From the author of the bestselling and award-winning Matterhorn comes a brilliant nonfiction book about war and the psychological and spiritual toll it takes on those who fight.
“I wrote this book primarily to come to terms with my own experience of combat. So far—reading, writing, thinking—that has taken over thirty years.”
In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In his first work of nonfiction, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war.
Just as Matterhorn is already acclaimed a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all-too-essential part of the human experience.
Karl Marlantes, a cum laude graduate of Yale University and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, was a marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals. He has lived and traveled all over the world and now writes full time. He and his wife, Anne, have five children and live on a small lake in Washington.
©2011 Karl Marlantes (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A staggeringly beautiful book on combat…[Marlantes] is a natural storyteller and a deeply profound thinker.” (Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author)
Yes. A good book is one you can go back over and over again and learn something new
everything. my girlfriend and i still talk about weeks after listening to it
its all put together beautifully
it needs to be read by everyone. i recommended this book to an old school hippie and he loved it. he is making his students read as a requirement for his course. this book is a must
Considering that I have a reading disorder, the Audible compamy has quenched a great day of time with Audible as my greatest personal fre
Get a full, real, HUMANE experiance in humanity.
As a survivor of post Tramatic Stress syndrom from the environment within my father from WWII and Korea tours I can not allow anyone not to read this experiance.
Please read, listen and think.
Marlantes' insight into what it is to be a battlefield killer is powerfully frank and intensely thoughtful. Going well beyond superficialities of matters like political pacifism or hawkism, he speaks unflinchingly of the horrible but unavoidable necessities of war at the personal level, its impact on the individual psyche and its possibly righful place in personal philosophy (and sometimes its ramifications in popular culture). It is not pro-war. It is not anti-war. It is, rather, a sane look into the primal darkness that can be called upon within us all. Profound content and excellent narration. Easily one of my most satisfying Audible purchases.
It did just what the title said! It tells you what it is like. Not focused on blood and guts but whats going on in you head. What we are taught about killing and how we process that in war.
The references to historical great leaders in war and what they said about war.
Yes and no. I hated to stop and yet I needed to take time out and think about it from time to time.
I think this should be mandatory for everyone to better understand our veterans, what they have been through, what they go through upon their return and how we can help to make it better for them.
I have been listening to books on tape for over 20 years. Starting with audio tapes, then CD's and now downloads.
I just finished this book after I listened to Matterhorn. Both were very good. I did enjoy Mr. Marlantes points of philosophy of helping the modern day warrior return to society. His real life examples were fascinating but realized they were also the stories he had written about in the Matterhorn. I like his writing and hope to see a non Vietnam story soon. By the end I thought some of his changes to the military was unrealistic but the reader will need to decide for themselves.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
The author, Karl Marlantes, tells us that he suffers from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as do many other veterans who have been to war. PTSD is not a condition that has only war as its reason for presenting itself. Marlantes feels that men and women who go to war should be prepared by someone who is capable of explaining the horrors that are a part of war. The young men at age 18, who cannot drink, can go to war and kill. The government targets this young age group because this group, for the most part, have not even thought about their own mortality. They are READY to take up a weapon and wipe out those bastard's who flew into the NYC Twin Towers and killed upwards of 3000 men, women and children. Marlantes contends that before a person signs on the dotted line he or she should be told that they will face death if they go to war. We are raised in America to understand that life is precious. Our moral conscience is telling us that killing another human being is wrong and against God's law. Do unto other's as you would have them do unto you, that is the mantra that American's are raised on. Thou shalt not kill, is one of the commandments that we are taught from a very early age. Could you look another man, woman or child in the eyes and pull the trigger without consequences to your mind after coming home. Yes, soldier's are told to kill someone who is carrying an AK47 anywhere on their person by the DOD. The Taliban will use a child by strapping a bomb to her and detonating it while she stands around the American soldier's giving candy to the kid's in Afghanistan. The fundamentalist Afghan's put no value on life. While war is being fought, it's a known fact that one kills or is killed. Marlantes acknowledges that he felt powerful when he was able to kill someone. That power made him want to kill more.
However, when a person's time in a war is over, he or she has to come home to a society that morally as well as criminally, will not condone killing. Walking through the battlefield after a conflict and gathering the dead in a pile, can make for some anxious and frightening dreams, whether awake or asleep. Taking a gun and aiming it at a fallen enemy who has not yet died and shooting him in the head, might create a feeling of power but at a later time may come back and haunt the man or woman who did the deed.
Marlantes tells us that perhaps someone will listen and will at least provide our would-be soldier's with sufficient knowledge, allowing them to make a concerted decision about participating in a war. The Vietnam veterans were not given a choice, they were drafted. Marlantes tells us that the soldier's of today are better trained in the mechanics of warfare but are still lacking in the moral and spiritual ways that war can torment a veteran for life.
Marlantes pulls no punches in his memoir. He is up front and honest. He hopes that maybe a young person who is considering joining the military will be given an opportunity to read his book. The warrior's of today need help before going to war, in the hopes that they will not suffer from PTSD after they come home.
I listened to Matterhorn and could not wait to get Karl Marlantes "What it is like to go to War. I was amazed at the people he referred to in his book, like John Bly. I have read his works "Iron John" many years ago and enjoyed them. I would read anything Marlantes writes he is a thinker and well versed. Well written thanks Marlantes. I even bought the book. Dick from Delta
Should be required reading for those who go to war, those who send them to war, and those who care for them when they return.
This was a good read and it is a service to us all to take the time and courage to put this in writing. I did have a lot of takeaways but the expectation should be that this is as much of not more about dealing with the implications of war in soldiers and how society deals with it as much if not more than simply what the experience of combat is like.
I love this book. I first read his other book Matterhorn and loved that but this his me on a different level. As a combat veteran, this book will bring you to tears from time to time and actually brings to light things you aren't even aware of until it's spoken. It enlightened me and damn near brought tears to my eyes several times.
The author is amazing and the narrator did a very impressive job. I would recommend this to any fellow combat veteran.
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