National Endowment of the Arts - The Big Read
The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

Abstraction may make your head believe, but a good story, well told, will also make your kidneys believe, and your scalp and your tear ducts, your heart, and your stomach, the whole human being.


Tim O'Brien (Copyright Marion Ettlinger, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin)

The Vietnam War still has the power to divide Americans between those for it and those against. Today it also divides us, just as surely, between those who remember its era firsthand and those not yet born when the troops came home. There may be no better bridge across these twin divides than Tim O'Brien's novel in stories The Things They Carried. The details of warfare may have changed since Vietnam, but O'Brien's semi-autobiographical account of a young platoon on a battlefield without a front, dodging sniper fire and their own misgivings, continues to win legions of dedicated readers, both in uniform and out.

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