Regardless of what other reviewers have written, I believe this book to be a haunting work of art. Bradbury manages, through dozens of short vignettes, to tell the story of how mankind came to inhabit the Martian landscape. The idea that Bradbury imparted his own social agenda on this book is claptrap: He wrote with the beauty and elegance that is exclusive to him, and wove together a story from many different threads. He tells of the first voyages to Mars - and their subsequent failures - to the extinction of the Martian people.
While the book's premise - and even summary - comes across as nothing more than formulaic science fiction, Bradbury manages to stretch it to much more than that. This book is evenly paced and well-written. It is imperative that one recognises that this book is meant to transcend the circumstance at hand: Bradbury arguably wrote this book to represent the tie that mankind to Earth, rather than to just express the ventures of humanity to the stars.
Contrary to what many reviewers seem to have said, I don't see this book as being misanthropic or critical of humanity. Rather, it seems that Bradbury portrays humanity positively: He shows that mankind is always striving for something more, to go farther, to be better, faster, stronger, and more attune to their surroundings. And, he also shows how no matter things may change for mankind, we have a primative, yearning nature to return to the place that bore us: The Earth.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite books of all-time. I still find it to be crafted in a way which rings true of the Golden age of science fiction: It doesn't get bogged down in misanthropy or cynicism. Rather, it finds the silver lining - a sort of resounding feeling of hope eminates from this book. Wholeheartedly, I applaud not only the story, but Bradbury's magnificant ability to tell a story, an ability which seems to have been lost in most contemporary writing.