BookBrowse Reviews Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

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A Novel of the Vietnam War

by Karl Marlantes

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  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 592 pages
    May 2011, 640 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book



A fictional saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran

Matterhorn should come with a warning: "Do not read before bed." Not only did it keep me up reading into the wee hours of the night, but I couldn't stop thinking about the characters and situations they found themselves in long after I'd turned off the light. Marlantes's first novel is stunning in its intensity and scope. I've read many war novels over the years, but none that come close to this book's ability to convey the lives of soldiers with such realism.

The narrative follows Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas, newly arrived at Fire Support Base (FSB) Matterhorn in the northwest corner of South Vietnam. As we meet Mellas, he is a callow young man who joined the Marines right out of high school, entering an officer candidate program that allowed him to attend college while training, joining the Marine Corps proper after graduation. He's therefore a bit older than the 16 - ...

A video interview with Karl Marlantes about the 30-year process of writing Matterhorn

Suggested Reading
Karl Marlantes' top 10 war stories - books that tell the 'numbing, confusing, occasionally thrilling' truth about combat.

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Beyond the Book:
  The United States Marine Corps

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