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Paperback The Things They Carried Book

ISBN: 0618706410

ISBN13: 9780618706419

The Things They Carried

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Book Overview

The Things They Carried author Tim O'Brien is a co-writer on NBC's hit show THIS IS US for episodes about Jack's time in Vietnam. A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling. The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross,...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Excellent Read

My father served in Vietnam, he has never spoke of his experience to anyone other than my mother on very rare occasions. I wanted to better understand what he went though as a way to feel closer to him out of respect. This book has definitely helped me to achieve that. Tim O’Brien captures the readers attention in a way that makes you feel like you were there. You can literally FEEL everything as you read- fear, heartache, anger, love and loyalty.

Amazing

There is certainly no shortage of war-related fiction in the world, but Tim O'Brien's masterful story collection "The Things They Carried" quickly sets itself apart as one of the best. The titular story, which opens the collection, is breathtaking and grounded (I first discovered it as an excerpt in "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" and was so intrigued that I had to read the rest). "The Things They Carried" is especially good because it puts an interesting twist on the genre by blending reality and fiction into a mesmerizing combination of compelling action and human nature at work. O'Brien plays with the truth, teasing out the reason behind the writer and then flipping what you thought you knew. He has a firm grip on how -- and why -- people tell stories and uses it well. His description of his compatriots in the war and the behavior they engage in can be shocking but O'Brien's flawless execution keeps them grounded. Each character is well-drawn and well reasoned; even when they do something disturbing you really feel for them because you understand WHY they are acting that way. And if something bad happens to one of them you feel the intense gravity and sorrow of the loss. O'Brien also offers a compelling look at why he became a writer and has some truly inspiring views about the power of fiction -- and storytelling in general. O'Brien's stories are funny, brutal, uplifting, and shocking (often all on the same page). This collection is a must not just for fans of war literature but for anyone.

". . . stories can save us"

Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is a book that transcends the genre of war fiction. Actually, it transcends the genre of fiction in general. Although labeled "a work of fiction" on the title page, the book really combines aspects of memoir, novel, and short story collection. I think you could use Audre Lorde's term "biomythography" to describe this book.The first-person narrator of this book (named, like the author, Tim O'Brien) is a writer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. The book actually deals with events before and after the war, in addition to depicting the war itself; the time span covers more than 30 years in the lives of O'Brien and his fellow soldiers."The Things They Carried" is an intensely "writerly" text. By that I mean that O'Brien and his characters often reflect directly on the activities of storytelling and writing. As a reader, I got the sense that I was being invited into the very process by which the book was created. This is an extraordinary technique, and O'Brien pulls it off brilliantly.This being a war story, there are some truly disturbing, graphic, and violent scenes. But there are also scenes that are haunting, funny, surreal, or ironic. O'Brien depicts a memorable group of soldiers: the guilt-wracked Lieut. Cross; Kiowa, a Native American and devout, Bible-carrying Baptist; the sadistic but playful Azar; and more.While this book is a complete and cohesive work of art, many of its component stories could stand alone as independent pieces of literature (in fact, I first encountered the title story in an anthology). But however you classify it, I consider "The Things They Carried" to be a profoundly moving masterpiece.

A Masterpiece

I was first introduced to this book as part of a U.S. & Vietnam History course in college. The other novel the course required was The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Tim O'Brien's book is every bit as good as Greene's, and all the more timely.As a former soldier, and a veteran of Desert Storm, whose father avoided the draft during the Vietnam War, the book taught me that no matter what other people say about the war, no matter what I learn, I can never make any value judgements on an individual level. I was not there, and for better or worse, I am only a specator.I am currently re-reading the book, which I often use in teaching my creative writing class. I share the story-chapter, "Style" every year with my students. I also find the book essential to learn about the nature of fiction, which O'Brien challenges with every page of this book.For anyone looking for a book to read on the Vietnam experience, this book makes my short list every time. Not only of "Vietnam" books, but of any book worth reading. This book is simply essential.

A Vietnam Primer for a 1969 baby...

I was born in 1969. I missed Vietnam. The war was over and I never knew about it. For an event that had such significance in American history, it was as though it had never happened.When I was in High School and we studied American History, our class always ended with WWII. We never discussed "modern" events -- the 60s, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement.When I got to college, I made a point of taking a class on the 60s. Still though, I gained a textbook introduction to the Vietnam war -- I never had a true sense of what the horror was, why people protested, why it was such an important historical event. My generation has never faced a war in which we were drafted to fight.And then I read "The Things they Carried"...This book was/is an education for me. Visceral, haunting, provoking, gripping -- the stories Tim O'Brien tells rip into you. He puts you on the front line facing the man you just killed -- on the Canadian border deciding that you aren't brave enough to escape to Canada to avoid the draft -- back in Vietnam watching your best buddy slowly sink into a field of mud as sniper fire rains all around you -- back at home with no sense of purpose surrounded by people who don't know how to welcome you home.This book is the best education on Vietnam this literal child of the 60s ever received.If, like me, you don't understand what all the fuss is about, read this book and you will...
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