An incredible publishing story--written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a "New York Times" best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a "USA Today" best seller--"Matterhorn" has been hailed as a "brilliant account of war" ("New York Times Book Review"). Now out in paperback, "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 ...
An incredible publishing story--written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a "New York Times" best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a "USA Today" best seller--"Matterhorn" has been hailed as a "brilliant account of war" ("New York Times Book Review"). Now out in paperback, "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. "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.
Gritty Vietnam novel that slowly drags you into the jungle with Bravo company. I gave in completely. You care what happens to these guys. It's also an excellent look at 1960s cultural tensions and attitudes.
Dec 29, 2010
A Forgotten War Remembered
Matterhorn by Karl Malantes is a masterpiece of a war novel. Set in any era it would be an important examination of the young men we send to fight and die for us?but set in Vietnam, that most controversial and misunderstood wars, it is the novel of that conflict. Told from the point of view of a green marine infantry lieutenant deep in the jungle, and written by a decorated combat veteran, Matterhorn is authoritative, vivid and savagely truthful.
Most war stores either glorify the heroism and patriotism of its heroes or, as more often told in the past few decades, deconstruct war into a series of postmodern absurdities and folly. Matterhorn is neither of these. And both of them. The war is foolish and unwinnable--even the lowest grunts realize this early in the story. Their commanders are vain and foolish. There?s no false sense of patriotism. In the bush it?s pure survival and the men exhibit an intensity of emotion and a wavering of conviction as only men who are risking their lives can exhibit. The protagonist and the young men under his command are by turns scared, cowardly, selfish, heroic and ambitious?often in the same battle.
Originally finished in the 70s, it took Mr. Malantes over 30 years to find a publisher for this book. Personally, I find it unbelievable that a decorated combat veteran with an Ivy League education could not get this work read or agented. Either the novel greatly benefited from 30 years of revision and polishing or, perhaps, we are only now ready to read about Vietnam with any objectivity
Nov 26, 2010
Currey, Anderson, Marlantes
Joining a distinguished list of writers who lived through then wrote about Vietnam, Karl Marlantes took about 40 years to finally deliver his epic. Certainly semi-autobiographical, reeking with authenticity, and given the balance of perspective, this story engages, informs, entertains and educates. Among the writers in this genre are Kent Anderson, who writes with more raw passion and violence, and Richard Currey, who waited about 20 years to write his novelistic remembrance, which is being celebrated by a 20th anniversary edition. "Matterhorn" follows these and other Vietnam chronicles (One to Count Cadence, e.g.) with its own special insights and greatly entertaining writing. Highly recommended.
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