In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. Two people stand in his way. The first is a well-loved combat-weary lieutenant his own age who desperately wants out of the bush but who does not want to leave his Marines with an inexperienced and overly ambitious officer. The second is an angry leader of the company’s radical blacks, who has all the political skill, savvy, and ambition of the protagonist.
As the young lieutenant experiences the costs of combat, he sees the terrible results of his actions and begins to question the value of ambition and skill over compassion and heart.
©2010 Karl Marlantes (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read.” (Dan Rather)
“Brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences.” (Publishers Weekly)
“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)
I think this book is a masterpiece. Bronson Pinchot is simply phenomenal. If you're thinking of choosing this book, do yourself a favor and listen to it. Every character comes to life. This is one of my top 3 of all times.
It's strange, because this is not typically a style that I would read. I love historical fiction, but I tend to lean towards books from a woman's perspective. This book is purely men, with the exception of one small chapter with a nurse. I loved every minute of it. I wanted to keep listening, but didn't want it to end.
Karl Marlantes brought the Vietnam jungle to life. His writing was so cinematic. I could envision everything. During the combat sequences, I was on the edge of my seat. Though, some of the best scenes, in my opinion, were conversations among the men about life and politics. It was all so honest.
The dialogue was riveting and real. If you are offended by the "f" word, don't read this book. But if I were in a "sh*t sandwich" ,as they so often say, in the middle of a jungle, in a country far away, in war I didn't understand, following officers I didn't respect, I'd use the "f" word a lot too. If this isn't worthy of a movie (or mini-series because of the length) I don't know what is.
It's interesting how the book was written in the 3rd person, but at times the reader is able to jump inside the mind of particular characters through their inner monologues. I think that is a very interesting technique. I also loved seeing the progression of the characters and how their attitudes changed and became more bitter as the book when on, Mellas, in particular.
I laughed, I cried, I was always engaged. I'm so glad I read this. I will recommend this to everyone. If you think it might not be for you, try it. I was absolutely amazing.
This book is an almost day-to-day description of life in the bush during the Vietnam war. Some of the more unsettling parts of the book focus on how poorly commanders dealt with such mundane decisions as how much food to carry on a mission, how to build a proper bunker, and the reporting of KIA, WIA, etc. It made me sick to think of our fighting men being subjected to the command decisions of an alcoholic superior and then doing the "job" so well they are rewarded by being handed an ever more whimsical mission.
Not only is this book incredible, but the narrating is the best I've heard (I've looked for other books done by this guy but didn't find any). His ability to voice different characters is top notch.
The only issue I had is at some parts the writing was so good that I wanted to be reading it to fully appreciate the authors use of language, especially the end.
This is a must listen to audio book. The sheer power of this novel will transport you to a time and place of American history that will stay with you like never before. In no time you'll be propelled back to Vietnam fighting, sweating, cursing and feeling the pain and anguish of every character. I had no idea Bronson Pinchot was capable of such narration and my hat is off to you sir! A job well done by both writer and narrator.
The book truly brings you inside the heads of the various military participants. Instead of reading like a Stephen Ambrose novel of war-time first-person overviews, it takes you deeper into the true emotional and sensory experiences of the soldiers and the officers - and you appreciate the war (and the experiences of our military personnel) even more.
There is an unnamed extra character in the book at all times - due to the times and the forced mixing of races in the theater of military operations - and that is the racism of the participants. It is presented in such a stark and seemingly accurate way that you appreciate the authenticity of all of the interactions that much more.
Buy it to learn more about the Vietnam Conflict, and sit back and truly enjoy the ride into the lives and minds of all individuals put in harm's way.
I had never heard of this book before but did some research and crossed my fingers. It's a high standard of writing with excellent characters and a twisting story. Bronson Pinchot was great as the narrator. This is as intense as Platoon but its over 20 hours long. Can't imagine why anyone would not like this if they enjoy a good war story.
This is not a neat war story with heros who will swim up the Delta to take out a company of the bad guys with only a Kbar and bamboo blow gun. Instead, it is a story of the Vietnam War that includes the politics, egos, tactics, fear and camraderie that a new 2nd lieutenant experiences during his first tour in the bush. By the end of the book, you care and empathize with the book's characters and their contemporary comrades in Afganistan, Iraq. Be forwarned that the book uses language and depicts scenes that may offend some gentle Audible readers.
The narrator was good -- for the most part able to bring across the many different personalities presented in the book (both male and female).
I've listened to this recording twice now, the only one of over 100 audible audio books I have done this to, and am just as pleased with the story and narration the second time as with the first.
Karl Marlantes could only have written Matterhorn from personal experience; we've all seen the Vietnam War movies and read the various books / memoirs, and all told, I would have to argue that this book is probably the best first person story (fiction or not) ever told in this genre. You cannot help but be there through every step, emotion and experience of this freshly minted Lt and Bravo Company. It is a great story telling of the pain, waste, horror, comraderie, sacrifice, and joy experienced in this war.
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