Swofford on Marlantes's 'What It Is Like to Go to War'

There’s a really good laudatory review in The Daily Beast of Karl (Matterhorn ) Marlantes’ new book, What It Is Like to Go to War by Anthony Swofford, the Persian Gulf War Marine veteran who wrote the best-selling book Jarhead (2005). In his review, Swofford—who served in a Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon and has taught  at the University of Iowa and at Lewis and Clark College—also praises Matterhorn , as well two other Vietnam War novels by veterans of that conflict.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Over 40 years after he’d fought in Vietnam as a Marine Corps lieutenant, Karl Marlantes’s brilliant novel  Matterhorn arrived on the literary scene in 2010 like an acre of Claymore mines detonating at once. The evocative book instantly joined Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato , Richard Currey’s Fatal Light , and other classics of the form up on the top shelf of war fiction. Many people asked, ‘What took this guy so long?’

“Marlantes answered with What It Is Like to Go to War. Part narrative memoir, part psychological study of the warrior soul, part literary think piece, part veterans’ mental-health advocacy project, this book does all of those things well and often splendidly.”



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