The works of Tim O'Brien are among the most significant recent contributions to a lengthy canon of war literature, write the editors of this volume; they serve as an ideal point of entry for discussions of war and its human impact. The author of the highly acclaimed The Things They Carried, O'Brien is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of a National Book Award for Going After Cacciato.
This volume in the Approaches to Teaching series considers the range and depth of O'Brien's writing, with an emphasis on works that focus on the Vietnam War. Part 1, Materials, provides information on O'Brien's life and an overview of his literary output. It also directs readers to critical and reference works on subjects encountered in his writing. The twenty-three essays in part 2, Approaches, provide historical background on the Vietnam War; explore narrative issues in O'Brien's works, such as the melding of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir; and suggest ideas for teaching the author's works in a variety of classroom and conceptual settings (e.g., composition, American literature, war fiction, narrative theory, postmodernism).