I've been enjoying Haldeman's new work so much that I forgot how focused and powerful his older writing was. While not as polished as the writer he is today, the emotional impact of this book is simply unequaled. It took me back to the first time I read Herbert's Dune, Simmons' Hyperion, Tepper's Grass, etc.
The two bookends of War Stories (novels in their own right), War Year and 1968, are the kinds of books you can't put down, but absolutely need to for sanity's sake. Both are semi-autobiographic in that they are both stories of Viet Nam combat engineer (although they are not Haldeman's specific story). It is a good thing these are separated by several short stories and poems as they are simply too intense to read back-to-back. Even separately, they leave the reader shaken... for all the right reasons.
The middle portion of short stories and poems contain old favorites, sharp interludes, intense horror, fun, sadness... your basic Haldeman buffet.
Before each section, Haldeman gives personal insight into the situations surrounding the writing. All-in-all, a must have for Haldeman fans and readers of war fiction from someone who's been there and lived through it. I think I speak for Haldeman when I say even when you live through it, a piece of you is left behind. This collection helps you remember and cherish those forgotten pieces.