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What It Is Like to Go to War

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From the author of the award-winning, best-selling novel Matterhorn, comes a brilliant nonfiction book about war

In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.

Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jun 20, 2011 – Marlantes, author of the highly acclaimed novel Matterhorn, reflects in this wrenchingly honest memoir on his time in Vietnam: what it means to go into the combat zone and kill and, most importantly, what it means to truly come home. After graduating from Yale, Marlantes attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. But not wanting to hide behind privilege while others fought in his place, he left Oxford in 1967 to ship out to Vietnam as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He eschews straight chronology for a blend of in-country reporting and the paradoxical sense of both fear and exhilaration a soldier feels during war. Most importantly, Marlantes underscores the need for returning veterans to be counseled properly; an 18-year-old cannot "kill someone and contain it in a healthy way." Digging as deeply into his own life as he does into the larger sociological and moral issues, Marlantes presents a riveting, powerfully written account of how, after being taught to kill, he learned to deal with the aftermath. Citing a Navajo tale of two warriors who returned home to find their people feared them until they learned to sing about their experience, Marlantes learns the lesson, concluding, "This book is my song,"

Customer Reviews

Why we go to war.

An excellent book. I was a corpsman in VN in '68. A good Lt., like the author, was hard to come by. I am now a professor of surgery at a University in the Midwest War is hard on all. .

What It Is Like To Go To war

I highly recommend this book. It gives you pause to think about the tragic consequences of war and the responsibility of the society who sent their young to consider how to bring them home not only physically but morally and emotionally. I agree with the author there is a time to have warriors defending us but we also, as a society, have an obligation to heal those who defended us. Great book to discuss and consider it's lessons. Geo.

A management read

Non-veterans, like myself should read this, particularly those who might get into management or government leadership. I have had veterans in my organizations with problems and incidents that I would have handled differently. New recruits would benefit also to counter the development of killing skills with an appreciation of the enemy and civilian casualties. I have new appreciation for the wages of military engagement whether in wartime or not, on both ends of the weapon.

Houston, Texas

What It Is Like to Go to War
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Aug 30, 2011
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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