Judy Ossello, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Judy Ossello)
Extremely well-written with vivid characters and moments which kept me up way past when I wanted to go to sleep so that I could finish a chapter or find a stopping point for the night. If not for sleep, I would've read in one sitting.
bkwrm, November 4, 2012 (view all comments by bkwrm)
5 isn't high enough...
Who needs vampires when you can read about human beings
in a war in the bush living in "hell". Vampires can't begin to compare
with a story about humans killing each other during a war that
didn't make sense. This powerful novel will get under your skin
and stay there.
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Stephen Gordenier, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Stephen Gordenier)
Matterhorn is a book about the war in Vietnam that takes the reader into the jungle with an M16 in hand. It manages to avoid the political implications of that war while offering a good look at the daily life of a soldier in that conflict. The author doesn't shy away from the realities of jungle warfare or the frustration felt for the REMFs (the brass back in comfortable billets far from the front lines who are making the operational decisions). This certainly isn't a beach book; it can be uncomfortable reading at times. But it's a book that once started, will be hard to put down.
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Richard Aurbach, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Richard Aurbach)
The best way to understand and appreciate the insanity of war and of the so-called leaders who deliberately put others in harms way is to experience it yourself. The next best way is to read a book that is so realistic and immersive that it makes you believe you are there while you are reading it. This book is amazing. You will never think about Vietnam or war or military leaders the same way again.
These days, we are all about honoring the troops while questioning the war we put them in. Back in the '70s, we didn't seem to see that distinction as clearly. But after you've lived with the troops, been put in impossible positions and asked to do impossible things -- which you will when reading "Matterhorn" -- you'll realize how misguided out attitudes to returning soldiers were in the Vietnam era and you'll wonder how anyone could return from such an experience WITHOUT PTSD.
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Alan Locke, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Alan Locke)
A great blend of authenticity coupled with excellent writing to keep the reader's interest. A very enjoyable and well considered book. Highly recommended.
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Grove Press -
Powerful. Words melt away, immersing me into a predator-infested jungle. Soon to be a classic.
Matterhorn is not only the best novel yet written about the Vietnam War, it's one of the best written by any American in recent memory. Engrossing, compelling, and absolutely devastating. No wonder it took 30 years to write.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Thirty years in the making, Marlantes's epic debut is a dense, vivid narrative spanning many months in the lives of American troops in Vietnam as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger from opposing forces as well as on their home turf. Marine lieutenant and platoon commander Waino Mellas is braving a 13-month tour in Quang-Tri province, where he is assigned to a fire-support base and befriends Hawke, older at 22; both learn about life, loss, and the horrors of war. Jungle rot, leeches dropping from tree branches, malnourishment, drenching monsoons, mudslides, exposure to Agent Orange, and wild animals wreak havoc as brigade members face punishing combat and grapple with bitterness, rage, disease, alcoholism, and hubris. A decorated Vietnam veteran, the author clearly understands his playing field (including military jargon that can get lost in translation), and by examining both the internal and external struggles of the battalion, he brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences. Marlantes's debut may be daunting in length, but it remains a grand, distinctive accomplishment." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by USA Today,
“Visceral...Evocative...We feel the Marines exhaustion as they dig gun pits, carry dead and wounded comrades, and nearly die from hunger....We hear the scream of the M-16s, the thunk of mortar shells, the hammering of AK-47s and the crack of bullets. We smell the stink of fear, blood and unwashed bodies....[Marlantes] pitches us into a harrowing narrative we wont soon forget.”
“I've laughed at Catch-22 and wept at The Thin Red Line, but Ive never encountered a war novel as stark, honest and wrenching as Matterhorn....By turns, this book horrified me, crushed me and beat me up, but I found it nearly impossible to stop reading. More than any living American novelist I've read, Marlantes made me feel what I already must have known: that war is worse than hell.”
"[T]he Vietnam novel has come of age, and this is a worthy addition to the genre....An engrossing chronicle of men at war."
by Library Journal (starred review),
"The battle scenes, at which the author excels, are frequent, brutal, and viscerally energetic, and the skillfully rendered dialog reveals a bunch of strangers attempting to communicate in life-defeating circumstances. In the end, there are no real victors....Obviously not a brief, cheery read, this is a major work that will be a valuable addition to any permanent collection."
by Dan Rather,
"Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read."
by Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist,
"I have never read a war novel, outside of War and Peace, that created such a living, breathing hologram of all sides of any war."
An incredible publishing story—written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a New York Times best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a USA Today best seller—Matterhorn has been hailed as a brilliant account of war” (New York Times Book Review). Now out in paperback, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailers The Naked and the Dead and James Joness 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 novel 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.
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