What It Is Like to Go to War
by K. Marlantes
Marine mom and founder of MarineParents.com reviews this book in detail:
"As the parent of a young Marine off to combat for the first time in 2003, I was stricken with grief over the "what-ifs" while at the same time fiercely proud of my son. At times I was taken aback by my own curiosity of what he would be experiencing. More than once I wondered, "What is it like to go to war?" I wanted to know, but at the same time I was afraid to know. Nonetheless, I began a journey to learn as much as possible and determine how I would help my son if the "what-ifs" came to be. It's a road I had to travel, and it's a road I continue to travel even eight years later.
At first glance I thought Karl Marlantes' new book, What It Is Like to Go to War, would not be for me because he was a Vietnam combat veteran, even though it appeared to be a direct answer to my question. My son went to Iraq, and those two conflicts, in my opinion, were vastly different. I was completely wrong. The author has, in a timeless fashion, intertwined his past battle experiences with the battles veterans face with when returning home. Marlantes' book will enlighten military service members and families for years to come.
One Sunday I picked up the book for just a quick glance over morning coffee. I read the first page and knew I wasn't going anywhere that day. I was instantly intrigued and read the book cover to cover, stopping only to take a break for lunch and share what I was learning with my husband. I learned about my father, a Vietnam veteran; I learned about my son, a three-time Iraq veteran; and surprisingly, I learned about myself.
Karl Marlantes fuses ancient history and the philosophies of war with his experiences in combat to consider how warriors today can mentally and spiritually prepare for combat. Some parts of the book are graphic, but they are not sensationalized just for the sake of selling a book. The graphic imagery the author presents is necessary for readers to understand the emotions his battle experiences evoked for him at the time, the emotions he experienced two years later, and the emotions he continues to face more than 40 years later.
Lots of folks will benefit from reading this book. The author suggests that young people who are considering enlisting read the book first. I recommend it for all military personnel and anyone who comes in contact with a combat veteran whether they are a family member or a co-worker.
But most importantly, this book is essential reading for parents of the 18-year-olds who will be shipped off to a combat zone or otherwise faced with the consequences of combat. Marlantes presents front and center the real cost of war, the one that weighs heaviest on the minds of the mothers and fathers of these brave warriors. That cost is the mental and spiritual health of our sons and daughters as they struggle with the consequential demons that will follow them through the years. Our sons and daughters are well-trained to go into combat, but they are not trained for combating the effects battle will have on their spirit and emotional well-being.
This book is a road map for the journey we're all on to understand what our kids are going through. This book helps you "get it" and by "getting it" you'll be able to recognize and possibly assist when your loved one faces the atrocities war can cause to the human psyche.
And as a bonus, the book is enjoyable to read. I was entertained. I laughed. I cried. I read it in a day and couldn't put it down. I don't give up my Sundays easily, but this book had me.
What it is Like to Go to War is destined to become a timeless treasure for our military men and women and just as importantly their family members, employers, health professionals and anyone with a combat veteran in their lives. Kudos to the author, and Semper Fi Marine."
-Tracy Della Vecchia, Founder of MarineParents.com, Inc.
Purchase at the EGA Shop