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O'Brien, Tim. THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence, 1990. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 273 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's sequence of linked short stories. One of the greatest books of the 20th century. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions, of which there are many. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents, in its First Edition format, Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried". "His masterpiece" (Matt Gallagher). It has the deliberate, cumulative power of a novel that resonates to this day, and will endure thereafter. The title refers to the deep bond that developed among men who were thrown together in the Vietnam War. "Depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and Tim O'Brien. These men carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, and each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried images of a nightmarish war that haunts our history and echoes into our present" (Publisher's blurb). For an idea of its immense influence upon successive generations of Americans, not just readers and writers: Tim Hetherington's first and only collection of photographs, "Infidel" (2010), about another generation of American men thrown together by the Iraq War, may be said to be the belated photographic equivalent of Tim O'Brien's account on how men carry one another. O'Brien and Hetherington implicitly (and then explicitly) condemn war. Rejecting the pieties of politicians and the general public, they go so far as to suggest that fighting America's imperial wars is finally more an act of cowardice than courage on the individual's part, that is, an act of escape from one's personal demons At Home in order to enact and exorcise them Abroad. Since writer and photographer were directly involved ("embedded" in Hetherington's case) in their respective wars, the suggestion of cowardice surely applies, first of all, to them - and is admitted as such by O'Brien. Hetherington died covering the Libyan Revolution, and before he could pronounce beyond the ground-breaking photographs he took and the straightforward reportage he wrote to accompany them. Unlike the rest of us who will never experience war first-hand, they have earned the right to speak war's truth to power in a way we cannot: As witness and as participant at the same time. An absolute "must-have" title for Tim O'Brien collectors. This copy is very prominently, neatly, and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Tim O'Brien. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page, as many copies available online are. Laid-in is a pristine copy of the Souvenir Material of the book launch event (which the author intimated will be his last) during which his signature was obtained. This title is a great book. This is one of few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing/First-State DJ still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: Copies available online have very serious flaws, are subsequent editions, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A scarce signed copy thus. One of the finest American writers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER TIM O'BRIEN TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 054739117X. $200.00

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