Marine lieutenant Waino Mellas and his comrades in Bravo Company have been dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam. Standing in their way are the North Vietnamese, the monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, and disease and malnutrition. When the company is surrounded by the enemy, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.
©2010 Karl Marlantes (P)2011 WF Howes Ltd
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
The plot, the personnel, the time and the place scream out for this to be adapted for the movies. I enjoyed that it stayed with Mellas and didn't jump between characters too much. The reading was terrific. It makes you want to know if Mellas makes it. On the downside, I thought the run up was a bit long, although it can't be said the foundation wasn't laid for the conclusion. I found the racial politics interesting. I could have read more about the fragging (in fact I am now). Must have made life and death even more tenuous to know the bullet could come from any side. I will definitely read another novel by the author and,of course, I think the narrator is worth watching too.
This book is magnificent. The writing of Karl Malantes and the narration by Jeff Harding combine to make this a very special experience. From the beginning to the end it is as if the listener is an adjunct member of Bravo Company in the jungles of Vietnam. The fear,the squalour,the bravery and the comradeship are all there. No punches are pulled.Whether it deals with battle, commanding officers or race relations the story and presentation is realistic and unrelenting.Of the many dozens of Audible books I have listened to this one is amongst the very best.
A interesting look at the Vietnam war from the perspective of the troops on the ground. I certainly learned a thing or two about what happened on the ground and some of the dilemmas solders at different levels at the hierarchy had to deal with.
Malas and Hawk, the two main protagonists.
Well and clearly spoken while still being able to capture and embody each of the many characters with their own distinct voice.
It's probably not as gripping as some other war books I have read but it still is a good read.
There are many characters to keep track of and it helps to have some understanding of the US army hierarchy. There are some character lists on the Internet that are helpful. Simply google 'Matterhorn character list'.
Well paced, interesting and engrossing. Make sure you have a free 30 hours before pressing play as turning it off may be an issue. Also hats off to Jeff Harding for some brilliant narration.
"The 'Grand Old Duke' Would Have Loved It..!"
If marching troops to the top of the hill and then marching them down again meets your idea of 'effective Generalship' you'll love this book.
Karl Marlantes's book perfectly encapsulates the idiocy of warfare at 'the sharp end' where the man on the ground does his best to carry out the wishes of those often too remote from the situation or too stupid to know better. It was also harrowing evocation of a time when territory counted for little and strategic decisions were driven by the body count, notwithstanding the cost of gaining that territory, and his depiction of the conditions under which the Marines operated says so much for their perseverance and courage. Not a pleasant book, and not one that wraps-up neatly, but then, neither was the war in Vietnam.
One other thing the book brought home was the strange attitude to one's fellow-soldiers,at least to those of us from a British or Australian Military viewpoint. The manning of combat platoons and companies by people who were complete strangers to each other, had never trained together and had nothing in common apart from their currently sharing the same grid reference point, exacerbated tensions and limited the opportunity for the bonds of 'mateship' to develop. Such friendships as did exist were usually transitory and the benefit the Brit Squaddies or Aussie Diggers get from being 'in it together and here for each other' seldom arises beyond the short-term.
Jeff Harding, as usual, was great. I almost expected Jack Reacher to make an appearance.
"The Horror of War"
I didn't know much about the Vietnam war, but this was so vivid you felt like you were there with the men, and in some cases, boys. The thing that got me was the generals sitting like fat cats in their hospitality tent, dining on fine food and wine while their platoons were getting slaughtered, it was horrendous.
You really got to care about the soldiers in Bravo team and inevitably when some of them died, I was really upset, as I felt I'd got to know them, which is a sign of a pretty good book if you ask me.
Not the sort of book which I would generally go for so perhaps I am reviewing this with a bit of a jaundiced eye. It is, however, quite entertaining to any follower of this particular genre and is probably worth a listen on a rainy day
Twenty two hours long with 2 hours of action! If you want none stop action then this is not for you? Not even a conclusive end…. Beautifully read by Jeff Harding as usual and that’s why I gave it 1 star….far too long……
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