A skipper plies the waters of the South Pacific, running ammunition and passing the time with navy buddies McHale and Jack Kennedy, remembering the sweet caress of Screw-Me Susie. A New York millionaire reunites with his prep school classmate Alger Hiss, and journeys to an unusual downtown cafe to meet a bearded friend. A young woman and her confidante Daisy Buchanan sink into the languor of the Hamptons and Provincetown. A buxom redhead from Alabam-don't-give-a-damn travels to Hollywood, in search of fame and fortune. A charismatic professor assists Robert Oppenheimer with his desert calculations and is henceforth the author of every American political conspiracy. And Mary-Ann Kilroy leaves Russell, Kansas, for Paris and love, only to discover that you can never go home (nor leave the island).
But beneath these stories is the story of their author, an institutionalized shadow man who has twisted the histories of six characters into a pastiche of American history.
The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.