Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes


Waino Mellas sees Vietnam as a part of a brilliant political plan. He’ll enlist as a Marine, fight, and use his success to gain political glory. Dropped into the chaos of war he’ll face the indifferent jungle, battle, and politics. Can he survive and if he does who will he be?

Jungle rot, resignation towards senseless orders, and battle tension provide a disturbing, bleak, and gruesome picture of the Vietnam War. The politics of manipulative officers, racial tension, and lack of support back home emphasizes a nonromantic view of war. Mellas is a complicated character as selfish political motivations clash with growing empathy for his troops. Other characters such as natural leader Hawke and conflicted China also pull the reader into the story. Matterhorn offers a realistic feeling portrayal of Vietnam, interesting characters, and provokes thought about war (why, how, and its cost).

Want other books like Matterhorn?

A man goes to Vietnam unaware of the danger and perhaps unbearable realities he will encounter in Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam by Paul Clayton.

A Marine platoon struggles to survive the dangers of the Vietnam War in Fields of Fire by James Webb.

Books such as the author’s nonfiction What It Is Like to Go to War provide a look at fighting in war and its effects.


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