One of the most important and highly-praised books of 2011, Karl Marlantes’s "What It Is Like to Go to War" is set to become just as much of a classic as his epic novel "Matterhorn".
In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced second lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes was a bright young man who was well trained for the task at hand but, as he was to discover, far from mentally prepared for what he was about to experience. In his thirteen-month tour he saw intense combat. He killed the enemy and he watched friends die. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his experiences.
In "What it is Like to Go to War", Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. In a compelling narrative, Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings--from Homer to the Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors--mainly men but increasingly women--are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.