What It Is Like to Go to War Summary and Reviews

What It Is Like to Go to War

by Karl Marlantes

What It Is Like to Go to War
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2011
    448 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

"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 being acclaimed as acclaimed as 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review... Wrenchingly honest memoir on his time in Vietnam: what it means to go into the combat zone and kill and, most importantly, what it means to truly come home." - Publishers Weekly

"A valiant effort to explain and make peace with war's awesome consequences for human beings." - Kirkus

"Karl Marlantes has written a staggeringly beautiful book on combat—what it feels like, what the consequences are and above all, what society must do to understand it. In my eyes he has become the preeminent literary voice on war of our generation. He is a natural storyteller and a deeply profound thinker who not only illuminates war for civilians, but also offers a kind of spiritual guidance to veterans themselves. As this generation of warriors comes home, they will be enormously helped by what Marlantes has written—I’m sure he will literally save lives." - Sebastian Junger

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Author Information

Karl Marlantes Author Biography

A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as 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. This is his first novel. He lives in rural Washington State.

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  • Matterhorn jacket
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