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Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War | [Karl Marlantes]

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... 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. But two people stand in his way.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Karl Marlantes (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (4908 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Allen Charlotte, NC, United States 09-11-10
    Allen Charlotte, NC, United States 09-11-10 Member Since 2010

    Runner, sailor, photog and engineer. I like Jo Nesbo, Craig Johnson, Robert Crais, Michael Connely, Steig Larson, Lee Child, but most especially James Lee Burke.

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    "A Masterpiece"

    Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes is an absolute masterpiece. It has taken me a month to suffer through it. I say suffer because these Marines suffered so much. The writing is descriptive and takes you to the jungles with its prose It is quite deep and very reflective on America in the late sixties as well as the realities of fighting a war. It should be required reading for all citizens of the United States and a prerequisite for anyone who is going to enter a voting booth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EM Goodkind Menlo Park, CA 09-02-10
    EM Goodkind Menlo Park, CA 09-02-10 Member Since 2011
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    "Best V-war novel so far"

    I'll start with what struck me as the only negative, and that was a reliance on melodramatic dialogue on occasion that may not have been unnecessary because the situations carried the conflict superbly. Initially I thought the characters were a bit two dimensional, BUT then thinking back to my own experiences (Army artillery I-Corps Vietnam '69, the same year as the book's setting) I realized that in reality most people's backgrounds became a backdrop to the current conflicts, and Marlantes nailed how individual, cultural, ethnic divisions -- and personalities -- contributed but were subsumed by the current horror of the situation to help explain why people did what they did. Especially fascinating was the dilemma of race relations, as depicted, for example, in the scene describing the near melee at the field movie presentation (nice brief description of a spaghetti western, btw). The principal character, Mellas, gives us some insight into a nontraditional officer -- a Harvard grad who went to war. I highly recommend this well narrated book for anyone who wants a good read (or hear) , who wants to continue to put persepctive on the their own Vietnam experience, or who after 40 years want to tell a friend or loved one a little about what went on in a crazy war, at a crazy time in our history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Thomasville, NC, United States 08-27-10
    Jason Thomasville, NC, United States 08-27-10
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    25
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    "Shocking, compelling, suprising, and awesome"

    This was a great book to listen to, I hope Marlantes continues to write. I definitely recommend this to anyone. Marlanties does a great job dropping you right into the jungle and then drags you out one dead commrade at a time. Brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 08-23-10
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 08-23-10 Member Since 2007
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    "A CAMPING TRIP GONE BAD"

    I dont understand what all the fuss is about. Yes, the narration was a tour de force, but I have read some nonfiction about the vietnam war that moved me a lot more than this book did. This book was a real ho hum. You want to read something that will really grab you, about the realities of that war? Read about the heroes in Harold Moore's book about the battle of Ia Drang. Or read the story of John Paul Vann in Sheehan's "Bright Shining Lie". If it took Marlantes 30 years to write this book, I have to say, wow, man. Thats not very productive. You need a little better work ethic. And what is all that stuff tacked on to the end about partying back at base? Was it a little too thin and the editor asked you to add another 200 pages? If you think this book represents the great horrors of the the Vietnam war, then you dont know much about the Vietnam war.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    keith naples, FL, United States 08-18-10
    keith naples, FL, United States 08-18-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Addicting"

    So good...I had avoided any Vietnam book but tried this on a friends recommendation. Funny and intense and you gain a caring for and understanding for the strength and flaws of all the characters. I found myself reenacting he "Hawk Dance"! I have never submitted a review, much less before I finished a book- I can't wait to get into part 3. His word play and imagery are some of the best I have heard in a long time, he reminds me of Joesph Heller (Yes-Catch 22). This author is a treasure, I need more Karl Marlantes. Addicting!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc SOUTHINGTON, CT, United States 08-16-10
    Marc SOUTHINGTON, CT, United States 08-16-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This shows military thinking at its worst"

    This book gave a pretty good picture of what went on in Viet Nam and how decisions were made by those not on the scene, and with little idea of the real difficulty of the mission. It also showed the conditions that our troops had to endure. Well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne SF Bay Area USA 08-11-10
    Suzanne SF Bay Area USA 08-11-10 Member Since 2011
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    "Astounding"

    This was just an amazing book, read by a superb reader. I was utterly absorbed. The story was so rich with characters and ideas, and surged with an authenticity that made it fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Newark, DE, United States 08-07-10
    Richard Newark, DE, United States 08-07-10 Member Since 2014
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    "How Vietnam = Obama's Afghanastan strategy"

    Entertaining and enlightening view of what it was like to be a grunt in Vietnam and why we lost the war from micromanagement in Washington. National and personal politics overuled well-studied military strategy that could have led to success. Reminds me of the new Obama strategy in Afghanastan that is failing. White House Political concerns and micromanagement override successful military startegies that our troops are not allowed to execute and results in more casualties and confusion for our troops in the field. Gen McCrystal resigned in frustration over misdirected guidance from tour naive Commander-in Chief rather than lead a Vietnam type loss that is on the way. Den Westmoreland should have resigned under Pres Johnson's Mismanagement as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard D. Martel Newark, DE United States 08-07-10
    Richard D. Martel Newark, DE United States 08-07-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How Vietnam = Obama's Afghanastan strategy"

    Entertaining and enlightening view of what it was like to be a grunt in Vietnam and why we lost the war from micromanagement in Washington. National and personal politics overuled well-studied military strategy that could have led to success. Reminds me of the new Obama strategy in Afghanastan that is failing. White House Political concerns and micromanagement override successful military startegies that our troops are not allowed to execute and results in more casualties and confusion for our troops in the field. Gen McCrystal resigned in frustration over misdirected guidance from tour naive Commander-in Chief rather than lead a Vietnam type loss that is on the way. Den Westmoreland should have resigned under Pres Johnson's Mismanagement as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Cori Gainesville, FL United States 08-02-10
    Kent Cori Gainesville, FL United States 08-02-10 Member Since 2013
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    "Realistic in Spades"

    This was an amazingly realistic depiction of a typical grunt company's experience in the Viet Nam war. The author clearly lived through much of this story and, I suspect, added portions based on events that he heard about from others who were there. About the only disappointment is the picture he paints of the senior battalion officers. Surely there were some competent officers there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • trevor
    birmingham, United Kingdom
    10/5/10
    Overall
    "amazing listen"

    this book was recommended to me by a few people and it never failed to live up to the hype . it is read superbly and you get a feeling for everyone in the book love or hate them it leaves a lasting impression at the end as there mission just seems to get worse. its a powerfull book and although its a story about vietnam you cant help thinking all the way through that kind of stuff happened all the time over there which in itself makes the audiobook even more powerfull i myself now recommend it to everyone reading this .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phil R. Lancs
    Bolton, Lancashire
    9/4/10
    Overall
    "AWESOME!!!"

    I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who has the slightest interest in Vietnam war stories. It is long but worth every second.
    It is graphic, sometimes very graphic however this is one book i look forward to listening to again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rowan
    Wales
    8/30/10
    Overall
    "A military story but a good one"

    It?s a military book for sure. There are lots of military stories out there to buy but this one is a beaut. It?s a pretty long one but didn?t feel it. It?s a fully rounded book was sad to have it end. I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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