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)
My dad served in Vietnam, and like so many, never shared stories. He was a commander, and I always got the impression that it was very bad. He died in 1974 due to the exposure he faced from agent orange. Listening to this story made his tour seem more real to me, I was only 5-6 at the time. It also brought to light the bigotry that exsisted, something, being an army brat, I blindly thought was non-exsistant in the military. Thanks for a great story.
Some books take me days/weeks to get through and I become concerned about unused credits piling up, but not this book. This is a book that I would sit in the driveway listening too and I watched the time remaining indicator count down with regret. Very enjoyable.
This is an outstanding novel. Marlantes' development of his characters is excellent and in many cases they are developed to die in a war that was at the same time senseless and important, inane and necessary. The flow of the story takes you through the fears and hopes of diverse people thrown into a desperate situation. At times the tension is so thick you can cut it with a K-bar. At other times the release is blinding and passionate.
This is the story of war in all of its manifestations. It exposes the senseless suffering of soldiers who go without food and supplies for days on end due to the incompetence of their superiors. And then it reveals how the soldiers get blamed. It highlights the commitment of fighting men to each other...it exceeds the will to live. It describes the simple pleasures of life in a combat zone.
This is a great book!
Although it was no "Naked and the Dead"' it was great. It starts off a little slowly, you should get absorbed. Definitely worth a credit.
I just finished this wonderful book and I already feel sad to say goodbye to these characters. They are so well drawn. Without being preachy, Marlantes lets the reader inside the experience of being a Vietnam era Marine. I was continually struck by how much responsibility these young soldiers shouldered--as awful and crazy as their combat experiences were, they learned so much about themselves and the world--and it was wonderful being there to see them grow and change, and sadly die. It takes a little while to get into the book, but hang in there--it grows on you very quickly. It helped me to read the first two chapters on my kindle to become better acquainted with the characters before listening to the book. Enjoy---it's a great book.
The first half of the book was amazing, interesting, good character development and you felt what it was like to be in Vietnam at that time. But later in the book unless I think you were a combat veteran it got too detailed and I got lost in exactly what the issue was with Matterhorn. Way too long. Overall an indepth look at the silliness and tradgedy of war no different than the war we are in today in Iraq.
An absolutely fantastic experience. Beautifully written and masterfully read. This is a gripping story that is at times deeply heartbreaking. You will never look at a Marine again without remembering the depth of their sacrifice and dedication to each other. The author's skill in describing military action makes Tom Clancy look like a talentless hack. This guy can really write!
I love war novels and movies. My husband laughs at me, but the humanity that comes out of war is hopeful and simply surviving it amazes me. This book was incredibly moving and anybody who says it's "boring" probably prefers action movies over human stories.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I would have liked more character development, but the plot, the excellent writing and main character's growth were enough to give it a solid 4 stars.
Very well written with excellent character development. Matterhorn gives a clear account on what the soldiers of the Vietnam war had to endure on a daily basis. An invisible enemy and questionable objectives was just the tip of the iceburg. Hunger, disease, unsanitary conditions, racism, lack of medical supplies and ammunition all add to their extreme situation. Bronson does a great job with the narration although at times he does sound a little to relaxed and soft spoken given the complete chaos that erupts at times. Definitely worth a listen or two.
Retired Military Officer & Pilot. President of a national executive search firm specializing in recruitment and placement of Physicians.
This is the kind of book that when you begin, you wonder "why am I reading this", misery and suffering endured by young Marines. I spent a year in Vietnam as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot and found this narrative to be true to life down to the colloquialisms in use at the time. What makes it such an excellent story is the authors way of showing the human spirit in war. Combat scenes as good as saving private Ryan. It sets the hook and reels you in. When it is finished you wish you had a sequel or could continue reading. It is an exceptionally well written piece of literature, with a great story line and the enduring story of men in combat as it really is. I found myself looking forward daily to going back and seeing what kind of predicament the marines had found themselves in that day. If you are thinking about joining the Marines, don't read this, no fancy crisp uniforms with gleaming swords here, just reality.
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