Skip to content
Paperback The Things They Carried Book

ISBN: 0767902890

ISBN13: 9780767902892

The Things They Carried

Select Format:

Select Condition:

Selected

Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

$4.79
Save $10.16!
List Price $14.95

3 Available

Book Overview

One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as "a work of fiction," defying the conscientious reader's need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Amazing

There is certainly no shortage of war-related fiction in the world, but Tim O'Brien's masterful story collection "The Things They Carried" quickly sets itself apart as one of the best. The titular story, which opens the collection, is breathtaking and grounded (I first discovered it as an excerpt in "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" and was so intrigued that I had to read the rest). "The Things They Carried" is especially good because it puts an interesting twist on the genre by blending reality and fiction into a mesmerizing combination of compelling action and human nature at work. O'Brien plays with the truth, teasing out the reason behind the writer and then flipping what you thought you knew. He has a firm grip on how -- and why -- people tell stories and uses it well. His description of his compatriots in the war and the behavior they engage in can be shocking but O'Brien's flawless execution keeps them grounded. Each character is well-drawn and well reasoned; even when they do something disturbing you really feel for them because you understand WHY they are acting that way. And if something bad happens to one of them you feel the intense gravity and sorrow of the loss. O'Brien also offers a compelling look at why he became a writer and has some truly inspiring views about the power of fiction -- and storytelling in general. O'Brien's stories are funny, brutal, uplifting, and shocking (often all on the same page). This collection is a must not just for fans of war literature but for anyone.

". . . stories can save us"

Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is a book that transcends the genre of war fiction. Actually, it transcends the genre of fiction in general. Although labeled "a work of fiction" on the title page, the book really combines aspects of memoir, novel, and short story collection. I think you could use Audre Lorde's term "biomythography" to describe this book.The first-person narrator of this book (named, like the author, Tim O'Brien) is a writer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. The book actually deals with events before and after the war, in addition to depicting the war itself; the time span covers more than 30 years in the lives of O'Brien and his fellow soldiers."The Things They Carried" is an intensely "writerly" text. By that I mean that O'Brien and his characters often reflect directly on the activities of storytelling and writing. As a reader, I got the sense that I was being invited into the very process by which the book was created. This is an extraordinary technique, and O'Brien pulls it off brilliantly.This being a war story, there are some truly disturbing, graphic, and violent scenes. But there are also scenes that are haunting, funny, surreal, or ironic. O'Brien depicts a memorable group of soldiers: the guilt-wracked Lieut. Cross; Kiowa, a Native American and devout, Bible-carrying Baptist; the sadistic but playful Azar; and more.While this book is a complete and cohesive work of art, many of its component stories could stand alone as independent pieces of literature (in fact, I first encountered the title story in an anthology). But however you classify it, I consider "The Things They Carried" to be a profoundly moving masterpiece.

A Masterpiece

I was first introduced to this book as part of a U.S. & Vietnam History course in college. The other novel the course required was The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Tim O'Brien's book is every bit as good as Greene's, and all the more timely.As a former soldier, and a veteran of Desert Storm, whose father avoided the draft during the Vietnam War, the book taught me that no matter what other people say about the war, no matter what I learn, I can never make any value judgements on an individual level. I was not there, and for better or worse, I am only a specator.I am currently re-reading the book, which I often use in teaching my creative writing class. I share the story-chapter, "Style" every year with my students. I also find the book essential to learn about the nature of fiction, which O'Brien challenges with every page of this book.For anyone looking for a book to read on the Vietnam experience, this book makes my short list every time. Not only of "Vietnam" books, but of any book worth reading. This book is simply essential.

A Vietnam Primer for a 1969 baby...

I was born in 1969. I missed Vietnam. The war was over and I never knew about it. For an event that had such significance in American history, it was as though it had never happened.When I was in High School and we studied American History, our class always ended with WWII. We never discussed "modern" events -- the 60s, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement.When I got to college, I made a point of taking a class on the 60s. Still though, I gained a textbook introduction to the Vietnam war -- I never had a true sense of what the horror was, why people protested, why it was such an important historical event. My generation has never faced a war in which we were drafted to fight.And then I read "The Things they Carried"...This book was/is an education for me. Visceral, haunting, provoking, gripping -- the stories Tim O'Brien tells rip into you. He puts you on the front line facing the man you just killed -- on the Canadian border deciding that you aren't brave enough to escape to Canada to avoid the draft -- back in Vietnam watching your best buddy slowly sink into a field of mud as sniper fire rains all around you -- back at home with no sense of purpose surrounded by people who don't know how to welcome you home.This book is the best education on Vietnam this literal child of the 60s ever received.If, like me, you don't understand what all the fuss is about, read this book and you will...

Turns you inside out !

I am writing this review about a month or so after having read it. I am a veteran of the Vietnam war and after serving two tours with the U.S. Navy in the Mekong Delta..found this book to be very good at pulling you inside out...taking someone who hasn't been there and transporting you to walk the trails and carry the weight of being a soldier.Tim O'Brien is an outstanding author, he captures your imagination and doesn't let go until his fasinating stories have drained you of any resistance against reading on till the end. I'm not a big reader and certainly NOT into war books. But this book tells so much more about the characters lives and how they were forever impacted by there experiences. I have recommended to some fellow comrades who also served in the Nam to read it. My own personal experiences still haunt me, the memories and nightmares continue..and reliving some of the experiences though somewhat different...the "feel" of Mr. O'Brien's book, has given me a somehow more settled attitude. I highly recommend that anyone who has either been to war, know's or is related to anyone who served in the Nam or any other war...do yourself a big favor ~ READ THIS BOOK! Don't miss it...it's worth every minute spent. A real winner!
Copyright © 2019 Thriftbooks.com Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured