The insights within What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes will take the reader inside the mind of any veteran who faced death in combat. His highly recognized Vietnam war novel Matterhorn based upon his service leading a Marine unit in 1969. This is a harrowing read.
There can be no doubt veterans would agree Marlantes documents the true impact of war across a series of insightful chapter topics including: killing, guilt, lying, loyalty and heroism to name a few.
Without a doubt that What It Is Like To Go To War addresses a missed topic taught in basic training. And Marlantes does address suicides by veterans in Vietnam and the Gulf War. It becomes very compelling to assist those vets returning home from battle.
He addresses the most important issue from a distinguished military career: you are taught to kill but not how to react to killing.
Marlantes provides extremely deep insights, while not unique to Vietnam does address the 1969 timeframe in which he led men into battle.
His most compelling recollection is how sacred his view of battle emerged while commanding, knowing full well mistakes would cost the lives of his fellow brothers and his friends.
He writes so well about the developing mindset of soldiers in battle that we see so often in hollywood movies. Yet reveals those shortcomings of humanity as a result of trauma in battle that we rarely see onscreen.
Finally the story of how Marlantes was spat upon by a woman on a train in Washington DC after his service speaks well of the disrespect Vietnam Veterans felt only less than 72 hours from departing Saigon.