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The Things They Carried (Bloom's Guides) Hardcover – March, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Bloom's Guides
  • Hardcover: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publications (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791081710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791081716
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the type of novel that is open to interpretation and students will gain a better understanding from reading all of the discussion. Doctorow is quoted in several chapters. Students looking for criticism and analysis of literary works will find it easy to use this title rather than searching endlessly for the journals in which these articles may have originally appeared. A valuable resource for literature collections."

More About the Author

TIM O'BRIEN received the 1979 National Book Award in fiction for Going After Cacciato. His other works include the acclaimed novels The Things They Carried and July, July. In the Lake of the Woods received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was named the best novel of 1994 by Time. O'Brien lives in Austin, Texas.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B Cheng on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Most of us will never be in a war zone battlefield. For those who have, I salute you for your honorable duty. But for those who have not, all we have are instances of storytelling. Tim O' Brien skillfully weaves a web of these tales into one master collection, recounting realistic stores from the Vietnam War.

Depicting the physical burdens each soldier bears, O' Brien introduces the novel simply with their grunt work. But as the story progresses, all the tangible factors become insignificant compared to the heavy responsibility and knowledge of a comrade's death. The story integrates a cornucopia of emotions that each character struggles with to coincide with all the trauma and chaos.

Starting with Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, the author explains the leader's personal conflicts. Distracted by thoughts of his girl back at home, the commander blames himself for the death of Tad Lavender. Following that, Rat Kiley, the normally calm and cool medic, explodes in a fury of sentiments when his close friend Curt Lemon is blown to pieces by a booby trap. Yet another soldier, Norman Bowker suffers from post-traumatic stress, constantly visualizing the scene where he had failed to save his friend Kiowa from the muck of the s*** field.

The war stories are presented in a personal portrayal, revealing the intrinsic values and actions of many soldiers. Expressing the story in a narrative perspective, O' Brien reminisces in his novel about the gruesome, yet profound events of the underappreciated Vietnam War.
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Format: Hardcover
... is a quote from O'Brien's daughter, Kathleen, in the story "Field Trip." Kathleen had just turned 10, and O'Brien had taken her back to Vietnam, to show her where her dad had been. He was trying to convey what it was like to have been a soldier in that war. As the story is written, clearly he had not been very successful. Going back to the sadness and failure of Vietnam is so totally different from strolling along the high cliffs of Normandy, where purpose and success reigned.

"The Things They Carried" is widely recognized as the classic soldier's account of the Vietnam War. It now has 702 reviews on Amazon. What more can be said? Hopefully a number of things, including a few personal parallels. When the Second World War commenced, Norman Mailer, the author of that war's classic account, "The Naked and the Dead," asked himself one thing: From which theater of the war could he write a better book? He consciously chose the Pacific. You never get that sense of ambition from O'Brien's stories; rather you feel that he was haplessly swept along with the events, and his eclectic montage of images reflect the experiences he is still trying to understand.

O'Brien was a "grunt" in the ill-starred Americal Division, in Quang Ngai province, mostly in 1969. I was in the next province south, in Binh Dinh, at the end of 1968, as a medic in a tank unit. Like O'Brien I would stare at the hills to the west of the coastal plain, and dream of waking up one morning, and walking through them, away from the war, a fantasy that he turned into another moving book, "Going After Cacciato." O'Brien was certainly right in taking his daughter back to the `Nam, in the hopes of transmitting to the next generation our experiences. I did the same thing; my first of three trips back was in 1994.
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By Lisa Doyle on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
a memoir but also like a series of short stories which flow together seamlessly into almost a dreamlike tale. It is a great read even for those of us who have no real conscept of what war is really like. Many hidden jewels inside. Well worth the read.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Kern on December 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is indescribable in its wisdom it brings to its readers. Definitely one that more of today's youth should read and understand.
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1 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Larry D. Smith on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There were a few insightfull stories in this tome. But, this book is written by a real liberal. In his eyes there is no winning. There is only digging one hole to be filled by digging another. Tim O'Brien is a wimp, part of the wussification of America. There is no black or white just ambiguity. This explains why this book is used so much by colleges and universities (liberal educators). In effect this book says "I am so smart that I can't actually kill the man that wants and WILL kill me. I can look though the enemy's eyes and I am the enemy." What a lot of drivel. When America and the rest of the Western World is taken over by Islam his descendents and mine will bow reverently toward Mecca.
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