What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes

91%

13 Critic Reviews

...Marlantes doesn't wallow in violence for its own sake. He has many points to make that apply to war circa 2011, and he does so methodically and with great persuasive force.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

From the author of the award-winning, best-selling novel Matterhorn, comes a brilliant nonfiction book about war

In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.

Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.
 

About Karl Marlantes

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A graduate of Yale University and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, 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. This is his first novel.
 
Published September 11, 2012 by Grove Press. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 25 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for What It Is Like to Go to War
All: 13 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 20 2011

Marlantes...reflects in this wrenchingly honest memoir on his time in Vietnam

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Blog Critics

Excellent
on Sep 11 2011

What It Is Like to Go to War is stunning in the breadth of knowledge on which it draws yet is highly accessible. It is an important book, far too important to ignore.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
on Sep 02 2011

...Marlantes doesn't wallow in violence for its own sake. He has many points to make that apply to war circa 2011, and he does so methodically and with great persuasive force.

Read Full Review of What It Is Like to Go to War | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Book Reporter

Good
on Sep 15 2011

This is a book for all of us, especially timely when we as a nation are contemplating the costs of two ongoing wars.

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LA Times

Good
on Oct 18 2011

...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.

Read Full Review of What It Is Like to Go to War | See more reviews from LA Times

Christian Science Monitor

Good
on Sep 26 2011

...his book isn’t just for future soldiers. It’s for all of us, to help us understand what we’re asking our soldiers to do.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
on Sep 15 2011

Marlantes’s prose is blessed both with a grace born of passion and with the serenity of the scholar...

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
on Sep 06 2011

His book ought to be mandatory reading by potential infantry recruits and by residents of any nation that sends its kids - Marlantes' word - into combat.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
on Sep 10 2011

His book...strips off the veneer of fiction...But it offers the same riveting detail as he explores the divide between a society far removed from war's realities and those like himself who have seen it close up.

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HistoryNet

Excellent
on Mar 01 2012

It will take a long time to repair the damage Vietnam did to us as a nation, but Marlantes has taken a step in that direction. He has told the truth, not least about himself. This is the book to read to understand combat and its costs.

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HistoryNet

Good
on Sep 16 2011

What It Is Like...evinces Marlantes' mastery of metaphor and the use of modern sciences such as sociology and psychology to address the concerns of the warriors he speaks for and to.

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The Sunday Times

Excellent
on Jan 01 2012

Today, too many young men return from our wars to lose a personal battle for the mind. Marlantes describes the nature of this struggle with exceptional force, and even brilliance.

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Marine Corps Gazette

Good
on Sep 23 2011

... this book is remarkable in many ways. It forcefully speaks to our mil­itary veterans and the noncombatants alike.

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Reader Rating for What It Is Like to Go to War
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