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Karl Marlantes's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Karl Marlantes recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Karl Marlantes's favorite book recommendations of all time.


365 Days

Recommended by Karl Marlantes, and 1 others.

Karl MarlantesThis was a book I read before I went to Vietnam and it was written by an army doctor who wasn’t even there. I think he was in Japan. But what he did was he interviewed the people he was treating and it was one of the great examples of breaking through the statistics. An army doctor can say: ‘I treated 33 head wounds, did 14 amputations… boom, boom, boom, boom.’ But if you talk to one of the 14... (Source)

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Fields Of Fire

Originally published in 1978, Webb's classic novel of the Vietnam War follows three soldiers from different worlds who are plunged into a white-hot murderous realm of jungle warfare as it was fought by one Marine platoon in the An Hoa Basin in 1969. In the heat and horror of battle, they took on new identities, took on each other, and were each reborn in the fields of fire.' to 'They each had their reasons for being a soldier.

They each had their illusions. Goodrich came from Harvard. Snake got the tattoo — Death Before Dishonor — before he got the uniform. And Hodges was haunted...
Recommended by Karl Marlantes, and 1 others.

Karl MarlantesThis is a book I like because Webb understands the warrior mentality. I’m not one. I’m a citizen soldier who gets drafted and I’ll do my bit and then I want out. But there are warriors born into the world, and thank God we’ve got them – I’m no pacifist. And the hero of this book, it’s what he wanted to do since he was a child. He’s Scots-Irish and Webb is proud of his heritage and the Marine... (Source)

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Bao Ninh, a former North Vietnamese soldier, provides a strikingly honest look at how the Vietnam War forever changed his life, his country, and the people who live there. Originally published against government wishes in Vietnam because of its non-heroic, non-ideological tone, The Sorrow of War has won worldwide acclaim and become an international bestseller.

A novel of the Vietnam War written from the perspective of the North Vietnamese, profiles human characters who are wrenched by the same pain and fear as their enemies, and follows the hero's ten-year separation from...
Recommended by Karl Marlantes, and 1 others.

Karl MarlantesHe was born in North Vietnam, I was born in a logging town in Oregon. We end up in the same war on different sides and yet the experience of it is so similar for the individual soldier. (Source)

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A Rumor Of War

In March 1965, Marine Lieutnant Philip J. Caputo landed in Danang with the first ground combat unit committed to fight in Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home - physically whole, emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism shattered. A decade later, Caputo would write in A Rumor of War, 'This is simply a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them'.

It is far more then that. It is, as Theodore Solotaroff wrote in the New York Times Book Review, 'the troubled...
Recommended by Karl Marlantes, and 1 others.

Karl MarlantesPhilip Caputo was a marine who later became a very well-known journalist. In my mind it’s one of the first really well-written books that describe the moral ambiguities and difficulties faced by a young marine officer in this particular war. Before that you had World War II when they took Iwo Jima and, OK, there was horrendous fighting, but it was much more clear-cut. Caputo was the first one to... (Source)

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The Things They Carried

A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling, with more than two-million copies in print

Depicting the men of Alpha Company—Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three—the stories in The Things They Carried opened our eyes to the nature of war in a way we will never forget. It is taught everywhere, from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in...

Karl MarlantesBut when O’Brien wrote The Things They Carried he came down to absolute real brass tacks. It was no longer surreal, it was like here’s a list of what a grunt carries, an infantry soldier… (Source)

Caroline PaulA beautiful book by a writer who fought in Vietnam. (Source)

Eugene Gu@realDonaldTrump Tim O’Brien is the author of the book The Things They Carried, which was about the Vietnam War. Must be very triggering for Trump since he dodged the draft multiple times with fraudulent doctors’ notes for fake bone spurs like a coward. (Source)

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