Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

A Sacred Space

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran salutes the Vietnam War memorial during a counter-demonstration in Washington, January 18, 2003. (Mannie Garcia/Reuters)
What It Is Like to Go to War, by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly, 272 pp., $25)

About three years ago, Karl Marlantes asked me whether I would review the manuscript of his novel, Matterhorn, about Vietnam, and write a dust-jacket blurb for it if I liked it. I agreed and was soon immersed in one of the finest war novels I have ever read. Here’s some of what I wrote for the publisher: “I had the honor of serving in the same battalion as Karl Marlantes in Vietnam. There he proved himself to be one hell of a Marine. With Matterhorn, he proves himself to be one hell of a novelist. . . . No other

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Mackubin Thomas Owens is senior national-security fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, editing its journal Orbis from 2008 to 2020. A Marine Corps infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College from 1987 to 2015. He is the author of US Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

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