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A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O'Brien's earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O'Brien's theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it. Whereas Going After Cacciato played with reality, The Things They Carried plays with truth. The narrator of most of these stories is "Tim"; yet O'Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened. He never killed a man as "Tim" does in "The Man I Killed," and unlike Tim in "Ambush," he has no daughter named Kathleen. But just because a thing never happened doesn't make it any less true. In "On the Rainy River," the character Tim O'Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O'Brien never drove north, never found himself in a fishing boat 20 yards off the Canadian shore with a decision to make. The real Tim O'Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of "On the Rainy River" lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tims went to a war they didn't believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O'Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the best books that I have ever read, I highly recommend this one to anyone old enough to cry.
Tim O'Brien captures the emotion he experienced in the Vietnam War, and he makes the reader feel them as well by telling stories which are "truer than the truth."
When you read it and get into the book with the characters it feels like you could be there with them in their stories.
What is true is not and what is not is true. You would have to be there.
If you really are curious of just how difficult war is, this will provide a glimpse.
The first reason why I would recommend this book to someone is if they are interested in old war stories, this book goes in great detail about the times theses soldiers had while... Read morePublished 3 days ago by CJBlackBird
Very well written, I learned so much about the Viet Nam war that I feel bad I never knew before! I truly enjoyed the way this book was written.Published 4 days ago by Nancy Geerdts
I just reread this book after probably ten years and really enjoyed it. It is a stunning book and certainly written in such a complex way. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Bradley Nelson
This book is garbage. It's great if you like listening to an old pointless man talk in circles about nothing and mud but other than that it's crap. There is literally no storyline. Read morePublished 6 days ago by clare esterhammer
Like everything related to the Vietnam War, this book will give you pause. It provides you with a glimpse into the minds of the men, before, during, and after the war and makes... Read morePublished 8 days ago by J. Ontiveros
This book is full of beautiful prose and symbolism. It's an essential read for any writer or anyone that has a heart. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
I thought this was an excellent book, though some parts were quite difficult for me to get through. I was born after the Vietnam war ended, though I have studied it in school and... Read morePublished 10 days ago by SpaceyStacey