Tag Archives: a novel of the viet nam war

A very good Viet Nam War novel

I finished another book over the weekend that is worth mentioning.

“Matterhorn; A Novel of the Viet Nam War” by Karl Marlantes is just that. It is a very gritty account of a Marine company in combat in 1969. Marlantes wastes no ink on any subtleties or side plots. From the very first page, he places the reader into the “bush,” with the main character, a brand new second lieutenant who is trying to figure out his job while simultaneously trying to keep from getting killed. The reader lives with the Marine company and experiences the mud, the sweat and the fear. The story is involved and detailed.

Marlantes brings out all the absurdities of war — good officers and bad; expert Marines and inept; courage and stupidity; blacks and whites. The story reminds me a lot of “Fields of Fire” by James Webb; “The 13th Valley” by John del Vecchio; and “Better Times Than These” by Winston Groom.

This is not a “chick book” by any stretch of the imagination. Mrs. Poolman would have no interest. However, if you like military fiction, especially of the Viet Nam era, this is a must-read.

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