What It Is Like to Go to War

  • by Karl Marlantes
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the bestselling and award-winning Matterhorn comes a brilliant nonfiction book about war and the psychological and spiritual toll it takes on those who fight.
“I wrote this book primarily to come to terms with my own experience of combat. So far—reading, writing, thinking—that has taken over thirty years.”
In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In his first work of nonfiction, 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.
Just as Matterhorn is already acclaimed a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all-too-essential part of the human experience.
Karl Marlantes, a cum laude graduate of Yale University and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, was a marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals. He has lived and traveled all over the world and now writes full time. He and his wife, Anne, have five children and live on a small lake in Washington.

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What the Critics Say

“A staggeringly beautiful book on combat…[Marlantes] is a natural storyteller and a deeply profound thinker.” (Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Destined to become a Classic

Karl Marlantes [Matterhorn: A Novel of the Viet Nam War] returns with What It is Like to Go to War. His new book is a nonfiction, philosophical, historical, memoir and reflection on his days as a Marine in Viet Nam. Frankly, I have never read anything quite like this book and suggest that anyone who is concerned for the country or has a friend, son, daughter, brother, sister, or lover who has experienced battle (virtually or otherwise) will find it very helpful. This book is beautiful, gut wrenching, and deeply moving. Marlantes has done us all a great service and has shown great courage in revealing his personal story. He has rewarded us many times over for his thoughtful analysis and reflection on war and what it means to the human spirit. The sections on how to welcome the veteran home and to help one with post traumatic stress are worthy of group discussion. I hope that this book gains a wide readership immediately. It is, in my view, going to become a classic of the genre. Please make time for this book. Bronson Pinchot's narration is excellent.
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- Lynn

Been there, done that...

Would you consider the audio edition of What It Is Like to Go to War to be better than the print version?

Yes,it succeeds on an emotional level that you miss in print.


What was one of the most memorable moments of What It Is Like to Go to War?

Very thought provoking. The part on "NUMBNESS" is so true and insightful.


Which scene was your favorite?

The TOTALITY of thought about the oral experience will bring a curious person who has never "BEEN THERE" as close as they will ever come to the experience of being THERE.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes- made me face my experience and cried at the epiphany....


Any additional comments?

Everyone should read it. Especially those people thinking of joining the military.
I think it should be required reading for high school students.

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-30-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.