I've had this book on my shelf for many years, but seeing Bryan Cranston as narrator made me finally "read" it. It has many good details about the Vietnam War and some anecdotes I hadn't heard before, like the story about the teenage girl who goes out with the Green Berets. But O'Brien is heavily dependent on iteration as a dramatic technique and I find it tiresome. Is it really important to the book that we be told, maybe 20 times, that the author is now 43 and that he's writing about himself at 23? There's a lot of this and I didn't find it effective, just time-consuming.
Kudos to Cranston though.
A little to self absorbed
I preferred the operational aspects
Maybe too many drugs consumed by the writer during the experiences
The book began as a moving narrative about a platoon, but quickly turned into an outlet for the author.
It was interesting, but much more than a war story. It was not what I was expecting.
Brian Cranston could not have been a better choice for reader. His voice added a lot.
Say something about yourself!
While the explicit imagery sows the savagery and fear that I could only dream of, his memoirs seem desperate and shallow.
I guess there are precious lessons that only experience can teach, but this left me a little depressed
Bryan Cranston is brilliant as the narrator of this book. It certainly seems to be a very detailed account of the daily life of infantrymen in Vietnam, however, I was greatly disturbed by portions of the book which seemed unnecessarily violent. In particular, there is a scene describing the horrendous torturing of a juvenile water buffalo at the hands of a frustrated American soldier. I was sickened by this part of the narrative and question why the author thought that such a passage was appropriate. It may be that events like this did occur; however, I hardly see the need to include endless details about such repugnant behavior when it adds nothing to the story.
I would not. I think that there are many well-written novels, plays, etc. about the horrors of the Vietnam War which have considerably more literary value.
A film based upon this book would not add anything to the existing body of fictional work about the Vietnam War. The films "Platoon" and "Apocalypse Now" have more than adequately depicted the horrors of the Vietnam War.
Possibly, although with explanation that my political leanings don't necessarily align with the author's.
I would love to learn more about this era and the things we put our boys through. I would have bought this book for at least three people I know had it not been for some of the political interjections that I know they may take offense to on some levels. I powered through those sections and found the overall book highly fascinating and engaging.
Yes, the vignette's were dreamlike and nightmarish. I enjoyed meeting the different characters and understanding their motivations behind their actions, even the most grotesque of their actions.
Sometimes it was a little too Bryan Cranston... I enjoyed hearing the author's own voice at the end and then thinking back on some of the stories with the author's voice in mind. Hearing the author's voice gave the stories more credibility and emotional fragility than Cranston applied at times.
I was stricken with a case of literary seasickness in listening to this book. The author stitched together a bunch of stories in an incoherent way that left the pitch and roll of this disorganized work most difficult to understand. Worse still, some of the stories, particularly the implausible and belabored recount of a soldier who imported his girlfriend to the front lines, strained credulity beyond the breaking point. Narcissistic diversions into what a "real war story" is or should be was another distraction that did little to help this allegedly authentic personal memoir limp across the finish line.
Save your money.
The book may have meaning for those men who served in Viet Nam and I am sure they can relate to the heart and intent of the story. For me there was way too much profanity (I should have known by the outline on the site) and way too much death. Not a book for me but I appreciate the men it discusses.
The performance was wonderful
Retired police detective; oenophile; golf and exercise addict; and quilter.
It's a very important story - but it was too minimal. There was too much jumping around from one person to the next.
What they carried symbolizes important things that were left behind, undone, or to be looked forward to...