This modern classic and New York Times best seller was a finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and has become a staple of American classrooms. Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.
The soldiers in this collection of stories carried M-16 rifles, M-60 machine guns, and M-79 grenade launchers. They carried plastic explosives, hand grenades, flak jackets, and landmines. But they also carried letters from home, illustrated Bibles, and pictures of their loved ones. Some of them carried extra food or comic books or drugs. Every man carried what he needed to survive, and those who did carried their shattering stories away from the jungle and back to a nation that would never understand.
This audiobook also includes an exclusive recording “The Vietnam in Me,” a recount of the author’s trip back to Vietnam in 1994, revisiting his experience there as a soldier 25 years before, read by Tim O’Brien himself.
The Things They Carried was produced by Audible Studios in partnership with Playtone, the celebrated film and television production company founded by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and producer of the award-winning series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change.
For more from Audible and Playtone, click here.
©1990 Tim O'Brien (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"Cranston may be the most charismatic embodiment of moral ambiguity we currently possess. There was always something comforting as well as menacing in Walter White's voice, and Cranston attacks O'Brien's sober, sinewy prose with slightly scary authority.... [I]f you were a binge-watcher of Breaking Bad it will be no big deal to spend six hours in his company here." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Structurally the novel gestures to William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, while Ryan's sensitive observations on Irish life seem responsive to the work of his compatriot Patrick McCabe. That Ryan does not look out of place in such literary company is a measure of his achievement." (The Financial Times)
"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)
"O'Brien's haunting collection of connected stories about the Vietnam War is more alive than ever in this narration. Bryan Cranston's resonant, sometimes formal, performance often leaves the listener reeling. Cranston's voice is deep and patient, laying back to let the characters' collective pain take the fore. Memorable scenes include a man's receipt of his draft notice in "On the Rainy River," battle scenes in "The Man I Killed," and aspects of the war's aftermath in "Speaking of Courage." In all the works, Cranston offers a measured, compassionate voice. O'Brien's stories emphasize the importance of telling the truth of war stories, and Cranston's respect for his intent is clear and comforting. At times, his sonorous tone is hypnotic, but this is more an asset than a liability. All the better to make the listener feel." (AudioFile)
My least favorite section of this book was the author-narrated memoir at the end. In large part, because of the persuasive tone that Cranston established in his reading.
The title section may be the strongest, but the stories are all connected, and build off each other, united by Cranston's voice.
Frankly, I didn't like the writing style. I guess I was expecting a more literary Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (an amazing book and performance). This story gave me zero connection with the characters. If I hadn't been caught on a road trip without something else downloaded, I never would have finished the book.
The concept of a Bryan Cranston-read story probably was why I bought the book. His voice wasn't fascinating and had no variance. I guess I prefer performers like Bronson Pinchot.
The more I think about it, I'm amazed Playtone was associated with this. Band of Brothers is the best series I've ever watched. This book and performance don't rate in the same headline as that show.
The addendum with a recording from the author about his return to Vietnam felt more genuine.
I wasn't sure what this book was about when I bought it. It was an excellent read and I recommend it highly. Having lived through this period of time, it brought back many memories and helped to clarify some things I have thought about for some time.
Don't know. Would probably enjoy both equally.
The author. What courage.
Profound, compelling, appropriate matter-of-fact telling.
In every instance in which the author admitted would ordinarily be considered short comings, which actually turned out to be humanizing strengths.
On a scale from one to ten, this is a ten.
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.
O'Brien is a gifted writer who creatively shares the hard truths about a terrible war. The book, as many accounts of war have done, humbled me. As an American who deeply wishes that our great nation were perfect now and always had been, O'Brien reminds us that this isn't the case. The war in Vietnam was the setting of atrocities beyond the imagination of any who didn't live them. The book opened my eyes and caused me to challenge some of my own beliefs.
As expected from an honest account of soldiers at war, there is strong language and violence. The narrator does a great job. Definitely a book I would recommend.
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