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annaerishkigal

Anna Erishkigal's blog

"I put my heroes through hell..."

Disturbing look at what happens when death in war becomes meaningless

The Eternity Brigade - Stephen Goldin

I originally read this book back when I was in high school, not so long after the Vietnam war that people still questioned why wars were even being fought. Even back then this story stuck with me, and was my first real introduction to the sub-genre of military science fiction. What happens when killing doesn't matter, death doesn't matter, all that matters is to complete the mission, with no understanding of WHY you are fighting the war or killing the guy in the blue armband, only to be put to sleep when it's all said and done and woken up when the next war rolls around to kill again.

Now, upon re-reading the updated edition in 2014, it strikes me how well this book brings you into the psyche of a 'career soldier' caught in this hellish merry-go-round as he is resurrected to fight in wars again and again. It was disturbing when I read this story back in the early 1980's, and it's even MORE disturbing now as we are not yet extricated from Afghanistan (which at least STARTED with a purpose) and Iraq (which is like ... WTF???) and already there are hawkish clamorings to 'help' Ukraine or 'help' Syria. War is dehumanizing, and while some wars can't be avoided, this book highlights that soldiers are not some fungible commodity to be shuffled form war to war.

Great read! 5-stars.