I have noticed that O'Brien's soldiers do many things that, in Matterhorn, would get them killed. They put light colored objects in their helmet-bands, which the young Matterhorn lieutenant is warned against doing on his first night in the bush; they smoke cigarettes and weed in the bush on operations, which in Matterhorn "an enemy could smell for miles"; they wear machine gun ammo on bandoliers across their chests, while a Matterhorn sergeant warns troops leaving the base "to keep the ammo in the cans, so it won't fail when you need it."
These seem like differences which can get you killed, so who is right? Both O'Brien and served in the bush in Vietnam, but it would seem that one of them was making a lot of mistakes.
Great books, both, though. Great literature, not merely war literature.
I am a Vietnam veteran and server with the 5th Special Forces in 1967-68. I also suffer from PTSD. I have read many book about Vietnam and I am in a couple of them.. This is by far the worse book I have listen to about Vietnam. It has no story, no point no beginning, no end.Tim O'brien rambles on through out the book over whelmed in self pity and endless depression. He keeps going over the same stories with wordy phrases that make no sense. The book is depressing from the beginning to the end. If you want to feel depress read it.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Listening to “The Things They Carried” reminds baby boomers of Edwin Starr’s 1969 anti-Vietnam song, “War”. The reminder is in its refrain, “What is it good for?–“Absolutely nothing.”
“The Things They Carried” reinforces history’s judgment of Vietnam. Vietnam was an un-winnable war; entered into by the United States with ignorance equal to benighted judgement in Iraq.
One of my two half-brothers served in the 101st airborne in Vietnam. In truth, we rarely saw each other but he never talked about his Vietnam’ experience. He died at 62 years of age. He was a financially successful business man but now I wonder how much of his life was affected by senseless war—I hear Edwin Starr’s refrain. “The Things They Carried” makes one worry about all war veterans and victims; on both sides of senseless war.
Tell us about yourself!
This isn't the typical war story. Deep down inside this book feels true. It delivers an honesty, both about the good and the bad, that is rare in war stories. I was moved by the emotions in some places and the detachment from emotion in others. This book makes me feel as if I have seen a very small sliver of what things happened during Vietnam.
Bryan Cranston delivered a high quality performance. It meshed perfectly with the feel of the book as if the author was telling the story himself.
I'm a Viet Nam vet and was offended by it. It makes us all look like we were young idiots with no moral fiber whatsoever. Some of those things happened but they were not typical of all of us. I served for 30 years, retired a Col. and do not think this book is good literature.
If the author didn't characterize Americans as being murderers and fools.
Clear, concise reading of the story.
Sadness and disappointment.
The author makes it very clear that he believes America's part in the Vietnam war was immoral, evil and just plain wrong. He interleaves real events he witnessed with his recalled dreams of guilt and shame. The book is a pessimistic condemnation of the U.S. Military in Vietnam.
In the author's comments at the end of this book the My Lai massacre is presented (in the author's own voice) as being representative of America, not the horrible crime of a few. It's a common technique for anti-war authors to elaborate on My Lai and exonerate our enemies crimes, while avoiding giving America credit for doing anything right. He does not mention the horrors resulting from the Communist victory, the reeducation camps, the refuges who fled our enemy. He is only sad that he fought them.
This book is a heartfelt, tightly guarded emotional diatribe against America in Vietnam.
I enjoyed OBrien's use of "story truth" utilizing fictional license to tell the important truths that strict adherence to the facts may prevent
People who can endure a fictional (sometimes fantastical) story in a historically valid setting.
No, because in a way "Killer Angels" is fiction as well, but did a fantastic job.
Great voice, good smooth reading.
The scene of the girl who visits the remote medical base.
It was just not for me. It's possible I need my stories to be closer to non-fiction.
Really well written. Enjoyed the language and flow as much as the subject. Original premise for the main thesis. Discusses the war around the things various men carried into combat with them. Will listen again it was such a joy to listen to good writing.
For me, the personal narrative read by Tim O'brian was the most powerful part of the book. Written 25 years after his own tour, it's obvious that the author was still carrying a lot. In the years since, I hope he's found some peace.