This is a collection of stories about American soldiers in Vietnam by the author of Going After Cacciato. All of the stories "deal with a single platoon, one of whose members is a character named Tim O'Brien. Some stories are about [their] wartime experiences....Others are about a 43-year-old writer—again, the fictional character Tim O'Brien—remembering his platoon's experiences and writing war stories (and remembering writing stories) about them.
Christopher Tuplin - New York Times Book Review
The Things They Carried is more than 'another' book about Vietnam.... It is a master stroke of form and imagery.... The Things They Carried is about life, about men who [fight] and die, about buddies, and about a lost innocence that might be recaptured through the memory of stories. O'Brien tells us these stories because he must. He tells them as they have never been told before.
I've got to make you read this book.... In a world filled too often with numbness, or shifting values, these stories shine in a strange and opposite direction, moving against the flow, illuminating life's wonder.
Rick Bass - Dallas Morning News
Weapons and good-luck charms carried by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam here represent survival, lost innocence and the war's interminable legacy. "O'Brien's meditations—on war and memory, on darkness and light—suffuse the entire work with a kind of poetic form, making for a highly original, fully realized novel.
Winner of a National Book Award in 1979 for Going After Cacciato, O'Brien again shows his literary stuff with this brilliant collection of short stories, many of which have won literary recognition (several appeared in O. Henry Awards' collections and Best American Short Stories). Each of the 22 tales relates the exploits and personalities of a fictional platoon of American soldiers in Vietnam. An acutely painful reading experience, this collection should be read as a book and not a mere selection of stories reprinted from magazines. Not since Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five has the American soldier been portrayed with such poignance and sincerity. —Mark Annichiarico
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