The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Writing Home from Vietnam

Last week, Maryland's Somerset County Library System kicked off their discussion of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried with two nights of powerful readings of letters written by servicemen and aid workers during the Vietnam War. The community gathered for performances by Radio Airwaves Productions, who read selected letters from the book Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (2002). They read letters from sons to mothers, letters from Red Cross nurses, and notes from others who provided detailed, first-hand accounts of what it was like to fight in Vietnam; the letters were followed by a brief account of O'Brien's life after the war (he himself was a Vietnam veteran). Radio Airwaves Productions, a local not-for-profit based in Worcester County, does script-reading and other live performances, and their take on the letters was spectacular---very moving and engaging.

The library’s Big Read calendar is packed with other events throughout March and April, including film screenings, book discussions, and musical performances centered on The Things They Carried. O’Brien himself will even be speaking at Stephen Decatur High School the evening of April 19th. To tide you over until then, discover the music of the 1960s, watch and discuss the films Platoon (1986) and Regret to Inform (1998), and review the history of the Vietnam War in the various events the library has planned.

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