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Karl Marlantes Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Matterhorn (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deep River (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

What It's Like to Go to War (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Karl Marlantes is a reputed American novelist and a veteran of the Vietnam War, who is famous for writing war stories. He has written a few standalone books in his career, which consist of the widely successful novels, What It Is Like to Go to War and Matterhorn. Marlantes has won several prestigious awards for both the books. He began his career in 2010 by writing the novel Matterhorn. It is a story based on his experience in the Vietnam War. This novel has been declared by the NY Times as one of the most devastating and profound novels ever written on Vietnam. It won the Washington State Book Award in 2011 in the category of fiction. The plot of the book is based on author Marlantes’s personal combat experience at the time of the war. The next book written Marlantes is a biographical nonfiction work describing how his life changed after returning to the civilian life and the challenges he had to face in general while living as a modern veteran.

Author Marlantes was born on December 24, 1944, in Astoria, Oregon, United States. He spent the earlier years of his life growing up in a tiny logging town called Seaside. As a child, Marlantes was very much passionate about football. He even became the president of the student body at the Seaside High School, whose principal was his own father. Marlantes completed his schooling in 1963. He was successful in obtaining the National Merit Scholarship that helped him get admission into Yale University. While studying at the university, Marlantes was a member of Beta Theta Pi and Jonathan Edwards College. He was also a part of the college rugby team, playing as a wing forward. Later, Marlantes joined University College at Oxford and became a Rhodes Scholar. After coming back from military service, Marlantes joined Oxford again and earned his master’s degree. He had completed just one semester at college when he volunteered to join the Marine Corps and immediately began active duty.

For his contribution in field action, while leading an assault on a bunker complex, Marlantes was honored with the Navy Cross. Some of his other decorations include a couple of the Commendation Medals from Navy, a Bronze Star, ten Air Medals, and 2 Purple Hearts. After finishing the combat tour, Marlantes served for one more year in active duty at the Headquarters of Marine Corps. The stress and trauma of the war made him suffer from PTSD, which troubled him for a considerable amount of time in life. In the 2017 documentary series called The Vietnam War developed by Lynn Novick and Ken Burns, Marlantes was featured to reflect on his personal experiences that surrounded the war.

Author Marlantes says that he has been writing since he was 8 years old. His first attempt at writing a story was with his cousin when they were nine years old. His passion for writing did not fade away when was in college or served in the military. The idea of becoming a writer was always there at the back of his mind. However, he had no idea that he would end up writing about war stories. He seems quite satisfied with the way his literary career and life have shaped up. Marlantes considers his healing process from PTSD as the most important phase of his life and for that, he is very much thankful to his therapists. Before Marlantes sat down to write his debut novel, he went through a lot of books. He read numerous war fiction books and was intrigued by the huge cast of characters in them. The inspiration he got from those books enabled him to recount his own experiences in the war and shape them in the form of a book. He did accordingly and the rest is history. As of today, Marlantes resides in Woodinville, Washington, and is working on developing a new book.

The debut book written by author Karl Marlantes is entitled ‘Matterhorn’. It was released by the El Leon publication in 2009. The book’s plot is set in Vietnam during the time of the War in 1968. It revolves around the life of the central character named Waino Mellas. The other important characters of the book include the members of Waino’s Bravo Company, who accompany him during the action. At the book’s beginning, Waino Mellas is introduced as a young lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Along with the comrades of the Bravo Company, he is dropped in one of Vietnam’s mountain jungles to fight against the enemy. Waino enters the fight as a boy and ends up attaining manhood, just like the other men in the company. In addition to fighting against the North Vietnamese soldiers, they are also required to overcome the mud, monsoon rain, tigers, leeches, malnutrition, and diseases. And equally daunting are the obstacles that Waino and his comrades have to tackle between themselves, including competing ambitions, dealing with superior officers, beating racial tension, etc. A time comes when the Bravo Company gets outnumbered and surrounded by a huge enemy regiment. Knowingly and unknowingly, they are thrust into an all-consuming and way combat terror. This experience changes them forever. This novel appears to be a spellbinding and visceral account of the experience of being at war. It tells a powerful story of camaraderie, courage, sacrifice, and teamwork.

Another exciting story written by Marlantes is called ‘What It Is Like to Go to War’. In this novel, Marlantes tells how the war has affected people over many centuries. Wars used to take place in the historical period also, but warriors in those times used to be mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared to battle the negative forces. They had the support of literature, religion, and ritual, which helped them to remain motivated until the war is finished. Marlantes has given riveting descriptions of the combat experiences that he faced in the war. He has explored all those experiences with self-examination, analysis, and reading various war stories. He has mentioned how he is still haunted by remembering the face of a young Vietnamese soldier, who got killed by him in a close encounter. Marlantes has also described the ways he used to get over the disturbing past and make peace with his life. An important section of the story deals with the daily contradictions the soldiers have to face while at war. They are required to take the decision of taking or sparing life that goes on to haunt them for many years. The readers read and appreciated the book. They bound themselves with the feelings of author Marlantes very well and this led to book’s widespread success in all the places of its publishing.

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