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Tim O’Brien: The Things We Carry

Host Marcia Franklin interviews one of the most esteemed writers of the Vietnam War era, Tim
O’Brien. O’Brien, who served as an infantryman from 1969 to 1970, wrote a memoir in 1972 called “If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home.” It received excellent reviews, and in 1978, O’Brien won the National Book Award for “Going After Cacciato,” a novel about a soldier who goes AWOL and the squad that tries to find him.

O’Brien’s most well-known book is “The Things They Carried,” a work of linked stories about soldiers in the Vietnam War, published in 1990. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, and is required reading in many high school and college classes.

Franklin talks with O’Brien about his style of writing, which often blurs fact with fiction, and about his new life as a first-time father later in life. The two also talk extensively about war in our culture, and O’Brien shares his thoughts on how he thinks Veterans Day and Memorial Day would be best observed.

O’Brien was in Boise as the keynote speaker for the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2015
Distinguished Humanities Lecture.

Originally aired: 11/13/2015

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