Just finished a book called Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Let me just start out here and say that growing up I’d heard about Vietnam and I’ve seen movies and I’ve read stuff and I had built up this image that Vietnam was just a huge clusterfuck for the soldiers while they were there and then once they got home. But I really never knew why. I never understood the war from the perspective of it’s most important soldiers: The grunts on the ground doing infantry. Having read this book, I now know about 10,000% more than I ever did.
Now, there is definitely some lame dialog and some weak introspection around the main character, but that totally doesn’t matter at all. The story is incredibly compelling (once you get into it) and it just feels so real that you can’t help but appreciate what these poor fuckers must have went through.
I also learned a lot of terminology and tactics and the nuts and bolts of a company on the move ‘in the bush’ and it was really amazing to finally fill in all the blanks from all the movies I’d seen. Note that there is a really awesome Glossary at the end of the book that since I was reading on the Kindle, I never even knew about until I was done. I wish I’d had it from the start.
So, go get this book right now and read it. You won’t ever need to learn any more about the war and what the soldiers went through (unless you want to learn the politics involved at the macro level).