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Matterhorn Audiobook

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

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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

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  •  
    Kindle Customer Eden, NY, United States 06-18-12
    Kindle Customer Eden, NY, United States 06-18-12

    Retired teacher. Hometown: Eden, NY.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Wasn't There"

    This is not intended to be a review in the literary sense of the word. Rather it is a very late effort to exorcise myself of the guilt for an almost complete lack of physical and emotional involvement in the Vietnam War. I wasn't there. Whatever meaning those three accusatory words might carry, it still reeks of the stench of non-involvement. I wasn't there!

    Instead, at the height of this senseless massacre, for me about forty-five years ago, I was completing college (ironically on the GI Bill) and moving into a career of teaching. Unable to resume my third year at a small Pennsylvania state teachers college, I had enlisted in the U.S. Navy. To my knowledge, it was the first time that branch of the military had offered a voluntary two year period of service. It was a piece of cake. After boot camp I was assigned to the USS Wisconsin (BB64), appointed as the Executive Officer's Yeoman, and just enjoyed a two-year "shakedown cruise" involving good will visits to more than fifteen countries. No, I wasn't there... there being the real war, not my cruise ship junket on a brand new battleship. The only action I ever saw was at a typewriter. As I said, the GI Bill enabled me to return to college (and even paid for a Master's Degree). But I wasn't there. Youth and the joy of a successful first decade of teaching (1959-1969) blinded me to everything except me, and any time a whiff of Vietnam or the campus protests encroached upon that serenity, "the war" just seemed so far away. No, I wasn't there but here.

    Karl Marlantes' MATTERHORN: A NOVEL OF THE VIETNAM WAR, although coming to my attention only in early June 2012, zapped me from a complacency about being "here" for most of the war, and viciously threw me into a shock of recognition ... a shock that leered and hissed my betrayal of any kind of support for a war that America never should have fought. But fight it did, right or wrong ... my country and friends and neighbors, even a brother-in-law shot days before his release ... but I wasn't there in thought, word or deed.

    I was doing just fine until I joined Audible. Why I ever chose MATTERHORN, a brilliant first novel thirty-five years in the writing by a scholar who actually fought heroically in the war's darkest days, is beyond me. But, as Marlantes' characters so often muse, "There it is."

    By the time I engaged in a final six-hour listening marathon, irresistibly drawn into the diorama of so many men's lives - past, present, and future - I was finally there as much as I ever could be. My six-hundred page exorcism was over. I am scourged, stronger for the sacrifices of the thousand thousands for whom John Donne's bell never tolled in my heart until now. A humble token of my respect and appreciation for the "kids" who fought this insane war is demonstrated in my near reverent Internet searches to gain knowledge, truth, wisdom - the only three solemn and bloodied sisters who are capable of releasing me from the collectively subconscious guilt that the cancer of the Vietnam War produced in most Americans who had a pulse at the time, including the government and the politicians ... especially the politicians. The truth will set you free? Better late than never?

    Well, maybe. There it is. But I wasn't there... in thought, word, or deed.

    I wasn't there!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Tanguy Arkansas 04-18-11
    Rich Tanguy Arkansas 04-18-11 Member Since 2017

    Concealed Weapon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW"

    I missed the draft by one year. This book makes me glad I did. Very powerful story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 12-25-10
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 12-25-10 Member Since 2009

    Business Physicist and Astronomer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible Reality, Superbly Done"

    There are over 100 reviews so I can't add much to what's already been said.

    This is great story, painful though it is. It do not think we've learned much since Vietnam except to cover the bad and play up the good. The military still runs on politics.

    The narration is brilliant. I don't see how the narrator can keep all the voices distinct and consistent. Wonderful production.

    If you are under 50 and don't really understand what was going on in Vietnam, give this book a listen.

    Chris Reich

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 11-26-10
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 11-26-10 Member Since 2017
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    "A Gut-Wrenching Reading Experience"

    I bought this book during the half-price sale, not expecting much from it. I'm leery of war novels, particularly those about the Vietnam War, as they either seem to be written by John Wayne or John Lennon.

    Matterhorn isn't so much concerned with the big WHY? of Vietnam. It focuses on a company of Marines, who don't think much about why they're in Vietnam, only when they're going home.

    This book is ugly, heartbreaking, moving and at times beautiful. I will never be able to truly understand what these young men went through 40 years ago, but I feel that after reading this book I have a better idea.

    Matterhorn is unsentimental, but still manages to have soul. Bronson Pinchot does a very good job with the many different voices required, including a variety of regional and cultural accents.

    A very powerful book. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michaela Unterumbach, Germany 09-20-10
    Michaela Unterumbach, Germany 09-20-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best book sofar..."

    I have 173 books in my library, read most of them, about 80% were carefully selected, as was Matterhorn.
    Matterhorn being, up until now at least, the best of the bunch. I never though I could get into war-stories, but I gave it a try and man, it's worth it.
    I listened to the complete book within a time period of 36 hours... just couldn't put it to rest. The difficulty as always is to find something equally entertaining.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada 09-06-10
    Justin New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada 09-06-10
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    "Great story, and spellbinding narration"

    This is probably the finest war literature I've ever listened to (or read). This will go down as one of the definitive Vietnam war novel. Bronson Pinchot's grasp of cross-cultural American voices were a perfect complement to his gravelly narration. Just an amazing story, could barely let go of the earphones throughout the read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noelle Stockton Springs, ME, United States 05-07-10
    Noelle Stockton Springs, ME, United States 05-07-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book!"

    This is not my usual reading material being a 59 year old female, but I appreciated it immensely. The reader did an excellent job and the writing was riveting. I learned a lot about the Vietnam War that was probably quite authentic based on comments from friends back then. This is not a happy story with a wonderful ending but a realistic view of war in a jungle far away. I would recommend it to everyone to read!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-04-10
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-04-10 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful, unique and unforgettable"

    Really one of the best books I've downloaded in the past two years. I would give it ten stars if I could. Its a compelling and heartbreaking story. I think the best part about this book though is that it is not a retelling of all of the familiar Vietnam stories, the tales we've become familiar with from Platoon or Full Metal Jacket or Capote or whatever. Its a truly unique perspective, and there are still things in this book that I had never heard told before and can hardly believe may have happened. My father-in-law, a silver star winning Marine in Vietnam, gave this book his most enthusiastic praise while also admitting it was difficult for him to read at times. Definitely worth your d/l credit and time to listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Gahanna, OH, United States 04-11-10
    Robert Gahanna, OH, United States 04-11-10 Member Since 2014
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    "WOW!!!"

    I read the reviews and thought they were probably overstated. I was very wrong. This book is great and I highly recommend it. It rings with authenticity.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benny Profane Scottsdale, AZ, United States 02-12-15
    Benny Profane Scottsdale, AZ, United States 02-12-15 Member Since 2013

    RKM

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrors of war skillfully depicted"

    This is a powerful, meaningful book by an author seemingly with no literary aspirations beyond being heard on Vietnam, a war he served in with distinction. It took him over 30 years to finish and find a publisher. This book has flesh, blood and soul. It will enrapture you , enrage you and engage you long after you put it down, either during or after reading.

    One of the things I tend to do after I enjoy a book is read the bad reviews -- 1 star, etc -- on Amazon. Often, it's for comedic purposes -- someone saying Dickens is boring and too long or Cormac McCarthy is depressing or someone saying they figured out "Gone Girl" 10 pages in. You know: Ha Ha.

    The absurdity of the bad reviews here actually bothered me. Hey, I get it that not everyone likes stories that aren't uplifting. Or some folks don't like cussing. Or some are so suffused with their politics -- 'MERICA IS ALWAYS AWESOME! -- that they can't enjoy this book, just as they can't be educated on science, history and reality.

    I get it. It's just that there is so much passionate seriousness here that you'd wish the bumpkins could be self-aware enough to sit this one out.

    My previous "favorite" - truly a trite term - Vietnam novel was "Going After Cacciato," but this one, a straightforward Point A to Point B narrative, completely engaged me with a diverse group of men trying to negotiate and survive circumstances that were equally horrific and physically taxing as socially complex.

    It's not an anti-Marine or anti-America or even an anti-war novel. It does become an anti-Vietnam War novel if you decide to extrapolate on the experiences Mellas and his fellow combatants, and that's not an unreasonable thing to do.

    But what this book does is airlift you into an exotic and, yes, horrifying experience, thereby expanding your range of understanding. When you finish the book, you will be changed by the knowledge.

    And, by the way, Bronson Pinchot's sober, authoritative and pitch-perfect narration is outstanding... if you know who he's played as an actor, that will bring a smile to your fact.

    2 of 2 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
    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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