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The Things They Carried
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Showing 1-10 of 545 reviews(4 star). See all 2,574 reviews
on April 1, 2015
A great read. The transition from physical things they carried to the emotional things they carried was very well written. There were parts of the story that were totally outstanding intermixed with repeated events that were just OK. I did not serve in the military although Viet Nam was of my young manhood. I hated Lyndon Johnson and McNamara. Such a bulls*** war. Friends were killed. Others wounded. Others came home, but different. They were spit on and treated as criminals. Heavy load for a bunch of 20 year old kids. At age 70 I still want to visit the wall in Washington and look up my best friend Jimmy Parsons. Sit down in a quiet corner and have a good read.
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2015
I liked this book because of the easy nature of the read. O'Brien writes from the heart, and that is what made this book interesting. That said, this is one among many books about the Vietnam War. Many lessor authors have wrote equally interesting stories about the war, and they would be comparable to this book. One thing that makes this interesting is that O'Brien equated fleeing to Canada as more heroic than being a docile soldier sent there as cannon fodder. The things they carried is about the interests and memories of the average grunt fighting the War in Vietnam, and not about any items they carried into battle. Those thoughts sometimes carried the soldier from his duty back to his family in the United States.

This book is more about the horrors of war, than about Vietnam. Soldiers fought and died in Vietnam to return to the normality of life in the United States.
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on March 22, 2018
This book is great, although disturbing in parts. It gave me a deeper appreciation for those in the armed forces and a greater insight into the Vietnam War. This book has been a wonderful encouragement to those serving in the military and I can definitely understand why. I feel more appreciative and sympathetic after reading it. The chapters with haunting images were just a bit strong for my taste, but otherwise I really enjoyed it!
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on April 29, 2014
This is the third time I have read this book. The first reading was in my youth . . . the memory of the Vietnam war still fresh and painful in my mind.. The second was for an Honors English class. I reviewed it so I could "teach it effectively," I told myself. I looked at it clinically, assuming the role of medic trying to put the pieces together.

But this time was nostalgia, or so I thought. The memory of Vietnam was hazy. My classroom days were over. I thought I could read it and simply enjoy it. But as I moved through it was still as dark, as bitter, as painful as going to the funerals of my friends that died there. I had holed to gain so e great insight into the human spirit and all I saw was, in most cases, the ability to stay afloat. It did not speak to the indomitable strength of the human condition, but rather the ability we all have to survive almost anything.

When I finished the book, I was drained. It had dragged me back to a difficult time of my life and made me relive it. I would not say I loved it, but, like the war to the author, it made me a better man.
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on July 13, 2015
I started reading "The Things They Carried" because I wanted to find out more about what the Vietnam War was like. At first, I thought I had made a mistake because I didn't seem to be getting that. The book was not telling a story in the conventional way and I was struggling to understand what it was telling me. But gradually I got it. I learned about the war, and lot besides, by just being in the experience of reading the book. By the end, it was captivating. The author even tells you as much, saying that the stories are "true" in the experiential sense, although not factually true in every detail. In the end, this is really an in your gut experience of how people deal with life and death and humanity. It's hard to describe, but worth reading.
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on November 21, 2015
This is the kind of novel that, once finished, leaves you with a sad sort of longing. There's really no catharsis or feelings of relief, just an understanding that you don't quite comprehend what you used to think you did.

The book follows the young author during his quasi-historic trips in Vietnam at the height of the war. The whole thing is set up around a series of mini stories that are all tied together to form one semi-cohesive tale; this type of layout really keeps you from becoming bored with any one point of the story, which I appreciated.

The book itself is well worth reading, and I recommend it to anyone capable of and willing to deal with a more dense, more depressing subject matter. It's worth the read if only so that you can contemplate the author's idea about the difference between telling a story truthfully and telling it factually.

This book certainly has my seal of approval, for all that it's worth.
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I didn't start reading it for personal pleasure, it was required for a history class I took, but god I don't regret it. The book was so goodit made me cry. I emerged myself in it, and finished it in two sits. I really enjoyed it and gave me a glance of what soldiers go through.
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on July 15, 2016
I had to have this book for a college english literature class and I ended up keeping it instead of selling back with my other college books. I enjoyed reading his point of view and the different stories (made up and somewhat real) about the Vietnam War. I'm interested to see how I feel about his other books I have purchased. I highly recommend this book to friends and family.
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on November 9, 2011
I ordered this book because it is a part of The Big Read. Several colleagues and I read it and held a book discussion on it. The conclusion of our discussion is that this book provides a glimpse into a side of the Vietnam war that the average person didn't see. It is written in an interesting blend of truth and fiction - except the fiction could actually be true - it is that believable! One of the take-aways from our discussion is that when placed in a new situation where life and death are at stake, we can and often do, turn into someone we didn't know existed. The companion thought is that who we become is based on what we 'carry' into each new situation - our values, our experience or inexperience, our loved ones - and the list goes on. Only one member of our group stopped reading about one-third into the book because the images were too vivid and extreme. Everyone else finished it and came away with a sense of the intensity of the Vietnam experience on the human psyche.
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on February 16, 2014
A bleak group of stories about a bleak time in American history. If you are interested in the full sensory experience of having been in the Vietnam war that is what this is about. Unpleasant and hard to read but well written if you take out the redundancy that I guess is the result of it being short stories put together like a novel.
It is far too repetitive, in my opinion to be read the way it has been put together here, but that is where the audio version makes it above average - Brian Cranston can tell a story while acting a part and hold my interest. His voice is perfect for reading this. My recommendation is that if you want to read this book and get through it, don't try it without the audio version.
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