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Publisher's Summary

Before writing his award-winning Going After Cacciato, Tim O'Brien gave us this intensely personal account of his year as a foot soldier in Vietnam. The author takes us with him to experience combat from behind an infantryman's rifle, to walk the minefields of My Lai, to crawl into the ghostly tunnels, and to explore the ambiguities of manhood and morality in a war gone terribly wrong.

Beautifully written and searingly heartfelt, If I Die in a Combat Zone is a masterwork of its genre.

©1975 Tim O'Brien (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A personal document of aching clarity. . . . A beautiful, painful book." ( New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about If I Die in a Combat Zone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A solid Vietnam war memoir

A solid Vietnam memoir from one of the best known writers seasoned by the Vietnam war. Things I liked: cover, Plato, Eric as mirror, dialogue, etc. Things I didn't: didn't seem to add much to the combat veteran memoir, repetitious, risk-free, light. Sure it was updated with the particular nuances of the Vietnam experience, but it was rather safe (a bizarre thing to say about a memoir of a combat vet).

Don't get me wrong. I liked it. I appreciated it, and will read/listen to more of Tim O'Brien. I just didn't think this was on par with Robert Graves, Michael Herr, Guy Sayer, Artyom Borovik, Bob Kotlowitz, etc. Good but just not great. I say this realizing I'm reading this 40+ years after it was first published. I allow that I may think the book is safe only because the road of Vietnam war memoirs was built with a helluva lot of O'Brien's own bricks.

13 people found this helpful

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felt as if I was at his side

the book drew me in and the narrator made it very easy to stay focused

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I truly thought that more than one person narrated this book and had to check to see that it’s all done by one man, and he does every voice perfectly. I’ve read other things by Tim O’Brien and am a fan although I’d never read this book. The listening experience must surpass the reading one here although the text is well-crafted too.

1 person found this helpful

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reminder

was well written and read. no over fluffing of politics or of what one would think reader wanted to here. very honest and easly related to.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

I was deeply moved by this presentation. It helps me understand some of the things people experienced.

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If I die...

An outstanding listen. Story is excellent, as is the narrator. Well worth the time to pay attention.

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Well written and timely for appreciation of our mi

Great account of the harsh realities of war very applicable to today. Good narration.

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Maybe a version sort of like a radio serial?

I liked the whole story, and it helped to know that this book was written by someone who was actually there, and wasn’t just trying to win an award for a moving account of a kid in the army. I had a copy of the book and read along with the recording, and I liked that the chapters were short, so that I could stop and think about the stuff I had just heard. Still, I’d like to hear a version done more like a radio drama, with the same text, but with different people for each character instead of one guy trying to do his best impression of a staff sergeant or an oriental kid. Maybe I’m just spoiled by watching TV, but I would have loved to have heard background sound effects as it was being read, like mortars and chopper blades and gunfire, kind of like those radio serials from decades ago.

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If I Die in a combat zone.

What disappointed you about If I Die in a Combat Zone?

This book just sucked. The story was terrible. I am a Viet Nam Vet. and it was very disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

sucks

I respect what he did n had to do in the army but unless you want a war story told by Shakespeare and ancient quotes n metaphors this is not the book for you. I hated it.