The Things They Carried

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'brien

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | October 13, 2009 | Trade Paperback

The Things They Carried is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene,The Things They Carriedis a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

The Things They Carrieddepicts 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 Carriedwon 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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.64 in

Published: October 13, 2009

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618706410

ISBN - 13: 9780618706419

Found in: Fiction and Literature

save 22%

  • In stock online

$17.48  ea

Online Price

$21.50 List Price

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Illuminating, Horrifying, and Heart-rending O'Brien was there. He knows what the men in Alpha Company carried on their backs, and to some extent, in their hearts. He knows the exact weight of each piece of equipment, and who carried what — the weight of their boots, the weight of their entrenching tools, the weight of their weaponry, the weight of their rain ponchos — which served the dual purposes of sheltering them from the rain, and, eventually, wrapping their bodies for the chopper. The weight that could not be calculated was that of their emotional baggage — baggage they brought with them, baggage they collected along the way, and baggage they brought home with them if they survived — baggage they carried under a "mask of composure". "The things they carried were determined to some extent by superstition. Lieutenant Cross carried his good-luck pebble. Dave Jensen carried a rabbit's foot. Norman Bowker, otherwise a very gentle person, carried a thumb that had been presented to him as a gift by Mitchell Sanders. The thumb was dark brown, rubbery to the touch, and weighed 4 onces at most. It had been cut from a VC corpse, a boy of fifteen or sixteen. They'd found him at the bottom of an irrigation ditch, badly burned, flies in his mouth and eyes. The boy wore black shorts and sandals. At the time of his death he had been carrying a pouch of rice, a rifle, and three magazines of ammunition." They were kids mostly, fighting a war they didn't understand, in a country they didn't know, for a cause they didn't believe in. Henry Dobbins was always looking for "the moral" in every event or story; he carried his girlfriend's pantyhose "wrapped around his neck as a comforter". First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried "a compass, maps, code books, binoculars. . . and the responsibility for the lives of his men". He also carried a picture of the girl he hoped was his girlfriend, although he knew when she signed her letters "Love," it was only form. Rat Kiley carried a canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape and comic books". "Mitchell Sanders. . . carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. . . Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament. . . Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope" and the author, Tim O'Brien, carried a secret which went home with him and was never revealed until some twenty years later: "[He] was a coward. [He] went to war." O'Brien tells gritty, poignant, tragic, funny, and terrifying stories — shaking hands with corpses, trick or treating in a village in 'Nam wearing nothing but boots, body paint, and a weird mask, fainting before the army dentist started his work, waking up screaming with a leech on your tongue, popping tranquilizers just to get through the day. Or the night. He tells of the aftermath, of survivors, and of those who made it through the war only to not make it through peace. Today we call it post-traumatic stress disorder. Are his stories true? He says, "In war you lose your sense of the definite, hence your sense of the truth itself, therefore it's safe to say that in a true war story nothing is ever absolutely true. Often in a war story there is not even a point, or else the point doesn't hit you until twenty years later, in your sleep, and you wake up and shake your wife and start telling the story to her, except when you get to the end you've forgotten the point again." His stories are "a truth" — perhaps one of many truths. O'Brien explores his own experiences of the baggage of Alpha Company in a way that brings the war home to a world that tried to ignore it. It is illuminating and horrifying and heart-rending. It is possibly the only truth of the Vietnam war that will ever be experienced by those who were not there.
Date published: 2015-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, important book! I never would have picked up O'Brien's book if not for the American Literature class I was taking at university. Like most books on my course syllabus, it was not of a topic or genre I normally would have read. That being said, this book is without a doubt one of my most favourite books! There is something wonderful and captivating about O'Brien's writing. He expertly blends the genres of short story, novel and memoir in this fascinating and honest look into the narratives of the Vietnam War. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in American history or culture, war, or the art and craft of writing in general.
Date published: 2010-07-09

– More About This Product –

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'brien

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.64 in

Published: October 13, 2009

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618706410

ISBN - 13: 9780618706419

About the Book

Since its first publication, "The Things They Carried" has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.

From the Publisher

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

The Things They Carrieddepicts 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 Carriedwon 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.

About the Author

Tim O'Brien received the 1979 National Book Award forGoing After Cacciato. Among his other books areThe Things They Carried,Pulitzer Finalist and aNew York TimesBook of the Century, andIn the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. He was awarded the Pritzker Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military writing in 2013.

Editorial Reviews

"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 "The Things They Carried is as good as any piece of literature can get . . . It is controlled and wild, deep and tough, perceptive and shrewd." --Chicago Sun 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 "[B]elongs 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 h
read more read less