Tim O’Brien’s much-lauded autobiographical work The Things They Carried is a collection of interlocking stories about soldiers in the Vietnam War. Written over two decades after O’Brien’s military service, the stories reflect the action and corresponding emotions that surround the deaths of several soldiers and their enemies. Through these intensely vivid narratives, the author describes men coping with the trauma of war by making pacts, self-medicating, and dreaming of peacetime. O’Brien describes his decision to fight, despite his political objections, and reveals the guilt of the survivors, just one of the emotional burdens soldiers are forced to carry. Memorable characters emerge in these stories, such as Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen, who vow to put an end to each other’s suffering; Curt Lemon, who is the most terrified of the company dentist; and Norman Bowker, who never comes to terms with the death of his fellow combatant, Kiowa. The immediacy and intimacy of O'Brien's stories, with their recreation of wartime, should appeal strongly to high school readers.