I probably wouldn't pick up a book if I knew it was about war. There's something very tiring about reading war books -- a kind of helplessness from which you can only hide by becoming cynical. And yet, some of the best books I've read were war stories: The Book Thief, Catch 22, Captain Corelli's Mandolin... It was a good thing I didn't know what they were about when I started reading them. And now the same thing happened with The Things They Carried. Here is a quote I want to remember:
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 they 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.
I liked the way Tim O'Brien played with fact and fiction, first person and third person, story and meta story. This is definitely a book worth reading.