Joe Haldeman based The Forever War on his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam war and as a veteran trying to fit back in society. The Forever War has been compared to Heinlein‘s Starship Troopers, but it has much more in common with Catch-22 than with Heinlein‘s paean to war.
The main character of The Forever War is William Mandella, a bright student and reluctant soldier who is drafted to go battle the Taurans in an intergalactic war, that as Mandella eventually finds out, has no cause, meaning, or end.
One minor detail, though – since the Taurans are many light years away, the Earth soldiers go through ‘time dilation’, where one year in the battlefield is approximately thirty Earth years. after his first tour of duty Mandella returns to an Earth he can’t recognize or fit in, so reluctantly he reenlists over and over…
this is a wickedly funny book – very relevant to its contemporary time in the 1970s, and again to our current times.