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When comparing Pattersons Grand Expectations and OBriens The Things They Carried each coincides with one another and gives accurate details of the front lines of battle The Things They Carried is a work of fiction and Pattersons Grand Expectations is merely a combination of facts and opinions Either book would greatly enhance a readers historical knowledge of the Vietnam War Pattersons Grand Expectations and OBriens The Things They Carried show the significant stresses of war whether it be on a solider in the depths of Vietnam or the American society as a whole For the younger generation the Vietnam War is a thing of the past They can only learn about this era from historical sources and those who served The conflict that one has to ask is what can one really believe In Pattersons book he often states that the struggle in Vietnam was Johnsons war According to Patterson there was no doubt that the war escalated under Johnsons watch Patterson also mentions the significant split among peoples associated with the war such as protests throughout the country and the great division among race class and age Evidence of this division can be seen within The Things They Carried when OBrien is recalling his actions to being drafted While he is opposed to the war he thinks about the choices he really has I feared losing the respect of my parents I feared the law I feared ridicule and censure My hometown was a conservative little spot on the prairie a place where tradition counted According to Patterson critics of Johnson claim that he was deceitful in telling the American people about events in Vietnam One of these events was the Tonkin Gulf crisis of August 1964 Johnson said nothing to the American people yet ordered a second destroyer which eventually caused retaliation and war This clearly makes one wonder whether all of the statistics of the war are accurate or whether someone
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