The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

A Work of Fiction

Book - 1998
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The Things They Carried author Tim O'Brien is a co-writer on NBC's hit show THIS IS US for episodes about Jack's time in Vietnam.

A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

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.

Taught everywhere--from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing--it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing. The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 1998.
Edition: 1st Broadway Books trade paperback ed.
ISBN: 9780618706419
0618706410
Branch Call Number: TEEN FICTION OBrien Tim 12/1990
Characteristics: 273 p. ;,21 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Please join us on January 3, 2018 for a lively discussion at the Oak Park Library.

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JCLMandaW Oct 13, 2017

This book tells us that war is hell. War is friendship. War is pain. War is poetry. But mostly, war is hell.

List - 2017 Lackman Book Group
JCLKariE Jun 10, 2017

A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

The Things They Carried depicts the men of A... Read More »

October 3rd book discussion!

Comment
JCLJanineM Apr 03, 2013

This is a book about how ordinary men thrust into the role of soldier in the midst of war use stories to deal whith their experiences. Excellent.


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r
richibi
May 30, 2019

five big, bright, glorious stars for what must be one of the greatest books of the 20th Century, it'll never leave you, don't not read it

j
johnmerton
May 17, 2019

I read "The Things They Carried" soon after it was published, but was eager to hear Bryan Cranston reading it in the digital book format. The combination of reading and writing is absolutely breathtaking. As a would-be nonfiction writer, I especially appreciated O'Brien's discussion about what a "true" war story is and is not. I'm left with thinking that this "novel" is probably the truest reporting of the Vietnam War ever written.

g
Gypsy100
Apr 27, 2019

As a Vietnam veteran, I found this book true to form. Although a fictional portrayal, it is very real. O'Brien is an excellent story-teller and very profound. Karl Marlantes Matterhorn should be read along with this book. Both are exceptionally good and moving.

l
ladams1971
Apr 27, 2019

A different kind of war story about grunts (infantry soldiers) in combat in Vietnam. The author begins with a detailed definition and description of all the equipment ("battle rattle") carried by a grunt, to include their personal items, then the story evolves into a more personal load - those things carried and the thoughts that go on in the mind of the individual. It's a very interesting and well written story written by a former soldier that was there. I'm also a Vietnam veteran so for me the book was personal. As I read the book I sometimes laughed, I occasionally cried, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

s
Starpoem
Apr 24, 2019

This collage of Vietnam War-related stories reflects Baby Boomers' lingering pain and confusion over that era. It's a quick read, but not an easy one.

This is one of those Vietnam novels, written by a soldier who was there. Take that for what it's worth, ok? And don't spit on me when I arrive home at last.

m
marodriguez36
Apr 19, 2018

I enjoyed this book, because it featured the real memories of the author. His writing is full of colorful words and imagery.

SPPL_Anna Mar 15, 2018

I had to read all or a portion of The Things They Carried so many times in school (twice in HS, thrice in college) that I am very sick of it. And of Tim O'Brien being the go-to literary option for the American experience of the Vietnam War.

r
reginator_22
Jan 25, 2018

Great book. Read this in college.

b
BOOKMONKEY109
Nov 24, 2017

This book follows the author's personal experience as a grunt in Vietnam. I loved his descriptions and his honesty. I tear up even now recalling his most important battle - whether or not to flee to Canada instead of serving.

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Quotes

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r
reginator_22
Jan 25, 2018

“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.”

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.” - p. 14

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.” - pp.65-66

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“For the common soldier, at least, war has the feel - the spiritual texture - of a great ghostly fog, thick and permanent. There is no clarity. Everything swirls. The old rules are no longer binding, the old truths no longer true. Right spills over into wrong. Order blends into chaos, love into hate, ugliness into beauty, law into anarchy, civility into savory. The vapors suck you in. You can’t tell where you are, or why you’re there, and the only certainty is overwhelming ambiguity.” - p. 78

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

“For Rat Kiley, I think, facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of his stories, you'd find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe.” - pp.85-86

c
cknightkc
Sep 19, 2017

"The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.” - p. 218

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j
johnmerton
May 17, 2019

johnmerton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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