Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War
|Publisher||El Leon Literary Arts / Atlantic Monthly Press|
|first edition (May 2009) / revised edition (March 2010)|
|Followed by||What It Is Like To Go To War|
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War is a novel by American author and decorated Marine Karl Marlantes. It was first published by El Leon Literary Arts in 2009 (in small quantity) and re-issued (and slightly edited) as a major publication of Atlantic Monthly Press on March 23, 2010.
Marlantes is a graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar. He was also a highly decorated Marine who served in Vietnam. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals. He spent 30 years working on the novel, which was rejected for publication numerous times.
The book is set in Vietnam in 1969 and draws from the experiences of Marlantes, who commanded a Marine rifle platoon. The novel presents an unflinching look at the hardships endured by the Marines who waged the war on behalf of America. It concerns the exploits of second lieutenant Waino Mellas, a recent college graduate, and his compatriots in Bravo Company, most of whom are teenagers. "Matterhorn" is the code name for a fire-support base located between Laos and the DMZ. At the beginning of the novel, the Marines build the base, but later they are ordered to abandon it. The latter portions of the novel detail the struggles of Bravo Company to retake the base, which fell into enemy hands after it was abandoned.
Matterhorn received high praise from many critics. In The New York Times Sebastian Junger called it
one of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam—or any war.
Matterhorn was Amazon's "Book of the Month" for March 2010, and debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in April 2010. It won the 2011 William E. Colby Award, was ranked #7 Fiction in Time's Best Books of the Year (2010). It was one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year (2010). It was an ALA Notable Book (2010), won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award (2011), won the Indies Choice Book Award (Adult Debut, 2011) and won the 2010 John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize.
It is probable that the fictional Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division of the novel was Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. The engagement at "Matterhorn" was probably the attack on "LZ Mack" Hill 484, and Hill 400 on March 1 through March 6 of 1969. With Lima Company 3rd Battalion 4th Marines in reserve (and its battalion commander, Lt. Col. Donald taking charge), two platoons from Charlie Company fought several times to reach and secure the summit, taking 15 or more casualties with at least seven killed in action; including a Canadian Marine, CPL George Victor Jmaeff, acting as platoon sergeant, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The author, First Lieutenant Karl Marlantes, who was the Executive Officer of Charlie Company, was also awarded the Navy Cross. Hills 484 and 400 had been occupied at a cost of 20 killed in action, and many wounded, by companies of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Infantry in September–October 1966 and then abandoned.
- "Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War". April 2010. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War (9780802119285): Karl Marlantes: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- Steven Kurutz. "Karl Marlantes On His 30-Year Quest To Publish ‘Matterhorn’". WSJ.
- "Amazon page for Karl Marlantes". Amazon.com. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- New York Times, Best Seller, Fiction (hardcover), | Matterhorn, April 23, 2010| accessdate=27 April 2010
- "Karl Marlantes: The Long Road to Publication". News.shelf-awareness.com. 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- "Virtual Wall". Virtual Wall. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- U.S. Marines In Vietnam, High Mobility And Standdown, 1969 by Charles R. Smith History And Museums Division Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps Washington, D.C. 1988
- "Navy Cross Citation". Militarytimes.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- "USMC Combat Helicopter Association". Popasmoke.com. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- Junger, Sebastian (2010-04-04). "The Vietnam Wars: ‘Matterhorn'". The New York Times.