After reading 3,500ish pages I reached a breaking point. I set aside the remaining volumes of the Pentagon Papers and began reading Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War.
Much to my surprise this book has been very highly recommended. As I have been reading each volume of the Pentagon Papers it has become quite clear that the politics of war is true insanity.
Sebastian Junger in the New York Times wrote “one of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam—or any war.”
And Mark Bowden who wrote Black Hawk Down commented “(it is) so authentic, so moving and so intense, so relentlessly dramatic, that there were times I wasn’t sure I could stand to turn the page…There have been some very good novels about the Vietnam War, but Matterhorn is the first great one, and I doubt it will ever be surpassed.”
What struck me in The Matterhorn that has been echoing in my mind about the Pentagon Papers was the intentional misleading of enemy killed. At the end of the third chapter a firefight with canon fire killed two NVA soldiers. However as author Karl Marlantes described in the post battle briefing the number of enemy dead was increased as it was sent further up the chain of command.
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