The monumental Hugo and Nebula award winning SF classic Featuring a new introduction by John Scalzi
The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sanddespite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries...
"Haldeman exercises his literary license," James Scott Hicks writes in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "to comment on, and ultimately to expunge from his memory, America's last ground war [Vietnam]." Hicks points out that Haldeman's first novel, War Year, based on his army diaries, deals with the Vietnam fighting directly. "But the demon of Vietnam," Hicks writes, "was not exorcised from Haldeman's soul by writing [War Year], and frontline combat became the subject of . . . The Forever War." Haldeman, Hicks believes, is particularly adept at presenting his "theme of quiet resentment felt by those waging war."
Because of his scientific training in physics and astronomy, Haldeman is particularly careful to present The Forever War as realistically and accurately as possible. "The technology involved in this interplanetary campaign," Martin Levin of the New York Times Book Review notes in his review of The Forever War, "is so sophisticated that the book might well have been accompanied by an operator's manual. But then, all the futuristic mayhem is plugged into human situations that help keep the extraterrestrial activity on a warm and even witty plane."