What It Is Like to Go to War
Karl Marlantes. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011. 256 pp. Pref. Afterword. $25.
Reviewed by Charity E. Winters
For more than three decades Karl Marlantes, a highly decorated Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, sweated over his first novel, Matterhorn. The 2010 book was hailed by critics as a modern-day Iliad, an epic combustion of fact and fiction that channeled his memories of combat in Southeast Asia. This year Marlantes has followed up with his first work of nonfiction, What It Is Like to Go to War, in which he shares intimate perspectives on combat and how we could better prepare those who do the fighting. Through riveting anecdotes interwoven with historical analysis, literature, and self-examination, Marlantes shares his odyssey of going off to war and the long journey home.