book cover of If I Die in a Combat Zone

If I Die in a Combat Zone

(1973)
Box Me Up And Ship Me Home
A non fiction book by

 
 
Over time, Tim O'Brien has used both art and artifice to shape his fictional accounts of Vietnam. Award-winning novels such as Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried offer up a surreal view of the war: a soldier who decides to walk to Paris, leaving only a trail of M&M's in his wake; a young man who imports his high-school girlfriend to his base camp high in the jungled mountains, only to lose her to a shadowy squad of Special Forces Green Berets and to "that mix of unnamed terror and unnamed pleasure" that was Vietnam. O'Brien's first account of the war, however, was written in the raw, unfiltered months following his return from Southeast Asia in 1969. If I Die in a Combat Zone has all of the eloquence and attention to language and detail that are a mark of the author's work; what is different about it is its straightforward, unembellished depiction of his personal experience of hell.

"When you are ordered to march through areas such as Pinkville--GI slang for Song My, parent village of My Lai ... you do some thinking. You hallucinate. You look ahead a few paces and wonder what your legs will resemble if there is more to the earth in that spot than silicates and nitrogen. Will the pain be unbearable? Will you scream or fall silent? Will you be afraid to look at your own body, afraid of the sight of your own red flesh and white bone? You wonder if the medic remembered his morphine."

O'Brien paints an unvarnished portrait of the infantry soldier's life that is at once mundane and terrifying--the endless days of patrolling punctuated by firefights that end as suddenly and inconclusively as they begin; the mind-numbing brutality of burned villages and trampled rice patties; the terror of tunnels, minefields, and the ever-present threat of death. Powerful as these scenes are, perhaps the most memorable chapter in the book concerns his decision to desert just a few weeks before he was sent to Vietnam. "The AWOL bag was ready to go, but I wasn't.... I burned the letters to my family. I read the others and burned them, too. It was over. I simply couldn't bring myself to flee. Family, the home town, friends, history, tradition, fear, confusion, exile: I could not run." Tim O'Brien went into the war opposing it and came out knowing exactly why. If I Die in a Combat Zone is more than just a memoir of a disastrous war; it is also a meditation on heroism and cowardice, on the mutability of truth and morality in a war zone and, most of all, on the simple, human capacity to endure the unendurable. --Alix Wilber



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Used availability for Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone

Hardback Editions

September 1999 : USA Library Binding
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Title: If I Die In A Combat Zone (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-613-08043-2 / 978-0-613-08043-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


September 1973 : UK Hardback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone (Memoir of Vietnam)
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-7145-1006-8 / 978-0-7145-1006-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 1973 : USA Hardback
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Title: If I Die In a Combat Zone, Box Me Up & Ship Me Home
Author(s): TIM O'BRIEN
ISBN: 0-440-03853-7 / 978-0-440-03853-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Delacourt Press / Seymour Lawrence [1973]
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

2010 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I die in a combat zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-00-789019-2 / 978-0-00-789019-4 (UK edition)
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon UK   


April 2006 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-00-720497-3 / 978-0-00-720497-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2006 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I Die in A Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-00-785520-6 / 978-0-00-785520-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Imprint unknown
Availability: Amazon UK   


March 2003 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone (1970s A Series)
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-00-716299-5 / 978-0-00-716299-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Flamingo
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-606-27851-6 / 978-0-606-27851-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


September 1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-7679-0443-5 / 978-0-7679-0443-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Broadway Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 1995 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone (Paladin Books)
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-586-08799-0 / 978-0-586-08799-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Flamingo
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


June 1992 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-440-34311-9 / 978-0-440-34311-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Laurel
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 1989 : USA Paperback
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Title: If I Die in the Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-385-29774-2 / 978-0-385-29774-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Delta
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


August 1980 : UK Paperback
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 0-586-05082-5 / 978-0-586-05082-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

November 2012 : USA Audio CD
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 1-4526-1079-7 / 978-1-4526-1079-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


November 2012 : USA Audio CD
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 1-4526-4079-3 / 978-1-4526-4079-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


November 2012 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 1-4526-6079-4 / 978-1-4526-6079-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


November 2012 : USA Audio edition
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon   


November 2012 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


January 1969 : Audio Cassette
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Title: If I Die in Combat Zone
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 5557080686 / 978-5557080682
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   


Kindle Editions

September 2015 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


August 2011 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Author(s): Tim O'Brien
Publisher: Broadway Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA