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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.
This is a very insightful book if one wants to know more about the truths of war, specifically the Vietnam War.Published 1 day ago by Solomon's Understudy
This book is one of my favorites! Not usually a fan of war stories, but O'Brian tells this one in a way that makes you feel as if you personally know the characters.Published 2 days ago by Janelle
Good, quick read with valuable insight into the experiences and mindset of some Vietnam War Veterans.Published 4 days ago by goodlifeinPA
I read this book at the request of a young friend who knows that I served during Vietnam. I had no idea what it was about or whether or not it would be interesting, but I felt... Read morePublished 6 days ago by pschmehl
This is the best book I've read about the Vietnam war. The characters come to life and the words are at times beautiful, at times haunting and at times heartbreakingly sad. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Shirlely White
"They plodded along slowly, dumbly, leaning forward against the heat, unthinking, all blood and bone, simple grunts, soldiering with their legs, toiling up the hills and down... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Ron Johnson