This book is exceptional. It would seem to be of special interest to those who work with vets or those with family members who are combat vets and are looking to better understand the effects of prolonged combat on the human condition. Of additional note extreme political bias is absent in the book which adds to its impact.
Having served in Vietnam I can totally relate to what Marlantes is trying to say. I listened to him on television giving an account of what happens then and later. Some of the things he said made me go, "wow", that has happened to me too after I came back. I applaude Marlantes.
True to it's title, and so much more. Marlantes bears his heart, grief, bravado, shadow, and brilliant insights to gird the loins of warriors confronting battles, both on the frontlines and at home. A master class in human behaviour.
Marlantes' experiences during the Vietnam war are fascinating, but his New Age and men's movement pseudo-psychology are off putting. He makes a few strong points to recognize and not repress aggression in children and his suggestion for greater psychological support in the military makes sense. Unfortunately the book does not really tell you what it is like to go to war; perhaps a more fitting title would be What it is like to have been to war.
"Widely praised as one of the best novels written about the Vietnam War, Karl Marlantes's 2010 debut, Matterhorn, was packed with heartrending scenes inspired by his experiences as a young Marine. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes reveals the intimate details of the real-life moments he fictionalized for Matterhorn and skillfully deploys them to support his call for a paradigm shift in how we prepare soldiers for combat."
--Rebecca Joines Schinsky
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