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What It Is Like to Go to War (2011)

by Karl Marlantes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7372831,317 (3.94)54
In his memoir, Marlantes relates his combat experiences in Vietnam and discusses the daily contradictions warriors face in the grind of war, where each battle requires them to take life or spare life. He also underscores the need for returning veterans to be counseled properly.
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Hard to read and harder to put down. If you know a soldier you should read this book. ( )
  dhenn31 | Jan 24, 2024 |
Very intense memoir, brutally honest, and takes us into a world very few are familiar with. It took a lot of guts to write this, in my opinion ( )
  Cantsaywhy | May 22, 2023 |
I was impressed with this book on several levels, but I couldn't exactly say I enjoyed it nor could I say it was highly engaging for me - - so on some levels it merits more than three stars, but I just couldn't bring myself to confer that fourth one.

In part, I blame the marketing folks. The title of this book really isn't spot on. I feel it is more designed to sell books than it is to reveal the content of this particular book. So my expectation was that I would be taken inside the war and shown things I might not have known or imagined. But I what I found between the pages was more of a well done treatise on the psychological impacts of war . . .and in this regard, I do think Marlantes has a lot of fascinating insights and hypothesis.

He addresses topics such as honor and lying and heroism and loyalty - - and how these things really manifest themselves differently in military life than in civilian life. He also speaks eloquently to the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life after war and examines why this is the case. He's deep, thoughtful, and very insightful on these topics. It was only when he addresses spirituality when he loses me - - perhaps because I'm not a religious person.

All in all, I would recommend the book - - but more so if the title "The Impact of War on the Psyche of Soldiers" grabs you . . . ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
nonfiction; veterans/military aspects/politics. I think I would've liked this better in print--the spoken narrator (Bronson Pinchot) wasn't my favorite--but well worth reading for anyone--teens, adults, veterans, people who know veterans, new enlistees. You don't have to agree with everything he says 100% (particularly when he waxes philosophical) but you have to admit Marlantes has got a whole lot more perspective than most people, and it's worth hearing his thoughts and opening up these items for discussion. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
An absolutely essential book for anyone who is interested in joining the army, or has a family member or friend in the army, or who wants to know what a soldier goes through during war. It really delves into the emotional and psychological whirlwind faced by those who go to war. They should hand these out with the uniforms and make it essential reading. ( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marlantes, Karlprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harding, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
--Spartan king, quoted by Thucydides
Any fool can learn from his mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
--Otto von Bismarck
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the Marines I served with in Vietnam, those who came home and those who didn't, and to all combat veterans who fought and are fighting now with noble hearts - all.
First words
Preface: I wrote this book primarily to come to terms with my own experience of combat.
The sun had struggled all day behind monsoon clouds before finally being extinguished by the turning earth and the dark wet ridges of the Annamese Cordillera.
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In his memoir, Marlantes relates his combat experiences in Vietnam and discusses the daily contradictions warriors face in the grind of war, where each battle requires them to take life or spare life. He also underscores the need for returning veterans to be counseled properly.

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