The Forever War

Haldeman, Joe W.

Book - 1997
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Forever War

Publisher: New York :, Avon Books,, [1997], ©1997
ISBN: 1568654324
Branch Call Number: FICTION Hal
Characteristics: 202 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Battling the Taurans in space was one problem as Private William Mandella worked his way up the ranks to major. In spanning the stars, he aged only months while Earth aged centuries. (

"The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite 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 sp... Read More »

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Mar 25, 2015
  • Jsmackenator rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

For the longest time I never read this book because a friend, and avid sci-fi reader, told me he didn't like it much. But, since it was so well regarded I decided to finally read it. It was great. Definitely worthy of all the praise it has received. What struck me the most was how ahead of its time this book was. I think it was written in 1974, keep that in mind when you read it.

Aug 27, 2014
  • JacksDaddy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book...a Hugo and Nebula award winner. Loved. It.

Dec 06, 2013

The story of a "space marine" fighting through the ages after humanity makes it's first contact with an unknown race. Every year he spends traveling to a new world to fight the enemy, hundreds of years are passing back on Earth. It begins with him as a Private in the 1990s and ends with him as a Major in the year 3000. He goes back to Earth to visit and finds an Earth he no longer knows or wishes to know. The author was a Vietnam veteran so there are lots of themes of fighting a foreign, unknowable enemy, and returning to a home that no longer exists. Very readable, funny, depressing, and entertaining.

Aug 14, 2013
  • StarGladiator rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is Haldeman writing at his best! Plus his creative use of the "Exceptional Draft" (drafting the most intellectually gifted) makes the most logical sense from the viewpoint of lending the most credence to survival and justifiable war, while reminding people of what happened when Napoleon drafted the tallest men in France for his soldiers: future generations of shorter citizens!

Aug 14, 2013
  • thomd rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book was just as good as I remember it from my youth. Some of the best bits involve time dilation, nova bombs, a stasis field and combat within using knives and bows, swords and spears. Rereading as an adult, I found the character story fairly solid as well. There are related stories and even a direct sequel, but I don't consider this book part of a "series". (Jul 1-24)

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Timeless in its portrayal of war as senseless-- questions like who are the real alien aggressors? are common themes-- but what makes this story interesting is how the main character catapults through human history by way of relativistic space travel. It's fascinating to see how the author imagines the drastic changes in future human society and mores.

Aug 24, 2012
  • DesPlainesReaders rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Haldeman definitely had a point he wanted to get across, but he manages to do so in a terrifically entertaining and intricate manner. Urgency and ennui strangely collide in the form of his main character, William Mandella, who knows as little about what he is fighting for as he does about what he is fighting against. ~wearespartacus/notTom

Oct 19, 2011
  • goglover rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Nebula Award Winner (1974) and Hugo Award Winner (1976)

When written, it was widely regarded as a response to and a rebutal of Heinlein's Starship Troopers written 15 years earlier. It is an interesting exercise to read and contrast the views of two different generations (WWII versus Vietnam War). For a modern take on the same issue see John Scalzi's Old Man's War.

As a novel it is an interesting and readable story though I do not find the story and writting as good as many of the other Hugo and Nebula award winners.

Jun 12, 2011
  • Mysticara7 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

It has better pacing than most other hard science fiction novels I've read. It reads more like a war novel than like a science fiction novel, but not in a bad way. There's a certain extra amount of suspension of disbelief that you have to put up with since the book was written back in the 1970s and is therefore a bit outdated, but it's worth it.

May 10, 2011
  • keeshka rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is not only one of the best science fiction novels, but also a great war novel as well.

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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was disgusted with the human race, disgusted with the army and horrified at the prospect of living with myself for another century or so... Well, there was always brain-wipe.


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