The Things They Carried

The ThingsĀ TheyCarried, by Tim O’Brian published by the Broadway Books, 1998, 246pp, paperback

This book appealed primarily to my “national defense” side as opposed to my “transportation” side. Some of you may have already read it when it was originally published in 1990. This is a literary work chronicling the experiences of a fictional infantry company in Vietnam. There are 35 laudatory reviews presented at the front of the novel, but to quote from the book itself: “Theycarried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, theycarried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Since its first publication, [the book] has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.” Veterans of all ages will find this a moving and rewarding read, but perhaps none more so then those of us who served during the “Vietnam Era.”

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