The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

4.13 (277,288 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling, with more than two-million copies in print

Depicting the men of Alpha Company--Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O'Brien, who survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three--the stories in The Things They Carried opened our eyes to the nature of war in a way we will never forget. It is taught everywhere, from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing, and in the decades since its publication it has never failed to challenge our perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, and courage, longing, and fear.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 154 x 214 x 22mm | 358g
  • Houghton Mifflin (Trade)
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • 20th Anniversary ed.
  • 054739117X
  • 9780547391175
  • 76,899

Flap copy

"[An] ultimate, indelible image of war in our time, and in time to come." -- Los Angeles Times

This is an American classic.

Since it burst onto the literary scene twenty years ago, The Things They Carried has not stopped changing minds and lives, challenging readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing. It is an unparalleled Vietnam testament. It is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling. It is a major literary achievement and a book beloved by readers and writers and teachers and students.

The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O'Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. These men carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrasted Bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried images of a nightmarish war that haunts our history and echoes into our present.

The Things They Carried is required reading for any American.
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Back cover copy

"The Things They Carried is as good as any piece of literature can get." -- Chicago Sun-Times

A New York Times Book of the Century A Pulitzer Prize Finalist A National Book Critics' Circle Award Finalist Winner of the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (France) Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize

"A marvel of storytelling... a vital important book-- a book that matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam, but to anyone interested in the craft of writing as well." -- New York Times

"This is writing so powerful that it steals your breath. ... The Things They Carried is about more than war, of course. It is about the human heart and emotional baggage and loyalty and love. It is about the difference between 'truth' and 'reality.' It is about death--and life."--Milwaukee Journal

"Rendered with an evocative, quiet precision, not equaled in the imaginative literature of the American war in Vietnam." --Washington Post

"You ve got to 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, life's tenuousness, life's importance." -- Dallas Morning News

"A book so searing and immediate you can almost hear the choppers in the background." -- The Boston Globe

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Review quote

"The best of these stories--and none is written with less than the sharp edge of honed vision--are memory and prophecy. These tell us not where we were but where we are, and perhaps where we will be. . . . It is an ultimate, indelible image of war in our time, and in time to come." --Los Angeles Times "In prose that combines the sharp, unsentimental rhythms of Hemingway with gentler, more lyrical descriptions, Mr. O'Brien gives the reader a shockingly visceral sense of what it felt like to tramp through a booby-trapped jungle, carrying 20 pounds of supplies, 14 pounds of ammunition, along with radios, machine guns, assault rifles and grenades. . . . With The Things They Carried, Mr. O'Brien has written a vital, important book--a book that matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam, but to anyone interested in the craft of writing as well." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "Belongs high on the list of best fiction about any war . . . crystallizes the Vietnam experience for everyone [and] exposes the nature of all war stories." --New York Times, "Books of the Century" "With The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien adds his second title to the short list of essential fiction about Vietnam. . . . [H]e captures the war's pulsating rhythms and nerve-racking dangers. But he goes much further. By moving beyond the horror of the fighting to examine with sensitivity and insight the nature of courage and fear, by questioning the role that imagination plays in helping to form our memories and our own versions of truth, he places The Things They Carried high up on the list of best fiction about any war." --New York Times Book Review "When Going After Cacciato appeared out of nowhere to win the 1979 National Book Award, it seemed to many, myself included, that no finer fiction had, as of then, been written in the closing half of the 20th century--or was likely to be in the remaining years to come. The Things They Carried disposes of that prediction . . . Tim O'Brien is the best American writer of his generation." --San Francisco Examiner "The integrity of a novel and the immediacy of an autobiography . . . O'Brien's absorbing narrative moves in circles; events are recalled and retold again and again, giving us a deep sense of the fluidity of truth and the dance of memory." --The New Yorker "Rendered with an evocative, quiet precision, not equaled in the imaginative literature of the American war in Vietnam. It is as though a Thucydides had descended from grand politique and strategy to calm dissection of the quotidian efforts of war. . . . O'Brien has it just right." --Washington Post "Powerful . . . Composed in the same lean, vigorous style as his earlier books, The Things They Carried adds up to a captivating account of the experiences of an infantry company in Vietnam. . . . Evocative and haunting, the raw force of confession." --Wall Street Journal "O'Brien has written a book so searing and immediate you can almost hear the choppers in the background. Drenched in irony and purple-haze napalm, the Vietnam narrative has almost been forced to produce a new kind of war literature. The Things They Carried is an extraordinary contribution to that class of fiction. . . . O'Brien's passion and memory may have been his torment all these years, but they have also been his gift. . . . The Things They Carried leaves third-degree burns. Between its rhythmic brilliance and its exquisite rendering of memory--the slan--No Source
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About Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien received the 1979 National Book Award in fiction for Going After Cacciato. Among his other books are the acclaimed novels In the Lake of the Woods, Tomcat in Love, If I Die in a Combat Zone, and July, July. In the Lake of the Woods received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was named Time magazine's best novel of the year.
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Rating details

277,288 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 43% (118,040)
4 35% (98,411)
3 16% (44,266)
2 4% (11,912)
1 2% (4,659)
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