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The Things They Carried Audiobook

The Things They Carried

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, October - Bryan Cranston is turning in one of the great television performances as Walter White on the Emmy Award-winning Breaking Bad, so needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that he'd be narrating Tim O'Brien's classic The Things They Carried. I first experienced the book in high school, and to revisit it now with such a gifted performer is an absolute treat. Cranston fully inhabits O'Brien's collection of semi-autobiographical stories about the Vietnam War and brings to it a sense of experience and remembrance as though he were actually there. I've only heard a sample so far, but I'd already consider this one of the top audiobook performances of the year. —Chris, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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    Betsy S. 12-29-16
    Betsy S. 12-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Good book for someone who thinks war is glorious"
    Any additional comments?

    As someone who thinks war is inhumane, this book was unnecessary for me to read. If you are a person who thinks war has any redeeming quality, read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Atom Jenks, OK United States 12-13-16
    Atom Jenks, OK United States 12-13-16 Member Since 2015

    book worm

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    "it deserves the acclaim"

    such a fantastic read. it has received several awards and has become a staple in high school class rooms for a reason. it truly is one of those books you should definitely read in a lifetime. the audio book is done well to, and Tim OBrien reads the epilogue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Wegner 11-23-16
    Ryan Wegner 11-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "All Around Excellent"

    Paints an awesome inspiring picture of the War. I bookmarked more locations in this book than I ever have. So many excellent paragraphs!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Kenyon Houston, TX USA 11-21-16
    Bob Kenyon Houston, TX USA 11-21-16 Member Since 2016

    bob

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    "great book"

    I've heard parts of this book via short stories, and I was really looking forward to hearing the entire thing. Bryan Cranston did a great job reading, and it had a great pace. There were times when the story was repetitive, but I still enjoyed the book, & I was excited to press play each time I opened the app to continue listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 10-26-16
    Matthew 10-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Raw and Real"

    Having been in war I can say that this book is one of the few that truly captures the emotion of it all and Bryan Cranston does the work justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Terry 10-26-16
    Lisa Terry 10-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Fabulous!"

    Loved this book. The narration was great as well. Moving. Poetic. Heart warming and heart wrenching all at once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Milwaukee, WI, United States 10-25-16
    Richard Milwaukee, WI, United States 10-25-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Of its time..."

    I cannot imagine my daughter being nearly as affected as I was since it was not her generation with the direct experience of Vietnam. Yet as my grandchildren continue to grow and thrive, I hope they will one day read the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Grethel 10-15-16
    Ron Grethel 10-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "He put me there"

    the author did a wonderful job showing the chaos of War, and capturing moral confusion

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt 10-07-16
    Matt 10-07-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Worst Book Ever"
    Has The Things They Carried turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No most books about the Vietnam War are extremely well written and very interesting reads


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was completely disgusted by the scene describing a Solider slowly torturing a Juvenile Water Buffalo to death by shooting it in non lethal areas. The rest of the platoon just stood by and watching including the Lieutenant. The gave him a pass because he just got his friend killed by being an irresponsible idiot.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't read this book there are such better ones on the subject

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Marilyn M 09-25-16
    Marilyn M 09-25-16
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    "Excellent!"

    A must read for all ages. Certainly gave insightful perspective of consequences of Vietnam war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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