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Going After Cacciato &It is generally recognized that Tim O’Brien's Going After Cacciato (1978) is most likely the best book of the Vietnam war, albeit an odd one in that it innovatively combines the experiential realism of war with surrealism, primarily throughout the overactive imagination of the protagonist, Spec Four Paul Berlin. The very first chapter of this publication is of more than usual significance. Made to be a self-sufficient narrative (McCaffery 137) and often anthologized as one, this chapter is crucial to the book in that it not only introduces us into the characters and the situation but also sets the tenor of the novel and shows its author's view of this war regarding which all else in the novel must be judged. In chapter 1, the storyline of the whole book is defined: A very young soldier named Cacciato hills, intending to walk to Paris by land. As his team follows under orders to catch him , Paul Berlin starts his intriguing mind-journey of "moving after Cacciato," of escape , and later a reexamination of, the truth of warfare. But what is described first, at the very first two pages to be exact, is this war's reality and its own cost to the young American soldiers included. These pages record for us those who have died, in action and otherwise, and people who've been maimed, sometimes through self-injury, underscoring the urgency of their desire to reside. These pages also vividly delineate for us the daily miseries and sufferings of the Vietnam war, from mud and rain to infection and rotting flesh, out of monotony and dread into a deep sense of futility. Since Paul Berlin narrates, "It was a bad time" (O’Brien 1). And the youthful soldiers experience all of this while being "directed" by a sickly, alcoholic, mis...