Karl Marlantes, What It Is Like to Go to War
Whatcom Community College Foundation and Village Books present an evening in conversation with Karl Marlantes author of the New York Times best seller Matterhorn, and the new book, What It Is Like to Go to War, facilitated by WCC faculty member Bob Winters. Tickets to this event are $5; doors open at 6:30pm. Proceeds will benefit WCC Foundation's Veterans Initiatives to support scholarships & emergency funds for veterans. For more information about Veterans Support Services visit www.whatcom.ctc.edu/veterans.
What It Is Like to Go to War is a powerful nonfiction book about the experience of combat and how inadequately we prepare our young men and women for the psychological and spiritual stresses of war. In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes was a bright young man who was well trained for the task at hand but, as he was to discover, far from mentally prepared for what he was about to experience. In his thirteen-month tour he saw intense combat. He killed the enemy and he watched friends die. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his experiences.
In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at the experience and ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our young soldiers for war. War is as old as humankind, but in the past, warriors were prepared for battle by ritual, religion, and literature, which also helped bring them home. In a compelling narrative, Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings, from Homer to the Mahabharata to Jung. He tells frankly about how he is haunted by the face of a young North Vietnamese soldier he killed at close quarters and how he finally finds a way to make peace with his past. Marlantes discusses the daily contradictions that warriors face in the grind of war, where each battle requires them to take life or spare life, and where they enter a state he likens to the fervor of religious ecstasy. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors, mainly men but increasingly women, are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.
Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone, soldier or civilian, interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.
A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, his debut, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a "Best of 2010" in Time, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and the Washington Post. What It Is Like to Go to War was published in September 2011 and is also a New York Times bestseller.
About Bob Winters:
Bob Winters is the WCC Division Chair for Arts and Humanities. He holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from the University of California at Berkeley and at Irvine and has been a full-time instructor of English and literature, and film at Whatcom since 1985. Among his passions are the works of Irish author James Joyce, warm flour tortillas, Bach's Goldberg Variations, the poems of John Keats, the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Jacques Tati, his wife Sidney, and his cat Cricket in varying degrees, of course.
About the Whatcom Community College Foundation:
The WCC Foundation's mission is to champion the needs of students and the initiatives of Whatcom Community College. As part of this mission, WCC and the Foundation are focused on providing access to education for veterans, which is often key to helping them reintegrate into civilian life after serving in the military. As more and more veterans return from war-time duty, Whatcom is creating a system of educational support that will continue well into the future. For more information about WCC Foundation visit www.whatcom.ctc.edu/foundation.
Whatcom Community College Syre Auditorium (View)
237 West Kellogg Road
Bellingham, WA 98225
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