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Matterhorn : A Novel of the Vietnam War
"Here is storytelling so authentic, so moving and so intense, so relentlessly dramatic, that there were times I wasn't sure I could stand to turn the page. . . . There have been some very good novels about the Vietnam War, but Matterhorn is the first great one, and I doubt it will ever be surpassed."
--Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
"Matterhorn is a novel of great authority and humanity. It builds inexorably to a devastating and magnificient final movement."
--Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain
"Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read."
"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
"Never have we felt the tactile experience of the war depicted with such mesmerizing force."
--Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers
and Hellhound on His Trail
"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
"These are the words I wrote down while reading Matterhorn: authentic, funny, heartbreaking, infuriating, devastating. This great book crawled under my skin on the first page, and I suspect it will remain there for a very long time."
--David Finkel, author of The Good Soldiers
"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."
--Robert Olen Butler, author of
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"Masterful and thrilling . . . Marlantes conjures grace out of suffering, honor from despair, sense out of nonsense. . . . A timeless work of literary fiction."
--Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers
Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones's The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, 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: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. 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: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.
A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. This is his first novel. He lives in rural Washington State.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Showing 1-7 of the 7 most recent reviews
1 . incredible
Posted April 25, 2012 by Ryan , ColoradoI would say this is the most captivating book i've read since LOTR. It's one that envelops you in the entirety of the novel. After a few hundred pages you begin to think like the characters speak and dream of deep, cavernous valleys fraught with death, and destruction of the human soul. The first reading simply does not do it justice. A story with so many layers and so much depth, so much cause and affect, it must be reread to fully take in the power of it. We see that there is no such thing as an "easy" or "safe" decision in war. This story makes Platoon (a fantastic watch if you haven't seen it) look like shallow, one dimension story, and if youv'e seen Platoon you know how untrue that is.
2 . Excellent...excellent book!!
Posted May 04, 2011 by Abby , Vancouver, BCI just finished this book and am (almost) emotionally spent, so after reading all the other reviews, there wasn't much I could add differently. The author had me so invested in each of the characters that I had to literally put my book down and walk away only to come back and find out about their fates. I have a huge admiration and respect for the men who when overseas to fight in this war. Excellent, excellent book....I would highly recommend it!!
3 . Realistic, a shot in the gut!
Posted January 28, 2011 by F.T. Kristbergs , TorontoMatterhorn was a difficult read, not because of bad writing or a bad story - both were excellent. But I knew many who served in the Marines during the Viet Nam war. This book made me realize what they had endured.
The description of the daily life in the bush was brutal and at times horrifying, the battle scenes frightening, the politics and the motivations of senior officers was disgusting but unfortunately accurate.
I found the treatment of racial issues to be one of the book's most valuable contributions to feeling what the war was like, both in the bush and at home.
Get it. Read it.
4 . 10 stars if I could
Posted October 04, 2010 by James Boardman , St. Joseph, MichiganThis is by far the best novel stemming from the Viet Nam war I have read to date - and I have read quite a few. If this book isn't made into a movie I will always wonder why not. Marlantes creates a down in the mud, kill anyone or anything that moves, grunt's perspective of a war that we should never have been in. Racial tension between black and white GIs is explored in depth. Marlantes has nailed the time, place and situation dead on in this book. It is a MUST READ for anyone who wonders what the war in Viet Nam was really like!
5 . The best war book ever written
Posted July 08, 2010 by Phil Cushman , Gainesville, FloridaI served in Vietnam and have read many of the books about that era but none captures the "truth" like Karl Marlantes' book "Matterhorn." The book is gritty, hard to put down and yet hard to read for long intervals because his descriptions of a marine's life and death are painfully vivid. Marlantes gives you the whole picture from the grunt in the jungle to the Colonels and others back out of harm's way who are willing to sacrifice the lives of many to make names for the few. A book that must not be missed!
6 . What a book
Posted June 04, 2010 by Tim C , Ellington, CTJust finished Matterhorn. Absolutely phenomenal book. While its fiction, it gives me chills thinking that some of it is fact-based. ITs an easy read but will take some time due to the nature of the book. Highly recommend it. Friend of mine read it after I did and he loved it as well.
7 . Unbelievably Great Read
Posted April 23, 2010 by Rayzer , CharlotteI just finished this book and absolutely loved it! There are several characters to get to know and love, but I really liked the main character, Mellas. I am very intrigued by the Viet Nam War and have read numerous Non-Fiction books dealing with Viet Nam, but never a work of Fiction on the subject. Needless to say, I was a little skeptical at first, but was over that feeling very quick. Although there is quite a bit of action in the book, there is plenty about the characters themselves and the things they deal with on a daily basis--mentally, physically, and emotionally. The only thing I can complain about is that it was too short; I didn't want it to end.
March 22, 2010
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