Tonight I have just finished reading Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War and have been just amazed at how this book has strengthened my understanding of the toll of war has on American soldiers.
There seems to be a strength in Matterhorn about the unique lives of soldiers facing death. Author Karl Marlantes served honorably in Vietnam and it proves to be the difference.
This is a story in the footsteps of Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa and Robert Leckie: Helmet for My Pillow. These two books were the basis for HBO’s The Pacific series. Matterhorn now sits with Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War and Michael Herr’s Dispatches as must-read books about Vietnam.
As I continue reading The Pentagon Papers I am reminded of casualty reports, focusing on body counts as a way to gauge of victory. Marlantes brings this to life. It was all a lie. The soldiers knew it all too well.
Marlantes deserves all recognition surrounding this work. The riveting story of a US soldier stationed along an ambush line mauled to death by a tiger was just as appalling as the fragging of an officer in the final pages.