Coyle's Reviews > The Forever War

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
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's review
May 10, 2012

really liked it

This is a Vietnam book through-and-through, such that I can't even really summarize plot or theme without spoilers. So, the broad-stroke points of importance:
-Soldiers are brave (especiall the grunts) and develop a family mentality through the trial of combat. Officers may also be brave, but they may just as easily be awful.
-War is awful, and usually needless. Which isn't to say it's so much evil in the sense that we might regularly use the word, as it is banal. War is not wicked, according to the book, because we are wicked, but because we are thoughtless and greedy.
-Reentering society, once you've been a soldier, is a traumatic, difficult, and sometimes even frightening experience. Very often it's easier just to go back to war than to try to live in a world that has vastly changed since you left (this is probably the big point of the book- at least it's the most in-your-face one).

Overall this is worthy of being read, not only for itself but for the influence it has had on other science fiction. Were I teaching a Sci-Fi class (which I hope to someday), this would get held up next to Ender's Game as one perspective on war.

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