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Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War [Paperback]

Karl Marlantes
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 25 2011
This extraordinary novel, written by a Marine Veteran over the course of thirty years, is the discovery of the season: a big, powerful, timeless saga of men in combat. A New York Times Bestseller; USA Today Bestseller; and National Indie Bestseller, with over 200,000 copies sold in hardcover.

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Matterhorn is a marvel--a living, breathing book with Lieutenant Waino Mellas and the men of Bravo Company at its raw and battered heart. Karl Marlantes doesn't introduce you to Vietnam in his brilliant war epic--he unceremoniously drops you into the jungle, disoriented and dripping with leeches, with only the newbie lieutenant as your guide. Mellas is a bundle of anxiety and ambition, a college kid who never imagined being part of a "war that none of his friends thought was worth fighting," who realized too late that "because of his desire to look good coming home from a war, he might never come home at all." A highly decorated Vietnam veteran himself, Marlantes brings the horrors and heroism of war to life with the finesse of a seasoned writer, exposing not just the things they carry, but the fears they bury, the friends they lose, and the men they follow. Matterhorn is as much about the development of Mellas from boy to man, from the kind of man you fight beside to man you fight for, as it is about the war itself. Through his untrained eyes, readers gain a new perspective on the ravages of war, the politics and bureaucracy of the military, and the peculiar beauty of brotherhood. --Daphne Durham --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Visceral . . . Evocative . . . We feel the Marines' exhaustion as they dig gun pits, carry dead and wounded comrades, and nearly die from hunger. . . . We hear the scream of the M-16s, the thunk of mortar shells, the hammering of AK-47s and the crack of bullets. We smell the stink of fear, blood and unwashed bodies. . . . [Marlantes] pitches us into a harrowing narrative we won't soon forget." --USA Today "I've laughed at Catch-22 and wept at The Thin Red Line, but I've never encountered a war novel as stark, honest and wrenching as Matterhorn. . . . By turns, this book horrified me, crushed me and beat me up, but I found it nearly impossible to stop reading. More than any living American novelist I've read, Marlantes made me feel what I already must have known: that war is worse than hell." --NPR "Matterhorn is a novel of great authority and humanity. It builds inexorably to a devastating and magnificent final movement." --Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain "Unforgettable . . . A beautifully crafted novel of unrivaled authenticity and power, filled with jungle heroism, crackerjack inventiveness, mud, blood, brotherhood, hatred, healing, terror, bureaucracy, politics, unfathomable waste, and unfathomable love." --Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of This Changes Everything "Matterhorn is that rare modern novel destined to become a classic. Karl Marlantes has written a riveting and harrowing portrait of young men at war." --Vince Flynn, author of Pursuit of Honor "Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read." --Dan Rather "As warfare shapeshifts its way into a new century, the publication of Matterhorn is perfectly timed. Karl Marlantes tells a riveting, richly detailed personal tale of soldiers in Vietnam, and in doing so, he brilliantly illuminates the defining war of the last half of the twentieth century. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vietnam book hands down Jan. 20 2012
This book was incredible from beginning to end. At the end of the book I had to give it to my Dad who also was a Marine Corps infantryman in Vietnam. He echoed my views that said Marlantes hit the nail on the head with this one.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quite simply, few war novels -- if any -- have combined the existential narrative of war as it really is, philosophical insight into the soul and humanity, and and superb writing of Matterhorn. A masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What we didn't know dooms us to repeat it. June 2 2013
By viv sea
This is such a valuable book about the Vietnam War. Now I understand why my friends came back from "Nam" all shot up emotionally as well as physically. Then after you read this amazing book you must read Wade Davis' Into the Silence about WWI and the quest by George Mallory to climb Everest. That a government would sacrifice its young men in such misadventures shows that we didn't learn from the days of yore and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail and their wanting to bring Christianity to the Islam World. PEOPLE just have to stop that crap. Bring the boys home. We need them at home in the garden and in the garage with their friends and families and sons and daughters, playing catch in the back yard and going for family bike rides for a swim in the river.... NOT to spend days slogging through justifiably hostile territory to subdue/contain/immobilize/murder some other moms' sons. NO MORE WAR! YOU must read this book, it will change your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Exhausting Read Oct. 27 2010
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
A novel of the Vietnam War

This is a time when U.S. political tensions are at a boiling point, campuses erupt in violence and protesters take to the streets, racial agendas dominate the enlisted ranks and young Americans are embroiled in brutal combat at the other end of the world. A conflict that will divide the population like never seen before.

The author's astonishing writing immerses his readers deep in the thick of the action: they quickly feel they are part of the story, witnessing the fighting side by side with the courageous soldiers.....Before setting out in this spellbinding novel, make sure you have plenty of repellent, do not forget to keep dry, leave your fears behind and lets go forward....a mission is awaiting..... Emotions will be so real you will soon understand what I mean.

The year is 1969 during the monsoon season deep in the jungles and the sweltering mountains of Quang Tri province, Vietnam.
Bravo Company First Platoon lead by a green Lieutenant Waino Mellas and his seasoned officers Fitch, Hawke and Kendall are given the orders to claim and establish a strategic point (the Matterhorn) , an advance fire-support base. The reader quickly learns that a simple sounding plan presents more than one enemy to the soldiers: Mother nature, the unfamiliar and unforgiving terrain, the fear of being isolated and the very capable opponents are just some of the life threatening hostilities they are bombarded with.

Just when the Lieutenant and his men think they have time to catch their breath and count their loses new orders hit them almost as hard as any enemy. Higher command orders them to abandon everything and embark on another dangerous but crucial mission: sever N.V. supply lines at all cost.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary and Fiction are United Sept. 6 2010
By jacksprat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had just finished Sabastien Junger's book "War" prior to reading Matterhorn. It is interesting to compare the books as one was written by an embedded reporter in an Afghanistan regiment writing a factual account. The other is from the war in Viet Nam written as a novel by an author who was involved in that war. The book War is a great read and should be read by anyone contemplating the armed forces. What is most interesting is that when you get down to the nitty-gritty of feet on the ground both books emphasis the comradeship among the soldiers. Truly wars are fought in the trenches where mean are motivated by their fellow soldiers not a political idea. Documentary and fiction are essentially the same.

Matterhorn should be a great book and is a great book. Karl Mariantes has hit the nail on the head about the feel and sense of any war. He shows due respect to the NVA that were often demeaned in other books. Honour is among fellow soldiers is surely the greatest motivator of men in dire circumstances.
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