Tim O’Brien

They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.

– Tim O’Brien


born in Minnesota, October 01, 1946

gender: male

Tim O’Brien matriculated at Macalester College. Graduation in 1968 found him with a BA in political science and a draft notice.O’Brien was against the war but reported for service and was sent to Vietnam with what has been called the “unlucky” Americal division due to its involvement in the My Lai massacre in 1968, an event which figures prominently in In the Lake of the Woods. He was assigned to 3rd Platoon, A Company, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry, as an infantry foot soldier. O’Brien’s tour of duty was 1969-70.After Vietnam he became a graduate student at Harvard. No doubt he was one of very few Vietnam veterans there at that time, much less Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) holders. Having the opportunity to do an internship at the Washington Post, he eventually left Harvard to become a newspaper reporter. O’Brien’s career as a reporter gave way to his fiction writing after publication of his memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Send Me Home.Tim O’Brien is now a visiting professor and endowed chair at Texas State University – San Marcos (formerly Southwest Texas State University) where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program.

5 thoughts on “Tim O’Brien

  1. October 1, 1946: Happy 67th birthday, Tim O’Brien! His work, including the National Book Award winner Going After Cacciato, and the more recent best seller, The Things They Carried, often deals with the effects of the war.

  2. My daughter graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos. 🙂 Beautiful area.

    • What did she study? Wonder if she met Tim O’Brien.
      Here’s another of his quotes for you: “The world shrieks and sinks talons into our hearts. This we call memory.”
      ― Tim O’Brien, Tomcat In Love

      • She changed her major a zillion times before settling down to a degree in computer science. I have absolutely no idea what she does. Way above me. 😦
        I doubt she met Tim O’Brien. Writing was not her forte.

      • Computer science is today’s demand, good choice.

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