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Coming to terms with the experience of combat

Author discusses memoir Oct. 10 at CSUMB

As a Marine lieutenant during the Vietnam War, Karl Marlantes learned what every young officer learns – to fire a rifle, to command a platoon, to fight and to kill. Over the next four decades, he spent his time reading, thinking and writing a memoir that helped him come to terms with that experience.

In his book, “What It Is Like to Go to War,” Marlantes writes that while the Marine Corps trained him to kill, “it didn’t teach me how to deal with killing.”

If the folks at the nonprofit organization Cal Humanities have their way, people will be reading Marlantes’ book this fall. It’s the featured selection of California Reads: The War Comes Home, a program offered by libraries throughout the state. Its goal: to bring people together to think and talk about what it is like to be a veteran.

Marlantes’ book tour as part of California Reads includes multiple stops in Northern and Southern California, at public libraries, colleges and universities, and veterans centers.

Locally, Monterey County Free Libraries will sponsor a discussion with the author on Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in CSU Monterey Bay’s library, Room 1180. While the event is free, attendees must purchase a parking permit from a machine on the lot or online.

The first 100 attendees will receive a free copy of the book.

Marlantes told the Orange County Register that he is flattered to have his book chosen. “California is an immense state with immense diversity from the Oregon border to the Mexican border. To have an organization that’s going to span that much difference – sociologically and geographically – read my book, I’m thrilled,” he told the Register. Monterey County Free Libraries has organized several other activities related to the book. Learn more about them here.