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Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War Paperback – Apr 25 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (May 10 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802145310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802145314
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 4.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Oct. 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Paperback
I read the novel primarily because I had served as an Army infantry lieutenant in Vietnam during 1967 and 1968. Generally I prefer to read non-fiction and have not read a novel of the Vietnam War since Tim O'Brien's 1979 novel, Going After Cacciato. I found myself becoming immersed as the author was dealing with similar issues such as gaining the respect of his men upon his arrival. There were some errors to my mind, such as the cotton bandoliers that we wore diagonally across our chests held seven magazines -- not twenty, or claymores were not detonated by "pulling a cord," but rather by squeezing a handheld electrical detonator (clacker) when we were out on ambush, though if were inside our company perimeter at night we would simply rig our claymores to trip wires (before inserting the blasting cap into the top of the mine); additionally, Dapsone was not used to ameliorate against jungle rot, but rather was taken in conjunction with Primaquine to mitigate against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Still I feel that Marlantes truthfully depicted the youth of the Marines in his dialogues, who for the most part were nineteen and twenty years of age. Marlantes was awarded the Navy Cross, which earns my respect. Up in the Central Highlands of Vietnam where I served until September 1968 I did not observe any racial problems out in the bush, and the majority of the soldiers in my platoon were blacks. Morale in the Army up through 1968 was actually quite high. Marlantes is describing the war during 1969, a time when morale had begun to plummet after the introduction of Nixon's "Vietnamization" Plan, as soldiers no longer wanted to be the last man killed in a war from which our political leaders intended to disengage.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
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: Hardcover
'Matterhorn' follows the Lieutenant Mellas's first year as a marine in the Vietnam War. It's 1969 and America is in a losing war with North Vietnam they believe is ideological and its foes believe is a fight for their homeland that began with the French in the 1950s. Mellas's unit battles for jungle-covered mountains, which, once won, are deserted. Marching through a wall of jungle with the cold, the moisture, the exhaustion, and the relentless fear of death is described with the realism of someone who's been there. Battles are fought with unseen enemies who are relentless fighters who know their jungle because it's their home under the command of superiors who have no other ambition that to ensure the body count of the Vietnamese exceed those of Americans. But it's not for the officers that these men end up fighting for or their country. It's their fellow soldiers and friends for whom they will fight and die which leads one to believe that old men can get young men to fight any war so long as they're doing it for their friends. Realistic, perceptive, enlightening, and visionary.
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