76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
I fought in a different Vietnam War,
This review is from: Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War (Paperback)Though I am writing this review more than two years after the book was published and after more than 300 Amazon reviews have already been posted, I still wanted to add my comments. I read the novel primarily because I had served as an Army infantry lieutenant in Vietnam during 1967 and 1968. Generally I prefer to read non-fiction and have not read a novel of the Vietnam War since Tim O'Brien's 1979 novel, Going After Cacciato. I found myself becoming immersed as the author was dealing with similar issues such as gaining the respect of his men upon his arrival. There were some errors to my mind, such as the cotton bandoliers that we wore diagonally across our chests held seven magazines -- not twenty, or claymores were not detonated by "pulling a cord," but rather by squeezing a handheld electrical detonator (clacker) when we were out on ambush, though if were inside our company perimeter at night we would simply rig our claymores to trip wires (before inserting the blasting cap into the top of the mine); additionally, Dapsone was not used to ameliorate against jungle rot, but rather was taken in conjunction with Primaquine to mitigate against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but these are simply issues of detail which are probably only of interest to Vietnam vets, and Marlantes is writing a fictional account for which the story is paramount. Still I feel that Marlantes truthfully depicted the youth of the Marines in his dialogues, who for the most part were nineteen and twenty years of age. Marlantes was awarded the Navy Cross, which earns my respect. Up in the Central Highlands of Vietnam where I served until September 1968 I did not observe any racial problems out in the bush, and the majority of the soldiers in my platoon were blacks. Morale in the Army up through 1968 was actually quite high. Marlantes is describing the war during 1969, a time when morale had begun to plummet after the introduction of Nixon's "Vietnamization" Plan, as soldiers no longer wanted to be the last man killed in a war from which our political leaders intended to disengage. I fought in a different war, up in the Highlands, through 1968, the bloodiest year of the entire war, we soldiers out in the bush on our search and destroy missions still believed. We sincerely believed we were fighting the good fight and beating back the communist onslaught, and that our comrades had not died in vain. To my mind Marlantes accurately portrayed the Marine experience up along the DMZ. I'm pleased that Vietnam Vets are continuing to tell their stories, each of which adds another layer of understanding for students of history -- after the Veterans are gone.
A. T. Lawrence, author of Crucible Vietnam
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Initial post: Jan 22, 2012 9:35:18 AM PST
Thank you for your service. I look forward to reading your book also.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 1:29:59 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 9, 2012 12:27:56 AM PDT]
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