• Matterhorn

  • A Novel of the Vietnam War
  • By: Karl Marlantes
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (9,353 ratings)
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Matterhorn  By  cover art

Matterhorn

By: Karl Marlantes
Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
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Publisher's summary

An incredible publishing story—written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a New York Times bestseller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next, and a USA Today bestseller—Matterhorn has been hailed as a "brilliant account of war" (New York Times Book Review).

Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones' The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable story that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice—a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

A bonus PDF is included, with maps, a Chain of Command hierarchy, a glossary, and other interesting facts and information.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©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 listeners say about Matterhorn

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A First For Me . . . And The Last

I want to write something meaningful. I suppose all I can say is that it transports the listener from their comfortable SUV or livingroom, halfway around the globe to another world entirely! The story is real, the blood is red, the language is foul, the drugs and alcohol are numbing, the racism is injected into everything, and the futility of this deplorable chapter in our history hangs over the entire account like a dirty blanket. If this is what you want, if you are curious as to why so many who came back from this "conflict" only to discover they can never quite get all the way back, then this book is for you.

I was there as an Army aviator, in country 1966 - 1967, spent some time living with forward outfits but also enjoyed air conditioned villas. I spent every day in support of combat operations in one way or another, day and night - listening to their cries of victory as well as their pain, anguish and calls for fire support, napalm and med-evac. I discovered that I don't need or want to go back to that place again. I have gotten on with my life reasonably undamaged by the experience for which thing I feel blessed. I ache for those I know who have not been so lucky. For me, the experience of opening this Pandora's Box was like sticking my finger in a live light socket to see if it would shock me. It did, and I KNEW it would.

So about the book, it was well crafted and had great, very realistic characters. I "knew" many of them. The author took extra care to be graphic, and it seemed that was his intent from the onset. I cannot fault this effort from a literary standpoint at all, but for me it should have been left alone.

On a happier note, this book re-affirmed my resolve made decades ago, to stop often to "smell the roses" and to give thanks for my small station in life today. I remain proud of my service then, but not so proud of the spineless politicians who failed me, and my brothers in arms at that time.

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431 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Matterhorn

One of the best books I've ever downloaded at 'audible.com'
I listened to this novel continuously, stopping only to sleep.
Basically I ignored the world and lost myself in the story of a company of US Marines, pushed to their mental and physical limits in the jungles of Vietnam.
It's not easy listening. It's not a novel for those who are offended by foul language and graphic depictions of men lost in the madness of war.
It's excruciatingly tense. The suspense is sharp and will have you fidgeting and the actual combat scenes will put you in the fight and have your stomach in knots
Matterhorn is harrowing. The whole book is filled with the despair, futility and stupidity that war brings. . . but on the flip side it's full of heroism, brotherhood and sacrifice.

I felt rage, sadness, elation and despair whilst listening to this book. That makes it great
I loved it.

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205 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary literature

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to in a long time. The writing is masterful, at times poetic, always insightful and full of character development. The author is able to take the listener to the front lines of a brutal war, and fly above the fray with musings on the nature of life. The reader, Bronson Pinchot, is extraordinarily skillful, flawlessly capturing a large cast of characters with distinct dialects.

I'd suggest downloading the free sample Kindle version of this book and just bookmarking the first page that lists key characters in the book and their respective hierarchy--it just makes it easier to get into the first couple of hours.
This is a tour de force, and a remarkable first novel.





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118 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

and you THOUGHT you knew everything about Vietnam

This book is unique in that it lists all the awful day-to-day suffering of a Marine besides fighting the enemy that NO ONE ever put into the movies! It reads like a journal. It is engrossing.

This author lets you feel the suffering and you listen in awe of the heroic feats (like marching in full gear without any food for days) and proud of the soldiers who managed to just live, much less fight, under the worst possible conditions.

Unglamorous but no less worthy of mention are all the things you didn't realize were such scourge such as: a constant struggle against leeches, wearing filthy clothes for weeks, foot rot & ringworm that often bordered often on gangrenous limbs, racial bigotry within units (destroyed is the myth that Vietnam era soldiers all got along fine and were past any bigotry due to the "peace & love" movement), "career officer" making bad decisions just to impress their superiors, battle body counts that were fudged just to look good to whoever needed those numbers.

Also noted is how the new and constant use of RADIO from the central command post to field soldiers led to a *terrible disconnect* freeing those issuing absurd orders from feeling the devastating effects on the men who executed those orders.

This book nicely avoids many of true but horrid cliches that we've ALL heard by now such as; "We had to burn the the village to save it."

Obviously this is not the "feel-good" book of the year.

However I am very glad I read this book. I have even greater understanding and respect for the men who, despite nearly constant suffering, (BESIDES the awful direct combat) the soldiers withstood while fighting in Vietnam.

This audio book is excellently produced & narrated.

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104 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Book

I am going to have to change the answer to all my favorite book password questions to "Matterhorn." Its well-drawn characters, compelling subject and powerful storyline are a stunning achievement from a new author. Its definitely worth a credit, maybe even two and the 21 hours of listening. Even before it was over, I went looking for another by the same author. The narrator may be the best I have ever heard and I have listened to well over 100 audibooks.
Listen to this book!

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102 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 04-11-10

5 Star, Top Pick, Must Buy

Riveting, stunning and gripping. Long story stays solid from start to finish. Great narrator, the writing is superb; close, deep beyond belief and intense. Makes Platoon seem like child's play. The social commentary, which builds towards the end, is relevant and focused and in no way seems preachy. No politics here, just the fog of war shrouded in blood. They say it took the author 30 years to complete this story. I can see why. Recommended.

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45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

The story was riveting, characters you care about. Gives a whole new perspective to the tribulations of the bush soldiers in Nam. I hope Marlantes writes a sequel.

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37 people found this helpful

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

A tale well told....

Marlantes grips the reader as he combines a solid plot line with exceptional character interaction. He chronicles with skill a young second lieutenant's path to a maturity of sorts as the latter confronts the fecklessness of circumstance in a war guided by disparate layers of politics - interpersonal, institutional, and national. Bravo Company pays a heavy price at the nexus between this reality and an unforgiving jungle terrain inhabited by a motivated enemy. The author gives credence to what a rough tutor terror and deprivation can be in forging human bonds and a modicum of wisdom. The tale is well narrated by Mr. Pinchot, and for this listener, proved utterly absorbing

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33 people found this helpful

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

Raw, In the Jungle Account of Vietnam War

My husband and I listened to this audio book together on two long car trips. If you are offended by the language that soldiers and marines use, be forewarned, this book is full of it. At the same time, know that's how it really is and was. To think that God didn't walk with these brave men then or now in the heat of the battle, I believe is a wrong assumption. For God is surely with us all in the valley. The soldiers of Vietnam, for the most part were kids, just out of high school, naive, just out of boot camp, ready to be marines and win the war. Then they were dropped into a mess that no one ever could have prepared them for. My husband came into the army at the end of the Vietnam war, and thank God, and over his 22 year career never saw combat. Many of our friends were killed in Vietnam or had brothers who were killed or who came back completely changed after the war. This book is a book that every American needs to read or listen to. The truth about what politicians do when they send our young people to war is absolutely gut wrenching. And it continues to happen over and over, and the United States never seems to learn. I'm a mother of two soldiers who have served in Iraq. One of our boys is in Afghanistan right now. I am as patriotic and American as apple pie. But something has happened in America that is absolutely frightening. We don't know who the enemy is anymore.

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31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book of 2010

It's only July but I'm not going out on a limb to say this is the best book I'll read in 2010. This novel made me better appreciate being alive. It also gave me insight into the shit our Marines and other armed forces dealt with in Vietnam, and continue to deal with, unbeknownst to the American population at large. A study in contrasts: life and death, day and night, friends and enemies, good and evil, the iniquities of class and race and the ultimate bankruptcy of all these concepts in the face of the final judgment which is ultimately dealt unto us by ourselves, if we're lucky enough to be conscious at the end. It's a great, rough ride. Thank you, Mr. Marlantes.

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29 people found this helpful