Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.
Written by a highly decorated Marine veteran over the course of thirty years, Matterhorn is a spellbinding and unforgettable novel that brings to life an entire world—both its horrors and its thrills—and seems destined to become a classic of combat literature.
Thirty years in the making, Marlantes s epic debut is a dense, vivid narrative spanning many months in the lives of American troops in Vietnam as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger from opposing forces as well as on their home turf. Marine lieutenant and platoon commander Waino Mellas is braving a 13-month tour in Quang-Tri province, where he is assigned to a fire-support base and befriends Hawke, older at 22; both learn about life, loss, and the horrors of war. Jungle rot, leeches dropping from tree branches, malnourishment, drenching monsoons, mudslides, exposure to Agent Orange, and wild animals wreak havoc as brigade members face punishing combat and grapple with bitterness, rage, disease, alcoholism, and hubris. A decorated Vietnam veteran, the author clearly understands his playing field (including military jargon that can get lost in translation), and by examining both the internal and external struggles of the battalion, he brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences. Marlantes s debut may be daunting in length, but it remains a grand, distinctive accomplishment.
Outstanding horrifying journey that could have easily been non fiction. Leaves you with the feeling of struggling through the jungle, terrified, as well as the camaraderie, brotherhood, and exhilaration of combat. Hopefully as close as most us will ever come to the real thing. To all of our vets, but, especially those from Vietnam, I'm so sorry, and thank you from the bottom of my soul!
As a marine who served from 1966-70, this book brought back many memories of the corps. The author did an excellent job describing the day to day life of a grunt marine serving in Viet Nam. An excellent read.
I too served in Quang Tri Province...for the most part the book is a compilation of challenges faced by Marines and Army Infantry assigned to I-Corp. All things considered it is excellently written and allows others to understand the trials of young men battling the conditions and the enemy in a jungle environment which is often in the enemy,s own backyard!