What It Is Like to Go to War

What It Is Like to Go to War

Book - 2011
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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.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, c2011
ISBN: 9780802119926
Branch Call Number: 959.704 MAR
Characteristics: xiii, 256 p. ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: What it's like to go to war


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Jul 30, 2012

Having served in Vietnam I can totally relate to what Marlantes is trying to say. I listened to him on television giving an account of what happens then and later. Some of the things he said made me go, "wow", that has happened to me too after I came back. I applaude Marlantes.

Kirbs Mar 06, 2012

True to it's title, and so much more. Marlantes bears his heart, grief, bravado, shadow, and brilliant insights to gird the loins of warriors confronting battles, both on the frontlines and at home. A master class in human behaviour.

Dec 20, 2011

Marlantes' experiences during the Vietnam war are fascinating, but his New Age and men's movement pseudo-psychology are off putting. He makes a few strong points to recognize and not repress aggression in children and his suggestion for greater psychological support in the military makes sense. Unfortunately the book does not really tell you what it is like to go to war; perhaps a more fitting title would be What it is like to have been to war.

debwalker Aug 26, 2011

"Widely praised as one of the best novels written about the Vietnam War, Karl Marlantes's 2010 debut, Matterhorn, was packed with heartrending scenes inspired by his experiences as a young Marine. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes reveals the intimate details of the real-life moments he fictionalized for Matterhorn and skillfully deploys them to support his call for a paradigm shift in how we prepare soldiers for combat."
--Rebecca Joines Schinsky

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