he was studying at Oxford at the time.

I have to ask – Why was this book written as historical fiction? It seems like Marlantes’ real story was more intriguing than what he presented in the book. Why did you call it Matterhorn? See 2 questions about Matterhorn…. Lists with This Book. Marlqntes cursed the air wing for not trying to get any choppers in through krl clouds. He cursed the diplomats arguing about round and square tables. He cursed the South Vietnamese making money off the black market.

He cursed the people back home gorging themselves in front of their televisions. Then he cursed God. Then there was no o “Just below the grim tranquillity Mellas had learned to display, he cursed with boiling intensity the ambitious men kral used him and his troops to further their careers.


Then there was no one else to blame and he cursed himself for thinking God would give a shit”. The officers have been thinned out so severely that the Company Commander is a 1st Lieutenant and the Executive Officer is a 2nd Lieutenant. Both positions are normally held by much more senior officers. He has Corporals that have survived a couple of tours in the jungle and at the tender age of 19 are now crusty veterans.

He is 22 and being asked msrlantes fight a war with babies in fatigues.

He worships bush Marines decked out with non-regulation mustaches, dreadlocks, and boots so scuffed they are white. His head is spinning with desires for medals and proving his courage under fire. He is beset by doubts about his abilities, and yet wants to do more than just survive. He wants to be successful. The Author receiving his Bronze Star As the chapters flip by we really get to see Mellas evolve as a person.

As he sheds his state side training and becomes a real marine leader I actually started to like him. More important his men started to respect him.

Book Review: ‘Matterhorn’ By Karl Marlantes — A Stark, Brutal Vietnam War Epic : NPR

As he experiences more combat and loses men he starts to understand the politics of the war. That change from being concerned about his own future to understanding the futility of the circumstances in Vietnam is a shattering experience for him.

Colonel Mulvaney his Regimental Commander expresses his own jaded views about the war.

When it wants a good fuck it pours in the money and we give it a moment of glory. Then when it’s over, it sneaks out the back door and pretends it doesn’t know who we are. Yeah we are whores, he continued, almost to himself now. But we’re good ones. We’re good at fucking. We like our work. So the customer gets ashamed afterward. So hypocrisy’s always been part of the profession. But this time the customer doesn’t want to fuck. He wants to play horsy and come in through the back door. And he’s riding us around the room with a fucking bridle and whip and spurs.

Mulvaney shook his head. We ain’t good at that. It turns our stomach. And it’s destroying us. They would capture ground and then pull out to let the NVA move back in just so they would have a chance to kill more enemy combatants. It was really a fucked up way to run a war.

Something Jesus Christ, something out there for us to be here. Just anything, then I’d understand it. Just some fucking gold so it all makes sense. The tension between the splibs black combatants and the chucks white combatants usually became a bigger issue during down times between combat missions.

Marlantes, I felt, told both sides of the race issue with an even hand. He even took us into the decision making sessions of the officers further up the chain, giving the reader a view of the pressures they were receiving and the unorthodox ways they were forced to measure success.

Objectives were not clear even higher up the chain of command. The pain, the misery, the waste that are endemic in all wars was even harder to withstand in Vietnam. Helicopters were the life blood of this war and when they couldn’t fly for several days food, water, and ammunition became scarce and boys were left to die. It was hard at times for me to read about the circumstances and the unrealistic expectations we had for combat troops in Vietnam coupled with the haphazard supply lines we had in place to give them the basics of what they needed to even do their job.


At one point in time the troops go eight days without food and are expected to withstand an enemy assault. Redefining victory in Vietnam was a theme of this novel. The men who fought in this war deserve our gratitude and our apology.

They were not treated with the honor and the dignity befitting warriors returning from a war that many worked very hard to avoid and were frankly smart to do so. The combat soldiers in Vietnam could not win the war. They could not win battles like the Battle of Normandy or the Battle of the Bulge. They did not return to America knowing that they made the world a safer place. They took the same risks as the soldiers of world war two with so much less to be gained.

For a moment you forget everything in the sudden physical rush, but then you have to pay your money to the woman showing you the door.


You see the dirt on the walls and your sorry image in the mirror. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals, so he wasn’t in the rear somewhere as part of the supply train.

I feel like I know much, much more about the Vietnam war than what I have gleaned from other novels or histories. Marlantes takes you into the elephant grass, with leeches hanging from your legs, and jungle rot oozing pus from the cuts on your hands.

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes: review

If you didn’t question our objectives in Vietnam and more recently our objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq you will after reading this book.

We have to know that when we are sacrificing our kids that it is for the right reasons. They are not and never should be just numbers on a board. The Author in Vietnam If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: View all 64 comments.

Mar 20, Lyn rated it really liked it. There were sections of this book that, honest to God, were difficult to read.

If you are made uncomfortable by vivid descriptions of suffering and of overwhelming human endurance, do not read this book. If out of touch and passionless bureaucratic polices that result in needless hurt anger you, then stay far away.