Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Matterhorn", by Karl Marlantes

A novel of the Vietnam War

This is a time when U.S. political tensions are at a boiling point, campuses erupt in violence and protesters take to the streets, racial agendas dominate the enlisted ranks and young Americans are embroiled in brutal combat at the other end of the world. A conflict that will divide the population like never seen before.

The author's astonishing writing immerses his readers deep in the thick of the action: they quickly feel they are part of the story, witnessing the fighting side by side with the courageous soldiers.....Before setting out in this spellbinding novel, make sure you have plenty of repellent, do not forget to keep dry, leave your fears behind and lets go forward....a mission is awaiting..... Emotions will be so real you will soon understand what I mean.

The year is 1969 during the monsoon season deep in the jungles and the sweltering mountains of Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Bravo Company First Platoon lead by a green Lieutenant Waino Mellas and his seasoned officers Fitch, Hawke and Kendall are given the orders to claim and establish a strategic point (the Matterhorn) , an advance fire-support base. The reader quickly learns that a simple sounding plan presents more than one enemy to the soldiers: Mother nature, the unfamiliar and unforgiving terrain, the fear of being isolated and the very capable opponents are just some of the life threatening hostilities they are bombarded with.

Just when the Lieutenant and his men think they have time to catch their breath and count their loses new orders hit them almost as hard as any enemy. Higher command orders them to abandon everything and embark on another dangerous but crucial mission: sever N.V. supply lines at all cost.

The men that are still standing are more and more concerned, will the final cost be worth it. Totally exhausted and feeling demoralized they wonder if new technology and long range communications have left command insensitive to their plight.

Chapter after chapter, the author immerses his readers through one intense battle after another, it is a very exhausting read. The story is told from the point of view of lieutenant Mellas and with extensive dialogue between the soldiers in a language that is dense in slang, jargon and technical terms. The author has provided a detailed glossary, I found it hard to refer back and forth at first but the price of knowing and understanding the terms early on paid dividends, patience enhanced my reading pleasure.

The author himself a decorated veteran of the time has written a complex novel (sometimes difficult to read) of what " Tour of duty" meant to those who served and hopefully to those who will take the time to read this gruesome account of trying times. Will mankind ever learn.......

This is one outstanding novel filled with emotions and lasting impressions. Very well done Mr Marlantes.

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