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 am not a fan of war books. This one drew me in and I couldn't stop listening. For the first time, I truly feel like I have a good understanding of what soldiers had to endure during Vietnam. I listen in the evenings and found that I thought about the book during the day and could hardly wait for evening to come and I could listen to more.
Amazing description of a sad time in our country's history. Proud men doing their best under extreme conditions, written with a harden edge that leads to page turning excitement. Well worth your and effort. I will remember this book for a long time.
Excellent book! Highly recommended. What was expected of a young officer(s) in Vietnam are hard to be believed. It rivals the scenario played out in catch 22.
I'm just an airwinger with no combat time. I go to the birthday parties and feel out of place. This book reminded me that if you earn the title, you're a Marine. I thought it was outstandingly well written and covered all aspects of conflict.
I listened to this book on a 25 hour roadtrip. I felt like I was there again -- Lt Melis, Hawk, "Short Round" all the players. One of the best books - by far - that I've "read" in years.
I loved this book. I walk in the mountains while I listen to audio books and I have to admit that there were times I felt I was in this book. The narrator was great but unobtrusive.
As a child of these times I can say that I found this to be perhaps the most powerful story to come out of the Vietnam War. I found the story so compelling that I bought the hardcover version of the book as well.
No matter if you "went there, did that," rode a draft exemption, or if it all happened before your parents were born.
Karl Marlantes makes the characters live and breath.
Almost impossibly for most of us who played but one role, he lets us "walk a mile" in the shoes of folks at platoon, company, battalion and regiment, especially when they'd execrate each other foully and at length. His helo pilot and grunt stories do justice to both, if that's possible.
The landscape - mountains and mist and rain, leeches and tigers and jungle rot - is remarkably vivid. While the PAVN soldiers and even officers are only seen from outside, I think Bao Ninh ("Sorrow of War," maybe the best PAVN side novel of the war) would recognize and perhaps even nod at the word portraits.
Do you remember cooking C rations over plastic explosive, or just cooking excrable powdered coffee in empty green cans?
Did you ever lie in the dark with a flashlight to mark an L-Z - yes or no, marking a tiny landing zone with heat tabs inside helmets will resonate. And yes, kevlar coal scuttle folks, In The Old Days a steel pot was steel, so you could boil water in it.
The race war within the Vietnam War is probably outside our imagination, here and now, and even a white liberal who joined SNCC when they still allowed whites may have trouble writing foxhole dialog in this area.
Yeppers, there's a real fragging and a phoney one, but I think the handling and the plot will surprise you - they work as character and plot.
I often have trouble with war books because I find it difficult to follow the action that usually takes place on a grand scale. This one follows a single company over a relatively short time period and it is the characters and not the battle strategies that take the center.
It is often a difficult listen because the trials of merely surviving in that jungle and political environment were so difficult for the players. What made it an easy listen was an outstanding reading.
As long as you are not squeemish, it is a book not to be missed.
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