Free Library of Philadelphia
 

The Things They Carried is a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. It is based on the Vietnam War experience of its author and his companions. In the book, the men of Alpha Company battle the enemy, and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers, and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the soldiers, and build images upon their dialogue. In the way they tell stories about others, we hear the men telling stories about themselves. The Things They Carried was first published in 1990 to great critical acclaim. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and received France’s prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger