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In 1968, at the age of 22, Karl Marlantes abandoned his Oxford University scholarship to sign up for active service with the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. Pitched into a war that had no defined military objective other than kill ratios and body counts, what he experienced over the next thirteen months in the jungles of South East Asia shook him to the core. But what happened when he came home covered with medals was almost worse. It took Karl four decades to come to terms with what had really happened, during the course of which he painstakingly constructed a fictionalized version of his war, MATTERHORN, which has subsequently been hailed as the definitive Vietnam novel. WHAT IT IS LIKE TO GO TO WAR takes us back to Vietnam, but this time there is no fictional veil. Here are the hard-won truths that underpin MATTERHORN: the author's real-life experiences behind the book's indelible scenes. But it is much more than this. It is part exorcism of Karl's own experiences of combat, part confession, part philosophical primer for the young man about to enter combat. It It is also a devastatingly frank answer to the questions 'What is it like to be a soldier?' What is it like to face death?' and 'What is it like to kill someone?'
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A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, 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. Matterhorn, his novel about the Vietnam War, took over three decades to complete and was an international bestseller. He and his wife Anne live on a small lake in western Washington state.
Karl Marlantes has written a staggeringly beautiful book on combat . . . 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 . . . 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 <br> Marlantes is the best American writer right now on war and the extreme costs to society of sending young men and women off to combat without much of a safety net for them when they land back home. . . . With What It Is Like to Go to War a second Marlantes book resides on the top shelf of American literature. --Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead <br> Marlantes brings candor and wrenching self-analysis to bear on his combat experiences in Vietnam, in a memoir-based meditation whose intentions are three-fold: to help soldiers-to-be understand what they're in for; to help veterans come to terms with what they've seen and done; and to help policymakers know what they're asking of the men they send into combat. -- The New Yorker <br> A precisely crafted and bracingly honest book. -- The Atlantic <br> What It Is Like to Go to War is a well-crafted and forcefully argued work that contains fresh and important insights into what it's like to be in a war and what it does to the human psyche. -- The Washington Post <br> With an intellect as sharp and critical as Marlantes', and a temperament not afraid to display confusion or remorse, What It Is Like is more than worth the effort of any reader. -- Los Angeles Times <br> What It Is Like to Go to War ought to be mandatory reading by potential infantry recruits and by residents of any nation that sends its kids--Marlantes's word--into combat. --San Francisco Chronicle <br> Marlantes delivers one of the most powerful meditations on the meaning of war and its impact. A necessary book as America welcomes home a new ge