The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

In Brief

They are the American soldiers of the Vietnam War, and they carry anything and everything you can think of: bibles, condoms, pictures, letters, and slingshots. In their minds, however, the men carry regret, fear, lack of responsibility, and even a love of war. If they are lucky, they get to carry home terrifying images that no normal person can even try to understand or absorb. In this semi-fictional account, Tim O’Brien reveals his descent into a burning desire for revenge, and then shows how he escaped the regret and despair that plagued other characters.

Why you should read it

The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled testament to Vietnam. Its intricate structure and diverse perspectives and times have earned it a place in classic American literature. The unique voice and format allow readers to feel what the soldiers felt, and to understand how frustrating it is to hump gear through hostile territory, to stay on alert for weeks on end, and yet never actually encounter an enemy.

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