[Epub] ➝ Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War Author Karl Marlantes – Motyourdrive.co.uk

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War txt Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, text ebook Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, adobe reader Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, chapter 2 Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War 385f12 A Big, Powerful Saga Of Men In Combat, Written Over The Course Of Thirty Five Years By A Highly Decorated Vietnam VeteranIntense, 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 ForeverWritten 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 LiteratureA 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


About the Author: Karl Marlantes

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 He is the author of Matterhorn, which won the William E Colby Award given by the Pritzker Military Library, the Center For Fiction s Flaherty Dunnan First Nov



10 thoughts on “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

  1. says:

    Just below the grim tranquillity Mellas had learned to display, he cursed with boiling intensity the ambitious men who used him and his troops to further their careers He cursed the air wing for not trying to get any choppers in through the 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 one else to blame and he cursed himself for thinking God would give a shit.2nd Lieutenant Mellas, an Ivy League graduate, finds himself in Vietnam commanding a platoon 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 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 to 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 than just survive He wants to be successful The Author receiving his Bronze StarAs 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 As he experiences 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 America uses us like whores 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 I admit it 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 We know that 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 The cynicism was certainly understandable when success is measured in body counts, blood trails, and probable kills They would capture ground and then pull out to let the NVA move back in just so they would have a chance to kill enemy combatants It was really a fucked up way to run a war Just tell me where the gold is Gold Yes, the gold, the fucking gold, or the oil, or uranium 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 Marine 1967 running under enemy fire 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 Victory in combat is like sex with a prostitute 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 Marlantes took thirty years to write this novel 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 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 If you didn t question our objectives in Vietnam and 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 Highly Recommended The Author in VietnamIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    Boot camp did not make us killers, it was just a f finishing school Grim Heartbreaking There were sections of this book that, honest to God, were difficult to read If you cannot read war novels, don t even pick it up 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 If brilliantly illustrated characterizations of incompetent, careerist, wannabe politician, couldn t lead a trip to the zoo overpaid and over privileged senior governmental leaders makes you want to drop off the grid and go live in a cabin in the woods well, you get the point This book inspires strong emotion.With imagery that reminds me of the writing of Peter Matthiessen, and with brutally honest and realistically complex characterizations that would make Jonathan Franzen proud, author Karl Marlantes has crafted a fictional novel that breathes with life and that tells the good, the bad, and the ugly of a difficult time Transcending simply a war novel about Vietnam, Marlantes lucidly describes how the military, and the war itself, shaped our society Matterhorn deals with race relations, class distinctions and the relationship a citizen has with his government in a stirring, but painfully sublime morality play that realistically communicates a time and place but, than that, paints a striking, and often uncomplimentary, portrait of who we are.Himself a decorated Vietnam veteran Marine, Marlantes has also illustrated a description of his service that, though it objectively deals with the governmental and bureaucratic failings of the Corps, also offers a glimpse into what it means to be semper fidelis though he states succinctly that a true understanding is unattainable for the rest of us I have an uncle who served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine, very proud of him, and I have than once been impressed by the Marines.


  3. says:

    Rating 5 of five, but it deserves sixNewly Tarted Up Review Iwellhonestly, I have no idea what word to use to describe how I feel about MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes It s a superlative book, no adjectives need apply I gave it five stars because that s the scalebut it deserves six.Moved to my blog.


  4. says:

    Today I ll be reviewing Matterhorn, a novel about the Vietnam war Play your favorite classic rock song of the era while reading Buffalo Springfield s For What s It s Worth is always a popular choice You could use Credence Clearwater s Fortunate Son For myself, I ll be listening to The End from The Doors and then plan on going into a full on Martin Sheen Apocalypse Now freak out as I lay on a bed staring up at the ceiling fan in a pair of tidy whiteys until I drink enough to punch out a mirror and then break down crying I ll admit that I didn t really think there were any stories to tell about Vietnam that I hadn t heard As a teenager in the 80s when every male action hero from Thomas Magnum to Sonny Crockett was supposedly a Nam vet, and movies like Platoon and Full Metal Jacket were coming out regularly, I just didn t think there was a scenario that someone could come up with that hadn t been done to death Plus, I used to have a neighbor who was a Vietnam vet who would tell me some hair raising stories when he got a few beers in him that had the ring of authenticity that even grittiest fictional stories can t convey.But Matterhorn had a lot of good buzz about it so I finally picked it up I got worried in the first chapter where there s a lot concerning leeches in the jungle There wasn t anything there that I hadn t seen on film or read dozens of time before Until one of the Marines discover that a leech crawled inside his penis That s when I realized that Karl Marlantes may be doing a story in a familiar setting, but he had the knowledge and ability to make it horrible and fresh all over again.Marlantes is a decorated Marine Vietnam veteran with a chest full of medals He spent 30 years 30 years writing this story off and on before finally getting it published The story centers on a company of Marines circa 1969 with a young and ambitious lieutenant named Mellas taking over a rifle platoon in Bravo Company as soon as he arrives Mellas may be inexperienced, but he could turn into a good officer He s got skills with maps and a feel for terrain and tactics, but his political instincts may keep him from being an effective combat leader Mellas and the Marines are trying to fortify a mountaintop position called Matterhorn and patrol the surrounding thick jungle Between jungle illnesses and always being exhausted from the patrols, night watches and the hard labor of establishing the camp, the Marines are stretched thin Racial tensions in the company aren t helping anything.But things get much worse when drunken battalion commander Simpson and his manipulative operations officer Blakely decide to use Bravo to try and locate NVA forces they re sure are in the area of Matterhorn Simpson sends Bravo out on long jungle recons when they re dangerously under supplied and exhausted and when bad weather prevents helicopters from reaching them When Bravo can t meet his aggressive timetable, Simpson simply demands of them and labels them as whining malcontents, and eventually Marines start dying because of the orders that Simpson is issuing.It s been a long time since I ve read anything that infuriated and angered me as much as Simpson and Blakely s treatment of Bravo Company I spent most of this book hoping that some of the Marines will make good on their threat to frag the two asshole officers Marlantes s 30 years work on this really paid off While Vietnam stories may have become somewhat clich d, he s managed to craft a story that transcends all the slang and trivia we ve become acquainted with His Mellas character is probably a bit of a Mary Sue, but considering Marlantes s background and time spent on this novel, it didn t bother me a bit.My only complaint is that some of the parts concerning the racial tensions do seem hokey in places There s one part where Mellas has a conversation with one of his black Marines, and it comes across as earnestly sincere as one of those old After School Specials Only with guns and saying, fuck a lot.All in all, this is a terrific war novel that ll tear your heart out as it teaches you something new about Vietnam Now if you ll excuse me, I have to do some drinking and stare at my ceiling fan This is the end


  5. says:

    Martyrs for Language It is unlikely that indentured slaves were worked as hard as grunt Marines in Vietnam Certainly not with as little to show for it The sociology that kept these men from escaping entirely through drugs or killing their officer oppressors is complex a mix of fear of authority, comradeship, exhausted inertia and the vague hope that their suffering might end without death Patriotism, revenge, and military pride didn t register on the meter of soldierly motivations.Officers, that class of person whom the military suspects might be human, are ambitious prats The young ones want medals the older ones want rank and larger commands Few of them have much regard for the lives of those who report to them Their main concerns are recognition and reputation As in most corporate hierarchies, they progress proportionately to their political skill not their competence Within the permanent class warfare between officers and enlisted in The Corps, other intense battles are waged continuously between the whites and the blacks, staff and line, liberals and racists, new boys and old hands, short timers and those who dare not count the days left, lifers and draftees, malingerers and hard men, the weak and the strong, the literate and the unschooled Occasional shooting and fear eases the tensions but never resolves them The politics among officers is simpler Be noticed never contradict a superior have faith in the language of command This latter includes the idolatry of maps, situation reports, body counts, radio protocols, intelligence estimates, and plans of attack and defence An officer s world is entirely symbolic as soon as he is given any unit command whatsoever This is what he is trained for Reality is only known by the grunts and no one asks them about it Unfortunately only they know that the map is not the territory.One of the important innovations of the Vietnamese War was so called air mobility, the capacity to move large numbers of fighters quickly to remote places What the military failed to understand at the time was that it was easier to move the men than to keep them supplied with the essentials of life and for that matter, death Despite the rather well stocked commissaries for those in the rear, front line troops literally starved when they couldn t be supplied by air or were just forgotten about The language of intimidatory command doesn t work on technology and other objects like it does on human beings.The involvement of the United States in Vietnam was a military and moral tragedy But not primarily because of defeat and the atrocities committed routinely by American soldiers The tragedy already existed in the military and its ethos before VietNam And it continues to exist today This ethos is one of exploitation of the young by the old The old sacrifice the young for the sake of symbols and through symbols that mask personal interests Everything else is collateral damage This is the essence of military life.The dead and wounded are, therefore, only one consequence of this sacrificial ethos Those, like the Marines in Matterhorn, who are exposed to its full force never recover And it is passed on like a virulent virus from generation to generation Their memory of suffering produces yet symbology for which to sacrifice yet young people Matterhorn is a chronicle of how symbols not bullets are used to dominate and destroy human beings.


  6. says:

    I was in the shit Karl Marlantes put me there Matterhorn is a deep and penetrating look within the Vietnam War It s the sort of horribly realistic novel that can only be reproduced by the survivor of an atrocity Highly decorated Vietnam War veteran Karl Marlantes had been at work on this book since the war ended If you ever need an example of an artistic project into which the artist has poured his blood, sweat and tears, you can point to Matterhorn The book follows 2nd Lieutenant Mellas, a squeaky clean Ivy League kid who signs up and intentionally gets himself stuck in with the grunts, the high school flunkies who make up the front line fodder Mellas wants to be one of the boys He also secretly longs for medals and promotion His desires and inexperience could get him killed It could get a lot of boys killed and the boys don t like that Matterhorn is not all doom and gloom from beginning to end I doubt I would ve finished it if it were No, Marlantes does an excellent job in building the tension He starts things off light There is levity through out in its proper place Then the trouble is escalated The tension is tightened You feel the frustration, elation, despairhope.I hesitated to read this After all, wasn t it enough that I d seen Platoon and Full Metal Jacket Vietnam is a sad chapter in history Did I really want to revisit it However, word on the street was persistent this is great, don t miss this I m glad I didn t give it a miss And neither should you.


  7. says:

    I listened to this on audiobook, competently read by the ever reliable Jeff Harding It s quite long, at over 22 hours, but it s such a compelling story I d have been happy to spend longer in its company.I d read some background to the Vietnam war but was really quite sketchy on the detail surrounding the political background and even so on details of the conflict itself I ve subsequently read up a little on the political element but was directed to this novel as a vehicle that would give me a feel for the war and for the men who fought in it I think it does that in fact I believe it does it very well indeed.Written by a decorated Marine, the book tracks Bravo Company as they are tasked to undertake a number of scouting and combat missions, all of dubious value and under extremely challenging conditions It is set in and around Matterhorn, a mythical hilltop firebase close to the Laotian border The reader is introduced to a large cast of soldiers of varying ranks There is violence obviously and there is the expected bravery and camaraderie of war, but there are also elements I didn t expect to find in such abundance, such as evident racial tensions, decisions being driven by the selfish ambition of senior officers and the way in which missions were declared either a success of a failure based on the body count score alone.It s a very impactful piece and several times it almost reduced me to tears It all felt so real, with the combat sections in particular being described in such a convincing way that I genuinely felt I was there witnessing the brutality, the panic, the fear and the agony of it all This is, in fact, a stunning book There were times when the sheer size of the cast felt daunting, but this feeling didn t last As it progressed I got to identify with the lead players, worrying for their safety and rooting for them as they went into battle It s an emotional roller coaster but one I d encourage others to experience.


  8. says:

    This is the best book I ve read so far in 2010 I will say that again This is the best book I ve read so far in 2010 I received Matterhorn from Powell s Indiespensable 17, a wedding present, I decided and avoided it for a while, busy with other books, and honestly, looking at it with trepidation because of its considerable size and content I don t think I ve ever read a book about the Vietnam War would I understand it, I wondered, would it hold my interest And I didn t understand and it didn t hold my interest for about the first 150 pages There were too many men, too many military terms, I wasn t sure if I liked the main character Mellas, I had nothing to hold on to It was just me, Mellas, and a bunch of dudes hanging out on a mountain, digging some holes, thinking about not dying Then the story picks up I do think, though I haven t read anything about it, that the author did this on purpose Mellas, fresh to the field, was also settling in, getting to know the guys, the lingo, the War Mellas and the readers really settle in during the Trail of Tears op The men all work together and suffer together and you start to get IT There are battles Men do die Men you HATE to see die, do die and I don t consider that a spoiler because, hey, this is the Vietnam War, people But they also laugh I especially love any part where any man giggles during the book, usually while drunk, maybe on a mystery tour with his buddies We see these men boys, really fight against each other the racial tensions being especially interesting We see these men fight with each other against their enemy And we see these men fight FOR each other This bookit was haunting and it was heartbreaking and I will never forget it I sat for a long time after finishing, with my hand on my heart, terribly sad, and wanting to read .


  9. says:

    My husband is a history military war fanatic The history and or military channel is on all the time I ve fallen asleep with the military channel on and had some very naughty dreams of Dan Snow and little red and blue soldiers see 20th Century Battlefields if you are wondering what the heck I m talking about So, imagine my surprise when I wanted to read Matterhorn I mean, come on, don t I get enough war on tv I guess not.Imagine my delight when Matterhorn turned out to be much than a war book It turned out to be much than a Vietnam book It turned out to be much than a guy book It turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time As my employees always point out, I am a big book cheerleader and I have a tendency to push my favorites on them like they have a choice, I AM their boss..hehe However, I am hesitant to share Matterhorn with anyone I don t want to hear bad things about the book I feel as though I d be personally offended How can anyone not love the book I couldn t stop reading ok, technically listening to How can anyone not feel their heart break in half when a favorite character s survival is questionable I m a bit protective of books I simply adore and it is weird to say I adored a book set in Vietnam with a ton of graphic violence, racism, politics, disease and death Nevertheless, I simply adored it.Why I loved this book I became completely and totally invested in each and every character Marlantes made me love and or hate his characters so completely that I felt a profound loss when the book was over When a reader can have that type of relationship with the characters in a book, the book is unforgettable, and beautiful, in my opinion of course.How invested was I My house went from image error


  10. says:

    Very minor potential spoiler.For about a year in 1978 and 1979, I was with Golf Battery, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines Those of you who know much about the Marine Corps are probably saying, Bullshit right now because you know that 1 4 is an infantry, not an artillery, battalion At that time, Golf Battery 3 12 was attached to 1 4, which was on independent duty at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twenty Nine Palms, CA Anyway, that was my first duty assignment after completing training at The Basic School in Quantico, VA and Field Artillery School at Ft Sill, OK I started out as the Forward Observer for Bravo Company, during which time I was acting Platoon Commander for one of their platoons during Mountain Warfare training in Bridgeport, CA I also served as Fire Support Coordinator for the battalion during the time we were developing desert warfare tactics and doctrine during the Iran Hostage Crisis Why do I start a book review with this kind of personal info Because Karl Marlantes served with Charlie Company 1 4 when he was in Viet Nam, and that s my indirect connection with him.My direct connection occurred about three years ago, when I ran a toy soldier store in Old Town Albuquerque One Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in the store enjoying the weather and watching the tourists wander around, when a couple in their sixties or seventies came in She started looking at the toy soldiers while he went straight to the wall of military books we had on the back wall of the store When she moved on to the other stores on our patio, the husband came over to the counter behind which I was sitting and asked if we had any copies of Matterhorn I told him we didn t, but that I d read it several months prior and had liked it a lot He then stuck out his hand and introduced himself as Karl Marlantes Unfortunately, we didn t get to chat very long because his wife came back and reminded him of some event they were going to be late for.I grew up with the Vietnam war, but my experience of it was all indirect I was a high school senior when U.S military involvement ended in 1973 and a sopho at the Naval Academy when Saigon fell in 1975 From elementary school through high school, I remember the reports from the war or from anti war protests on the nightly news I remember the POW MIA bracelets that many of my classmates wore The father of a high school friend was an Air Force MIA I remember hearing on the radio in my high school cafeteria about the My Lai massacre I learned at the Naval Academy and at The Basic School from Marine officers who had experienced combat in Vietnam I had Vietnam vets as mentors of a sort when I was with 1 4 Battalion commander, Lt Col Bull Mehan, encouraged me to write after reading a pamphlet I put together to train infantry officers to effectively use artillery support I learned from the battalion S 3 officer, Maj Barnes, that the best way to carry C rats while one patrol was in your stomach keep the crackers to munch on, but eat the rest before you head out My best mentor was the battalion XO, Maj Bob Tilley who was a bit of a Chesty Puller look alike He transferred from Supply to Infantry after he got to Vietnam His new company commander gave him a platoon, but made him walk point and follow the direction of his Platoon Sergeant until he proved he was good enough to handle an infantry platoon He was wounded twice The second time the Commandant of the Marine Corps happened to be touring the field hospital when he was brought in and awarded him a battlefield promotion to Captain because they thought his wound was mortal Major Tilley and I spent a lot of time together bouncing around the desert in an Amtrak while the battalion developed desert warfare tactics.My other indirect experience of Vietnam is through the memoirs and memoir like novels of the war that I ve read over the years These include A Rumor of War , Dispatches , We Were Soldiers Once and Young Ia Drang The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam , The Things They Carried , Flight of the Intruder , Body Count , and Fields of Fire As good as those have been, Matterhorn is the best I ve read It s as much a memoir as it is a novel, and reading it was like talking to one of my former instructors or mentors Marlantes gets far into the daily grime and boredom and loneliness and stress and backbreaking work and terror of life and death in Vietnam than did those I learned from, but that s what makes this such an important work for anyone interested in what that war did to the generation who fought it No punches are pulled in his portrayal of the good and the bad experienced by him and everyone whose life was forever changed by Vietnam I ve always held tigers in awe Their I m going to do unspeakable things to your body and then I m going to eat you look has always attracted and repelled me at the same time The tiger scene in the book which is apparently based on an actual event confirmed that level of respect and fear of them The rest of the book is equally effective in evoking respect for the men who fought that war and fear for the safety physical and emotional of those who have, do, and will fight our wars for us Everyone should read this book at least once, regardless of how hard some of the subject matter will be to get through Outlooks would change if everyone understood what our freedoms have cost those who secure them for us.


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