Saturday, November 13, 2010

A True War Story

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie.  There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil ... You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.


- From Tim O'Brien's short story "How to Tell a True War Story"

5 comments:

  1. One of my favorite O'Brien quotes. Thanks for sharing, Matt. essay-writer-service.net is known for providing best essay writing services online.

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  2. I love this quote, and the chapter it comes from, "How to Tell A True War Story" it probably informs my understanding of war literature more than anything else.

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  3. Great quote. It reminds me of something Gen Hal Moore said about not being political, but just telling the story.

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  4. Love this quote, Matt, and find it particularly relevant to Kaboom. Your book is one of the few modern memoirs that does. So does Colby Buzzell's. I can think of many more - Nate Fick's, Craig Mullaney's, even your friend Exum's - that don't. I remember you saying that you didn't write Kaboom for a Senatorial campaign someday. That truth, and O'Brien's quote, are probably related, as well. Happy Sunday!

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  5. My favorite chapter in "The Things They Carried". O'Brien is the greatest storyteller!

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