Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review - 'Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War' by Karl Marlantes

'Matterhorn' is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of an American Marine company serving in the Vietnamese central highlands near the Laotian border. I'll say right now that I was really impressed with this book. While on many levels it seems to be just another hung-ho adventure novel I found that it quickly breaks the mold by poignantly describing the mind-numbing tedium, petty internal politics and the extreme sense of isolation which all seems part of being a combat infantryman. Set in 1969, the soldiers of Bravo Company live in the shadow of Tet, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the growing militancy of the Black Power movement, and the bitter realization that 'their war' has become nothing more than a corporate exercise in attrition, cronyism and a growing mountain of half-baked statistics.