This wasn t an easy read But then nothing about war is easy much less the psychological and spiritual effects of war on our combat vets This was as thought provoking challenging and emotionally
This wasn't an easy read. But then, nothing about war is easy, much less the psychological and spiritual effects of war on our combat vets. This was as thought provoking, challenging, and emotionally draining as any solid book about war should be. A few caveats to add context to my review of the book: 1) I won this book through Good Reads. 2) I am a civilian. 3) I am a US citizen. 4) I am an opponent of the vast majority of wars that we have participated in. 5) I am a counselor; the counseling profession has a recent yet fast moving awareness to the effects war can have on the psyche. Marlantes gently and intellectually challenged my views of war. In a profession where entire scholarly journals, conferences, and specializations are dedicated to the trauma or war, I had become even more set in my "anti-war" ways. This is certainly not to say that I am pro-war now. What I am, though, is aware of my previous sophomoric "anti-war" views. Marlantes presented a middle ground to me. This is a slow read. It should be this way too, as war is slow. At the end I knew this was a necessary read for me. It won't be long before this is required reading in High Schools (hopefully we will be wise enough to require it before our youth are of age to sign up for the draft). While never directly mentioning either, Marlantes helped me understand both a generation and political party I have never seen eye to eye with. I have not moved to stand on the other sides of those painted lines. But now, thanks to Marlantes, I stand closer to the center and have more balance, understanding, and compassion. What a surprisingly impacting read. The best What It is Like to Go to War By Karl Marlantes is a Ebook From the author of the New York Times bestseller Matterhorn, this is a powerful nonfiction book about the experience of combat and how inadequately we prepare our young men and women for war.War is as old as humankind, but in the past, warriors were prepared for battle by ritual, religion and literature which also helped bring them home In a compelling narrative, MarlaFrom the author of the New York Times bestseller Matterhorn, this is a powerful nonfiction book about the experience of combat and how inadequately we prepare our young men and women for war.War is as old as humankind, but in the past, warriors were prepared for battle by ritual, religion and literature which also helped bring them home 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 talks frankly about how he is haunted by the face of the young North Vietnamese soldier he killed at close quarters and how he finally finds a way to make peace with his past Marlantes discusses the daily contradictions that warriors face in the grind of war, where each battle requires them to take life or spare life, and where they enter a state he likens to the fervor of religious ecstasy.Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as 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.. A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as 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 is the author of Matterhorn, which won the William E Colby Award given by the Pritzker Military Library, the Center For Fiction s Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Prize, the 2011 Indies Choice Award for Adult Debut Book of the Year and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation s James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction He lives in rural Washington.. Good Ebook What It is Like to Go to War I am of the age where I could very well have been a veteran of the Vietnam War. Or, I could have died there. But I was spared that, first by student deferments and then the timeliness of the Paris Peace Talks. However, I know and have known many men who fought there. On the surface, they seem fine. Their silence about their experiences is uniform. Yet, I know one man who cannot stand to be touched. He has an exaggerated startle response at the slightest contact. And a good lady friend had a lengthy relationship with another veteran of that war. That ended after too many nights shattered by his night terrors and, on more than one occasion his choking her, believing he was engaged in hand to hand combat.My Uncle celebrated his 21st birthday at Hickham Field on December 7, 1941. During his lifetime he never spoke of that morning. Island hopping across the Pacific, his only story regarding New Guinea was having been in the same unit as Mario Lanza. He didn't like him. Crude, vulgar, he described him.But if you want to know what it is like to go to war, Karl Marlantes will tell you. He leaves no doubt as to what it is like.The briefest biography of Karl Marlantes immediately informs the reader his books will not be ordinary fare. A National Merit Scholar, Marlantes attended Yale University. He attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, interrupted by his service in Vietnam as a young Lieutenant. There he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Navy Cross, and twelve Air Medals. Marlantes earned the right to be called a warrior and to educate those who have never been to war what it means to be one.Marlantes battled thirty years to achieve publication of his novel "Matterhorn" in 2010. Now, Marlantes has followed up his novel with a memoir on his experiences in Vietnam and his opinions on how young men sent into war are done so without the necessary education to understand what they will experience and without the appropriate services necessary to reintegrate them into civilian life."What it is Like to Go to War" is a hard hitting portrait of the experience of war and its effect on the human psyche. When an author of Marlantes' stature rubs elbows with Joseph Campbell and Robert Bly, the end result is an eloquent, articulate, and psychologically astute punch to the gut.Generations ago, young men were sent to war by old men who had forgotten what it was like. That is no longer the case. Our military has grown successively younger. No longer do green young men have the benefit of older career non-coms and officers who have fought in previous wars. Nor have the vast majority of our nation's leaders had actual combat experience. The graying Master Sergeant portrayed by Sam Elliott in "We Were Soldiers" is fast becoming a thing of the past.Marlantes expresses disdain for congressional combat junkets where representatives never see the results of actual combat. Their experience is one of calm and quiet, conducted to assure their constituency that all things are under control and there is nothing to worry about.Interlaced with Marlantes' personal experiences are frequent references to classic military quotations and writings that address the essence of what it is like to go to war. Here, Marlantes shows us ancient cultural examples including the Celtic mythos surrounding Cuchulain, examples of the Code of Bushido, and some pointed quotations from General Patton addressing the importance of the principles of loyalty flowing from the top of leadership down to the enlisted man being more important than its flow in the opposite direction.Marlantes is merciless in his exposure of lying in the military world for the protection of career reputation and personal aggrandizement. His primary example centered on the false importance of "body counts" during the Vietnam War. Marlantes cheered Schwarzkopf when that General indicated the number of Republican Guard destroyed was irrelevant--that what mattered what who gave in first. In the end, that is what matters.Today, unless we have family members stationed in a hot spot, that we have troops engaged in military operations causes us little concern. Marlantes reminds us, "Warriors deal with death. They take life away from others. This is normally the role of God...The Marine Corps taught me how to kill but it didn't teach me how to deal with the killing."It is impossible to read Marlantes' account without realizing that our young men who have returned from Iraq and who have yet to return from Afghanistan will not be the same young men we knew when they first went there. As they have served to ostensibly protect us, in turn we must now see that we acknowledge their return and welcome them home with the necessary services to lead the semblance of a normal life away from the sound of the guns.
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