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1968 Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 1997


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / General (June 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380708035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380708031
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Evoking painful nostalgia, Haldeman's (The Forever Wars) tragic and depressing novel chronicles a year in the life of Darcy "Spider" Speidel, a combatant in and victim of Vietnam. A teenage college dropout, Spider is drafted and sent to Nam as a combat engineer. Spider is just a scared, uncertain kid reluctantly playing the game of war for keeps; after he's wounded during the onset of the Tet offensive, he's evacuated back to the States, where his real war begins. His onetime sweetheart, embroiled in the hippy counterculture, has taken up with a new, draft-deferred boyfriend. Confused and helpless, the traumatized Spider lacks the support of even his doctors and his family. Haldeman uses bold language, powerful images and a graphic style to tell his emotional tale, in which concentrated, diary-like entries intensify the drama and despair. He also takes every opportunity to engage in social criticism, ranging from the conduct of the war to draft inequities, from the sexual revolution to the failings of military medical care. He even tries unconvincingly to resurrect the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Affecting and compelling on several levels, Spider's story may nevertheless strike readers as a Forrest Gump without any hope or inspiration.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Haldeman has been one of science fiction's brightest stars for two decades but is less renowned for his Vietnam War novels. The third, 1968, deals with a year in the life of Snake, a combat engineer in the Central Highlands just before the Tet offensive. Wounded on a patrol, he is medevac'd to the U.S. and diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. He spends the rest of the year, both in the hospital and afterward, trying to come to terms with his family, the country, the war, and especially the memory of his last patrol. Haldeman's spare, flat prose is perfectly suited to a story containing so many tensions and so much emotion, and his ironic asides on weapons, customs, and psychiatric procedures provide not just background, but acrid commentary. A powerful novel, 1968 is worthy of careful reading, for although veterans will be instantly attuned to Haldeman's voice, what he has to say will also repay those who bring to it only a casual knowledge of the war. Dennis Winters --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Very Moving Story Nov. 5 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I love many of Haldeman's science fiction novels, I think 1968 is his best work. He dealt with his Vietnam experience in a very different way in The Forever War by presenting it in a futuristic setting. Here, he confronts it head on, and I think that's what makes 1968 even more powerful than The Forever War. It's amazing to me how little has changed as far as military life goes after reading this book. I was in the Marine Corps infantry in the early nineties, and the same lingo is still being used--like taking "pogey bait" out to the field with you, for example. Even though I, nor others of my generation, can imagine what the Vietname war was really like, I think Haldeman's novel is one of the best at giving us a taste of what it was like. But there's much more to 1968 than just a soldier's Vietnam experience. Much of the book takes place after the main character, Spider, returns home. He arrives a changed man, and the home he remembered has also changed. Haldeman doesn't give us a neat, clean resolution to the story, but what he does give us--a bitter taste of reality--seems so much more real than most novels. I also really enjoyed Tim O'Briens The Things They Carried, but 1968 was slightly more powerful for me. If you also like science fiction, you might enjoy some of the details in 1968--at one point Spider is reading Glory Road by Robert Heinlein, and at another point a soldier is reading The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. There's also a little bit of astronomy thrown in, if that's your thing. So personally, 1968 had a lot going for it in addition to its main motive. I think this is Haldeman's crowning acheivement, and I'd like to see it back in print. Also, I think Haldeman has at least one more good Vietnam novel in him.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1968 Nov. 28 1999
By Michael Allan Scott, Author of the Lance Underphal Mysteries - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
1968 is wonderfully written, brilliantly clear and brutally honest -- my favorite kind of book. Having lived (barely) through my own personal hell that year, I can attest to this novel's piercing insight. I was captivated by the concise portrayal of Spider's suffering at the hands of the military industrial complex and Beverly's dazed trip through the counter-culture of Peace & Love. 1968 is a historical novel whose history is far more accurate that the 'official' accounts pawned off on the public. This book deserves no less than #1 'Best Seller' status.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The most powerful book I have read in a long time. Sept. 26 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great novel, and harrowing journey inside the soul of 1968. If you were there then this is you, or someone you knew. If you weren't then prepare take a step back to a very strange time. Haldeman tells it straight on Vietnam. No Full Metal Jacket bull here, this is what we did. The writing is superb, and the story intense. This is the book I'm giving my kids when they are old enough, to help them understand what their old man thinks about.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
what a story Nov. 9 1998
By driley@cyberramp.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My father was in Vietnam, and he doesn't talk much about it. All my information on what the war was about/like has come from authors who were there, like Haldeman. As a matter of fact, the only reason I knew about this title is because I'm an avid fan of Haldeman's SF; therefore, I had to give this a try, and I'm glad I did. This book is quite depressing, maybe better or worse than others' experiences, but it gets the message across. The last chapter wraps the book up in an unexpectedly tight fashion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Acurate and depressing account of a turbulent year May 4 2003
By Christopher Dalton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Without a doubt, Joe Haldenman recaptures the historical and turbulent moments of a year that will always be remembered for its political and social issues. Not only is the story multi-dimesional and historically accurate, but the characters are also multi-dimensional. Ones that you will feel sympathy for in the end. If you enjoy studying, or reading about the turbulent '60's, then 1968 is the novel for you.


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