From the author of the award-winning, best-selling novel Matterhorn, comes a brilliant nonfiction book about war
In 1968, 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 What It Is Like to Go to War, 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. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.
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.
"I've met Karl Marlantes a couple of times now, and each time I've been deeply impressed with his intense intelligence, his ability to tell a story, and his bravery to talk so very honestly about war, what he did in it, what he got out of it, and what he wishes were different, then and now. This book is very much like having a long conversation (albeit with footnotes) with the man himself. He opens up about everything which requires a depth of bravery that far surpasses that of a traditional warrior, though he would argue that the truly traditional warrior was a man of thought and philosophy, and we've stripped that part of war away over the millennia. He's introspective and probing, looking for meaning and lessons. He's also adamant about training and supporting the WHOLE warrior, not just on weapons and strategy but on spirituality, philosophy, morality and psychological coping techniques--before they go, while they are in the field, and certainly after they come home. He makes many great points about what is wrong today, and what lessons we should have already learned from all the battles from Vietnam on. This is a very intense read, but an invaluable one. I urge everyone to read this book."