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Download What It Is Like to Go to War Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample What It Is Like to Go to War, by Karl Marlantes Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karl Marlantes Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781470803599
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Marlantes brings candor and wrenching self-analysis to bear on his combat experiences in Vietnam, in a memoir-based meditation whose intentions are three-fold: to help soldiers-to-be understand what they’re in for; to help veterans come to terms with what they’ve seen and done; and to help policymakers know what they’re asking of the men they send into combat.”

    New Yorker 

  • “Karl Marlantes has written a staggeringly beautiful book on combat—what it feels like, what the consequences are, and above all, what society must do to understand it. In my eyes he has become the preeminent literary voice on war of our generation. He is a natural storyteller and a deeply profound thinker who not only illuminates war for civilians, but also offers a kind of spiritual guidance to veterans themselves. As this generation of warriors comes home, they will be enormously helped by what Marlantes has written—I’m sure he will literally save lives.”

    Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of War

  • “Digging as deeply into his own life as he does into the larger sociological and moral issues, Marlantes presents a riveting, powerfully written account of how, after being taught to kill, he learned to deal with the aftermath.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Bronson Pinchot does an outstanding job of presenting Karl Marlantes’ memoir of war, trauma, and recovery. Marlantes tells the harrowing story of his time in Vietnam and how it affected him for three decades after. His story is directed to fellow combat veterans, their families, and those who make policy about them—but it’s of interest to everyone. Refreshingly, Rhodes Scholar Marlantes doesn’t present himself as a faceless everyman but employs the full range of his considerable intelligence. Pinchot deftly follows as Marlantes shifts from well-told battle stories to policy analysis, then to Jungian archetypes, and back again. His tone is sometime matter-of-fact and sometimes passionate (almost shouting) in marvelous synchrony with the author’s words.”


  • One of the 2011 Amazon Best Books of the Year
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book: Top 100 Bestsellers of 2011
  • A 2012 Finalist for the Indies Choice Award Book of the Year: Adult Nonfiction
  • Selected for the October 2011 Indie Next List
  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick, August 2011
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malla | 11/8/2011

    " A surreal look at what it's like to go to war if you're a Yale/Oxford scholar, soldier and new age hippie. Brutally honest and engaging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 11/3/2011

    " This felt like one of those important books we should all take the time to read. People might re-think how returning vets are/were treated. I'm more of a peacenik than a war monger, but conscripted & volunteer soldiers deserve our respect & support, regardless of the battle being fought. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicky | 10/30/2011

    " A must read for anyone curious about the psyche and human aspects of Warriors and Warrior Culture that is often kept hidden or rarely discussed in open public. Marlantes interweaves colloquial, philosophical, and literary discourses within a memoir of a life lived and a life learned. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 10/28/2011

    " The psychological side to Grossman's On Combat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 10/9/2011

    " A good personal account of a being a warrior, and then trying to fit back into civilian world, the necessity for rituals and acceptance of the warlike. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janel | 10/9/2011

    " Compelling book. Hard to read in parts but an important book to read and understand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Walter | 10/3/2011

    " This is a very thought-provoking book. Marlantes tries to help us understand what it is like to prepare for and to fight in a war. He does not succeed, but it is a valiant effort. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Genevieve | 9/27/2011

    " This was a really interesting first-hand perspective view of going to war and the effects. Marlantes was very introspective. Some parts were a little too philosphical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 9/26/2011

    " Recommended reading for anyone thinking of joining the marines. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 9/22/2011

    " The non-fiction companion to "Matterhorn", it is an excellent description of the author's experiences and reflections on war and its effects on the participants. Sobering and insightful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 9/19/2011

    " Very interesting book... a good read for anyone who is serving or has served in the military. "

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