What It Is Like to Go to War
By Karl Marlantes
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802119926, 256pp.)
Publication Date: August 30, 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 readingsfrom 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 anyonesoldier or civilianinterested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.
As a Marine in the Vietnam War, Karl Marlantes learned to fire an M16, to command a platoon, to fight and to kill. In What It Is Like to Go to War, he comes to terms with the experience of combat: the guilt, the thrill and the challenge of coming home. More at NPR.org
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