What It Is Like to Go to War Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

Karl Marlantes
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Temple of Mars

• Marlantes explains a concept he calles the "Temple of Mars" that described a spiritual state of being that occurs when a person is in combat.

• He described a scene in Vietnam in 1969 when he spent the night with a man in his unit who had been shot through the chest.

• Zoomer, the wounded man, was alive, but barely breathing with his remaining lung.

• The incident reminded Marlantes of a time he worked on his grandfather's fishing boat on the Columbia River in Oregon when he watched a giant sturgeon breathing the same type of labored breath.

• Marlantes had been well prepared to kill by his Marine training, but not trained to deal with the psychological toll it could take.

• He believed that being in combat was similar to a religious experience.

• There were four aspects of religious experience that he believed was present in combat...

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