Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes Review

“The Deer go” – “Apocalypse Now” – “Platoon”: There are what was going on these films, which sustainably with shocking press from the have shaped our image forty years ago in Vietnam. By all means, the Americans tried to prevent Indochina came under Communist influence ( “domino theory”). They were based in the south of a corrupt system, bombed nationwide with napalm, organized massacres in villages, leafless, to get clear view of the supply routes of the Viet Cong, the jungle with Agent Orange, characterized contaminated soil and water for years and brought the man’s death, cancers and to date malformations in children.

And even they paid a high price: 58,000 Fallen 1965-1975, countless physically and mentally traumatized veterans, a torn generation. Here in the West, the Cold War prevailed – in Indochina fought the rival world views their differences glowing hot from

The author Karl Marlantes can tell from all this firsthand, but served no expectations brutal battles or heroism. , Like his protagonist Mellas he enlisted in 1968 as a 24-year-old volunteer for use in Vietnam.

Which lasted thirteen months for him. In the elite special unit of the US Marine Corps he was promoted to lieutenant and decorated with medals. Like thousands of others, he suffered after his return home in defiance and condemnation by large segments of the American population, which now rejected the dirty and hopeless war for the most part. How is finished to have forgiven his best years risked his life for a dubious cause? Marlantes chose to write his misery from the soul the way.

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For thirty years he wrestled with his manuscript before it was published in the US in 2010 – and “Mit a purchase through this link to support you my offer-danke!”

19-year-By Waino Mellas we end up in the middle of monsoon draped, impenetrable jungle. A small patrol of thirteen Marines to fight the direction of “Matterhorn” by. hilltops, which significantly protrude from the forest and are suitable for expansion as a fire support bases that give commanders names from the Swiss mountains. the idyllisierenden euphemisms are a contribution to a positive connotation the gruesome reality, and that is sorely needed

for four days now the supply helicopter, the group does not fly more;. the fog hanging too close dirt and wet clothes. stick to the men. to prevent Dschungelfäule, it is better to wear no underwear. All the time the feet have to be checked before gangrene walking an ordeal to be. Razor-sharp blades of grass left marks on her arms and hands. Leech sucking up anywhere on the body tightly; one of the animals – tiny and barely noticeable at first – has become fixed in the urethra of a soldier. We know clearly what it causes and how the soldier is preserved in front worst.

Second Lieutenant Mellas gets the lead responsibility for a 40-man squad saddled. Not quite wet behind the ears and no consolidated authority, he wants to prove himself and his people himself what he is a great guy. In addition, he believes that a few bravery would bring him in civilian life after the war, recognition and benefits.

However, the first fierce battle with units of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) is the novel take place until the second half , Since the melee carnage comes relentlessly to language; as crass is disclosed what goes on in the psyche of fighting for his life soldiers in front of him when before his face flashes an enemy – of flesh and blood, not a mark on the monitor of a bomber …

If an enemy touches occupy only a quarter of the book, then what reports of the rest? Answer: Marlantes rayed fragmented, pathos and predominantly in dialogic treatment everyday microcosm of micro unit somewhere in the jungle, the command centers far. He emphasizes precision: The correct terminology, the service ranks, weapons, explosives, locations, etc. requires insider knowledge that we can tap into in attachments and directories

More important is, of course, what we know about the internal structures. learn human relationships, external and internal processes in the camp. With this concept, the Vietnam novel “Matterhorn” is fundamentally different from the known Vietnam films and other anti-war novels. He has nothing but close-ups.

In the jungle are all olive green, but in the bases, during the short recovery periods, raging battle between black and white. Exploited and harassed by the white commanders, the underprivileged blacks defend more radical; the Black Panthers fuel the hatred. Mellas proves in such conflicts, in which he must necessarily give to show solidarity to his men, human empathy and diplomatic skills.

Equally distressing are the tensions between above and below. Where leadership believed and hoped, sometimes sits a de facto opponents. A power-hungry Colonel followed the fighting by radio from his base. He makes “Matterhorn” clear and expand the fire stand with bunker, then admit it that falls to the NVA, and finally win back again – all this in order to “kill ratio” (the ratio between its own and the enemy dead) aufzuhübschen . addition to this absurd and monstrous strategy can be leadership at all reason to doubt: from his safe, distant command center out of the Colonel leaves his men for hours through the jungle robben, hunger and thirst, dig holes in which they under their ponchos find little protection, and then hawked, they would have only rested instead of killing himself. already there must be a tiger bitten or a grenade have torn the legs someone

Of course, Mellas developed over the novel – helicopter rides he only permitted in an emergency.. It grows to its objects, questions of meaning, is reliable and ready for use partner in the team, while yet also self-torture him fear.

“Matterhorn” puts us while in the fighting of a war in which not only the Americans , its allies and the military were involved both parts of the divided country since 1954. Vietnam also South Vietnamese insurgents who communist guerrillas of the Vietcong, the Soviet Union and the people’s Republic of China. But this complex interests with all its deadly entanglements and consequences not discussed Marlantes. His perspective is regionally limited to the area of ​​the “Matterhorn”. The victims civilians from the villages comes as little ago as women and the Vietcong. missing large structures military strategies. Thus the unit acts like randomly thrown at their Dschungelort; of us withheld overview reinforces the impression of absurdity of their action as its mission. Marlantes’ Vietnam novel resembles it more as Bernhard Wicki’s anti-war film “The Bridge” (1959) as the large-scale US-Vietnam movies.

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Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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