I found this softcover at the ongoing book sale at the Parker Memorial Library in Dracut, MA, and nabbed it for another release copy.
I loved the classic 1962 film with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury. This edition has the movie-tie-in cover for the 2004 remake directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Denzel Washington; I haven't seen that one yet so I can't compare them.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the '62 film was a very accurate and nearly complete adaptation of the novel - surprised not only because it's so rare for a film adaptation to include nearly all of the incidents and characters from a book but it's especially so in a book as plot-intensive as this one.
The story centers on Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw, whose personality has never been an easy one to get along with, and who suffers from a controlling mother and hates his politically-ambitious step-father. He was a hero in the war, earning a Congressional Medal of Honor - but things aren't what they seem... When some of his surviving platoon-mates start having horrible dreams, one of them starts digging into their wartime activities, and turns up some very unsettling information.
The book is more explicit about several of the darker episodes in the pasts of all the main characters, including Raymond's mother. And it includes all of the traumatic and often heart-breaking things that the characters have to go through. An intricate plot, unusual characters in a very difficult situation, plenty of suspense - a very good story indeed.
One thing I found a bit distracting in the author's style - he loves his thesaurus! I have a pretty good vocabulary and am seldom at a loss as to what a word means, but in this book I kept coming across terms I didn't recognize. [I posted some of them here in the "Interesting words" thread of the Book Talk forum.] I'm pleased to learn new words - but when so many of them baffle me I have to wonder how the book would strike people who aren't as vocabulary-crazy as I am...
In any case, I do recommend the book and the original film!
[The book has its own TV Tropes page, which includes elements from the film adaptations as well as from the book. Warning: while most of the spoilers on the page are masked, at least one key element is openly mentioned several times. Most people who've heard of the book or films will already know this, but if you're not familiar with the story, save this page until after you've read the book or seen the film!]