A riveting examination of the futility of war, MATTERHORN (Atlantic Monthly, $24.95) follows marine lieutenant Waino Mellas as he begins a grueling 13-month tour in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. When they aren’t fighting the enemy, Mellas and the Marines under his command contend with racism, boredom, weather, and bureaucracy. When they are fighting, they have to deal with every imaginable horror: sadistic commanders, shooting at an enemy they can’t see, natural predators, and friendly fire. Karl Marlantes, a decorated war veteran himself, imbues his characters with humanity, capturing the complexity and contradictions of men at war. As the Marines pack up and vacate the hilltop they fought so hard for and for which so many died, the absurdity of their actions resounds.
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