The Things They Carried is a modern necessity. A series of stories and reflections follow the journey of a hypothetical O'Brien and his squad as they 'hump' through the mountains and forests of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The book plays with the ideas of reality and storytelling, and forces readers to construct a robust and complex understanding of the stories of war and the life after. At points, it becomes almost impossible to discern between reality and falsities, and the book itself is an intellectual journey. The stories tell the seemingly exciting and eventful moments of the war, but put a special emphasis on the trauma and shocking notes of the war. O'Brien contrasts each element with an essential counterpart: excitement with terror, nonfiction with fiction; storytelling with teaching. It's this contrasting of truths that makes The Things They Carried a staple on any bookshelf, and a read worthy of any audience.