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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.

©2010 Karl Marlantes (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,231
  • 4 Stars
    1,828
  • 3 Stars
    694
  • 2 Stars
    211
  • 1 Stars
    169

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,447
  • 4 Stars
    1,127
  • 3 Stars
    338
  • 2 Stars
    82
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    71

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 Stars
    450
  • 2 Stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerizing!

I listen to audio books everyday while I work. Typically I'm listening to 2-3 at a time, switching when I become frustrated or tired of the story. Matterhorn was so mesmerizing and moving that I couldn’t stop listening. When I’d go home and eat dinner I’d be thinking about it, when I woke up in the morning I couldn't wait to get back into the jungle. I found that I couldn’t work at times, but sat with my head down and my chair turned toward the speakers, listening. Bronson Pinchot was by far the best narrator I have ever listened to, he has found his calling. His reading and the story has left a lasting impression on me. I felt like I was there with Bravo Company and all the terror, pain and frustration as well as the beautiful and terrible and complicated human relationships. What a story!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sparky
  • United States
  • 08-09-12

Vietnam insight

What did you love best about Matterhorn?

I think it really reflects how the war was fought

What did you like best about this story?

The way the characters interacted with each other

Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

All of them

Who was the most memorable character of Matterhorn and why?

I really liked the way each character played a role

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • Westmont, IL, United States
  • 07-30-12

Reading & Story Line - a Bit Over the Top

What did you like best about Matterhorn? What did you like least?

Overall detail about life of a Marine was great, but extremes about officer behavior and racial tensions just took away from the book. The reader's regular "over" inflections were frankly annoying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping Tale from boots on the ground

Where does Matterhorn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best book I have listened to so far on Audible.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Matterhorn?

When Parker and Mellas have their conversation about race, identity and interracial relationships.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

I never heard Pinchot; instead I was captivated by his outstanding intonation and delivery of such a varied band of characters. I've listened to many audiobooks and I would rank Pinchot among the very best readers. He truly made the story come alive.

Who was the most memorable character of Matterhorn and why?

Even though the story was told from Mellas' point-of-view, I found China to be a fascinating character. He was an idealist, but in the end his experiences in combat and his devotion to his brothers-in-arms shone through.

Any additional comments?

I have found that after finishing some books, I am happy to be finished. With many books, I am indifferent about finishing. But with very few books, I am sad to come to their end. Matterhorn was truly one of those books. I felt like I have lived with the 24th Marines in the jungle for the past month, and it has been a very memorable and heart-wrenching experience.

Matterhorn beautifully and tragically illustrates what the "boots on the ground," the Infantryman endures as a result of flawed political perspectives and the selfish aspirations of military commanders. And it repeats itself, over and over again. At any rate, an outstanding book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • West Lebanon, NH, United States
  • 07-17-12

got completely sucked in

at first I found the narration flat and un-engaging. I also couldn't keep up with the formidable roll call. pretty soon the story picked up, the characters became real people, and I got completely sucked in. the narration now felt appropriately understated, allowing the inherent drama to speak for itself.

death in particular is present in so many forms: sudden, unexpected, indiscriminate, pointless, heroic, and - every now and then - narrowly escaped. I was sometimes laughing, occasionally angry, often grieved, and always moved. the characters are all so human; I felt the story did their hardships justice, without flattening them into cardboard heroes.

I think this book is an important read for anyone. no matter what you think of American wars overseas, you should take an interest in the experiences of the Americans fighting those wars. they've earned it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wasnt ready for it to end and for me to leave

What made the experience of listening to Matterhorn the most enjoyable?

Drama, well written and delivered

Any additional comments?

Sad when the book was coming to an end, I was not ready for it to end and for my time in it to be over.... left me feeling what now? Its will be a while before I find another story like this.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing Narration

Would you listen to Matterhorn again? Why?

No. While the story was good the narration was slow, uninspired and generally a disappointment considering the other works of Pinchot.

How could the performance have been better?

It would have been a big improvement to have a narrator who didn't seem to be bored with the whole thing. There were many times, despite being interested in the narrative, that I wanted to just give up on the book because of the lackluster performance of Pinchot.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well written at much deeper level than "the war."

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A book about learning to lead, about the need for understanding in race relations and about the insanity of the autocratic nature of the military. Excellent character development gives each character a strong basis in reality - we all are flawed. Even the finest, no matter your definition of that, make mistakes with a terrible toll when life and death are at stake. Mr. Marlantes has been there, and he learned something!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • FRESNO, CA, United States
  • 05-31-12

One of the best books I've read in a long time

If you could sum up Matterhorn in three words, what would they be?

Epic. Emotional. Tense.

What did you like best about this story?

The emotions it evoked from me, I was literally cussing at Simpson while driving in my car listening to the story. It was very well written, good look into how a man's priorities change once in a war, and what people do for political aspirations with no regard for other people's lives.

Which scene was your favorite?

The latter engagement at Matterhorn.

Who was the most memorable character of Matterhorn and why?

Mellas, because of the character's authenticity, he truly has fears and selfish thoughts like we all do.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

One you'll never forget

What did you love best about Matterhorn?

This is a story that needs telling. I was reluctant to take on a morbid subject, but once I began listening, could hardly stop. I felt like I was there with them.

Any additional comments?

Bronson Pinchot was excellent. I'll look for his name and choose accordingly.