If I Die in a Combat Zone

By Tim O'Brien,

Book cover of If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home

Book description

A classic from the New York Times bestselling author of The Things They Carried

"One of the best, most disturbing, and most powerful books about the shame that was / is Vietnam."
—Minneapolis Star and Tribune

Before writing his award-winning Going After Cacciato, Tim O'Brien gave us this intensely personal…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked If I Die in a Combat Zone as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A brilliantly intimate and personal account of a foot soldier’s tour of duty in Vietnam. This was a revelation to me while I was writing my own book showing that the microscopic detail of a soldier’s individual concerns and anxieties was just as compelling as the bird’s eye narrative of a battle. 

From Tim's list on battles that go wrong.

Although units in other parts of the country experienced vastly different wars from the Marine, Army Airborne, and Cav units in the north, all were wrought with the same inanity of a war lacking clear goals and objectives—other than surviving. Many units simply had more time to think about it before their times came. O’Brien again uses his superior writing skills in this memoir to reflect the daily lives, frustrations, and sudden moments of unbridled terror the foot soldier faced. This book is an excellent portrait of the average grunt’s life in the Nam.

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