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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting experiment (look up Rodger W. Young) on the net.
As with any good sci-fi the story and descriptions of the latest gadget are important; however this is just the window dressing or vehicle to carry a message or concept to you with out sounding too preachy.

Basically this book is not fascist like the movie. It suggests that people should be responsible for their actions and have a stake in what they make...
Published on Oct. 2 2006 by bernie

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars STARSHIP TROOPERS
Less a slam-bang action-fest than a gutsy personal analysis of what makes for a realistic and attainable utopia, Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" fails to achieve great heights not because of the author's political agenda (the reason this book is continually labelled controversial), but simply due to poor pacing and a less than fully developed plot.
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Published on Aug. 22 2002 by K. Jump


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5.0 out of 5 stars Starship Paratroopers or Starship NAZIS? part 1, July 7 2001
By 
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers written in the 1959 is an important book EVERY U.S. military man should read and should be on the required reading lists of all the services. Its currently best-seller #7 of U.S. Army West Point Military Academy Cadets at Amazon books, so this is encouraging.
However, its really two books, Book 1 describes a Technotactically advanced Space Paratrooper force that thinks and uses egalitarean teamwork. When most people refer to "Starship Troopers" this is what they think of: Space Paratroopers jumping from space in capsules, re-entering the earth's atmosphere, then landing by parachute inside an armored, powered "superman" suit with devastating weapons, situational awareness, an ability to fly for short distances using leg jets. Basically the armored tank and the infantryman have merged into a "mechanized human". We follow one recruit, Johnny Rico from basic training to combat to OCS and some more combat against sub-terranian alien bugs, impervious to stand-off, even nuclear firepower. He and his team-mates help each other out as they fight to save mankind.
Heinlein in amazing anticipation of events predicts:
1. The desirability of masses of individual Paratroopers flooding an enemy system of defense
2. The inability of firepower even nuclear to subdue enemies gone to ground, and the need to have ground forces
3. U.S. and Russia teaming up to fight Red China (?)
4. All-Volunteer Force not having enough things to do
5. Men wearing ear rings as socially acceptable
6. Women as combat pilots
7. Need for Situational Awareness means to be mind and hands-free; page 102;
"And that is the beauty of a powered suit: you don't have to think about it. You don't have to drive it, fly it, conn it, operate it; you just wear it and it takes orders directly from your muscles and does for you what your muscles are trying to do. This leaves you with your whole mind free to handle your weapons and notice what is going on around you...which is supremely important to an infantryman who wants to die in bed. If you load a mud foot down with a lot of gadgets that he has to watch, somebody a lot more simply equipped--say with a stone ax---will sneak up and bash his head in while he is trying to read a vernier"
"Starship Troopers" is the unspoken inspiration behind the U.S. Army's effort to digitalize the individual fighting Soldier called "21st Century Land Warrior or "21st CLAW". Heinlein if alive today would be pleased. But overall he may be alarmed that his vision is being used to complicate the fighting processes instead of simplifying them. His warning above should be heeded.
He also brilliantly foretells and describes a dazzling array of technologies that we actually have today from beacons to Soldier global positioning systems to night sights. He paints a picture of a "Super Infantry". He clearly understands the need to "force an entry" by his Paratroopers (Starship Troopers) descending rapidly from space in enormous numbers with decoys and debris from their capsules creating a flood of blips on enemy radars too numerous for him to contend with. This anticipation of the essence of ballistic missile (the starship trooper in his capsule is a re-entry vehicle) defense was written by a man in the 1950s before we even had such things as satellites and sub-orbital ballistic missiles! The irony is that the very reasons Heinlein uses for describing how his "Starship Troopers" would be impossible to stop applies to the current National Missile Defense debate. We should in the interim develop a high-altitude mass tactical individual parachuting system with delayed opening chutes as Heinlein proposes to better avoid enemy air defenses in the 21st century. When/if space combat becomes a reality, the flood of individual re-entry capsules makes a lot more sense than packing the men into a landing spacecraft which provides a convenient target for the enemy to destroy.
This is the book we all love.*
Yet this is all BAIT.
Heinlein starts the book off with the attention-getting battle in the supertrooper gear to try to later on sell you on his POLITICAL AGENDA or what I call "book 2". He is saying that if you like the military "Mobile Infantry" (MI) force presented (essentially the self-reliant, U.S. Army Airborne Paratrooper in futuristic space gear), you need to change the way the U.S. government is run to the way Heinlein sees it should be. To have mechanized humans, you must have a mechanized SOCIETY. There is no "free lunch" as his school professor/mentor retired MI LTC DuBois would likely tell Rico. Heinlein flat out proposes that the U.S. Constitution and its ideas of each human being having intrinsic citizenship rights in his starship future will be eliminated. Clearly, this is a subversive book that is a direct cultural attack on the Constitution of the U.S. which Heinlein as a former U.S. Navy officer was sworn once to uphold.
*The recent Hollywood film is a disgrace that failed to depict Heinlein's vision of space Paratroopers when we easily have the visual technology to do this and chose to instead mock the entire book with glib presentations of generations X/Y actors having sex and co-ed showers together then getting massacred by space bugs because they have no armored suits or tanks and only standard 21st Century 5.56mm assault rifles to shoot at the bugs. Maybe the Director, Paul Verhoeven hated the book's neo-fascism philosophy and decided to make his own trashy movie to trash it? Maybe someday someone will actually read the book and create a video game that depicts Paratroopers in powered space suits dropped from space?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Response to microtherion, May 10 2001
By 
Philip R. Riley "huskerphil66" (Corsicana TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
It figures that some Swiss guy would be so vociferous in his objection to the line of thought in a book like this. This is a nation that has always done its best to avoid having to fight for anything ( with the possible exception of its bankers keeping as much stolen Jewsih loot as they can and its valiant fight for privacy of banking laws so that the Swiss can increase its already swollen average national income) and even with its "brave" militia, I know of few instances when the Swiss have repelled a determined enemy attack. I feel that it is somewhat ironic that our Swiss missy would object to some of the themes that "she" mentions, but when I take into account that most of Europe only likes the US when they need to repell an invasion from the determined Hun, it would figure.
I have read this book too many time to count and have already reviewed it on this site. I still find the argument about the Nazi comparison to be completely off base. This is why:
1. The so called brutal treatment of the recruits is often mentioned. At this point there is a great deal of anxiety that we have "dumbed down" our training to the point that our troops may not be able to fight adequately in the next conflict. As a veteran myself of the Gulf War, the ROTC training that I went through could have been much tougher and I know now that more difficult training would have been helpful. Secondly, the MI seem to be nearly elite trops and the training methods for the elite are always more difficult. I am not advocating the beating of troops, but I do feel that if it were more demanding it can't hurt. What is prottayed in the book was reasonable to the men at bootcamp and they knew the risks of their behavior, so it was not excessive in the context of their organization.
2. The concept of earning citizenship status is mentioned. True, military service is only one of the areas mentioned. If you read the book carefully it is clear that the military wants to encourage other branches of the Federal Service to the young people who come to enlist. The argument that only the soldiers make the decisions is false. The character in the book is in the military so that is all that is explored, but it is clearly implied that there are other ways to gain citizenship. I might add that this might not be a bad idea for all of our young people to have to choose the military, peace corps, or some other service obligation to gain certain rights.
3. Our Swiss sissy also claims that this is not for young readers who are impressionalble. Let us asume that you are in complete opposition to the political premise of the book, how can reading about this hurt to make your point? First it is clearly a STORY and whatever the political views, it is a book that glorifies putting others first, teaches about duty and honor, shows men and women as equals and emphasizes the need for a life of education. If you like it there are things to take out, but it is still not a bad story. Again, you claim to fear a loss of freedom, then advocate restricting the reading of a book about what you disagree about. Didn't the Nazi's practice the banning and burning of books???? Perhaps the stolen Jewish fortunes in your banks will help ban more books.
In conclusion, this book was in the cargo pocket of my DCUs while in the gulf. Johnny faces many of the same challenges that I faced as a new officer and I found the book to be a comfort, an old friend so to speak, and it was also helpful to think that being confuseed and not having all the answers can be ok at times. A great book and a complete 5 star in my rankings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Ultimate cost for perfect value...", May 8 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
Starship troopers, as you may have noticed, is a love it or hate it book. There are hundreds of review here which either shower endless praise on it or decry it as a piece of fascist trash. But is it a good book?
The answer is yes. Sure, that's a subjective answer, but there's very good evidence that this book could be considered objectively "good." Look at all the negative reviews. Many contain several paragraphs (or one big paragraph if the person can't punctuate) about what the reader hates about the book. Many even say things like, "It might be a good book, if..." Some say it's written very well but they hate what Heinlein has to say; others say the converse. With critics like this, who needs praise?
Personally, I love the book. My second favorite Heinlein, besides The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and one of my favorites ever. I would say it should be read in schools, but I wouldn't want the little morons getting soured to Heinlein at such a young age (when I was a little moron I hated Huck Finn and Hamlet, until I read them on my own). I'd like to dispel some myths about ST, and I consider myself qualified to do so because of the sheer number of times I've read it.
First, the main theme of the book is neither about militarism or beating children. It goes something like this: a society (or civilization, or individual...) that is not ready, willing, and able to fight for its rights is in danger of losing them. I'll agree with that. There's lots of justification for this (such as the above quote in bold) and even if you don't agree with it all it makes for good reading. All this and a bug war, with the first ever debut of mobile armor suits.
The society in the book may or may not be facsist, depending on your definition of the word. An 11th grade history textbook (which is blatantly liberal and makes no apologies for it) defines fascism as "a system of government characterized by a rigid one-party dicatatorshipp, the forcible suppression of opposition, private enterprise under centralized government conrtrol (the book's full of oxymorons too), and belligerent nationalism, racism, militarism, etc." Well, I wouldn't call retired soldiers a political party, oppression is not suppressed forcefully and free speech is protected, private enterprise is--from what I could tell, private, there are no nations and thus no nationalism (world-ism? spieci-ism?), there are few differences between races in this unified future and thus no racism (althoug there are still many different religions, none of which seem to be discriminated against), and the society doesn't seem much more militaristic in a war than the US was during WW2.
But I'm rambling; I should let the book speak for itself. There are nearly 500 reviews here, most containing strong feelings about Starship Troopers. You're obviously missing something by not reading it. Click the buy button, for the everlasting glory of the infantry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer excellence., April 16 2001
By 
Carl C. Nelson (Thompson Station, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
Starship Troopers excels in several ways. First and foremost, it's a great action read. It's a thoughtful look at leadership, especially in the military. It's an insightful look at politics and command. It's a thought-provoking examination of society. And it's a rollicking boy-becomes-asskicker-becomes-leader, growing up the hard way tale.
We follow Juan Rico from the impetuosity of his youth (enlisting in Federal Service because the girl he liked was too, thus being cut off from the cushy job with his father's successful company), through a gruelling boot camp (where they make it as tough as possible to stay and incredibly easy to leave), smack into humanity's first interspecies war (where he and his fellow new recruits are liabilities not worth mention until they see their first combat and become brothers-in-arms), through the crushing burden of leadership (where those in command must take responsibility for absolutely everything that they and their men do).
Heinlein accurately portrays the esprit de corps of elite (volunteer) military units. One of the most insightful points of the book is that men fight because of their comrades-in-arms, not for politicians, citizens, or ideals. And despite all the high-tech toys the military may have, it's still the mudfoot putting himself in harm's way that decides a military action.
Before attacking Heinlein's politics, one should look at our own culture and ask if we truly have all the solutions. If we do not, do we have the intellectual honesty to actually read this book without arbitrarily dismissing Heinlein's ideas as not being compatible with our own?
Two excellent discussions that illustrate Heinlein's mastery of language and 'call a spade a spade' attitude come to mind. First is his discussion of the contradictory term 'juvenile delinquent.' He accurately points out that 'delinquent' means one who has failed in duty, but by very nature a juvenile is one not ready for duty. The second is his response to a 'violence never changes anything' argument: ask the Carthagenians and city fathers of Hiroshima if violence changed anything. An author who can make such clear, concise points of his beliefs is worth reading, whatever one's stance. Reflection upon a contrary opinion is never a wasted exercise.
Agree or disagree with the specifics, the underlying, central foundation of Heinlein's politics is irrefutable: responsibility and authority are inexorably linked, and the severance of that link will never benefit society.
Starship Troopers is very quotable; Heinlein's asides, much like History & Moral Philosophy teacher Jean Dubois' lessons, are a time bomb inside our heads. Some gems are visible immediately ('it is better to do something constructive at once than thing of the perfect thing to do hours later,' 'happiness consists chiefly in getting enough sleep': paraphrasing is mine) and some only through repeated readings ('once a basic truth has been stated it is never necessary to reformulate it; it retains its truth through translation and repetition': once again, my paraphrasing).
I can never do more in a simple review than hint at what lies within Starship Troopers. There are too many levels to explore in one reading, much less this short review.
Starship Troopers, ultimately, meets the acid test of the classics of science fiction: take out the sci fi, and it's still a great read. Add the sci fi, and it makes a great read phenomenal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Allegory of WWII in the Pacific, April 14 2001
By 
George R Dekle "Bob Dekle" (Lake City, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
Heinlein does a lot of moralizing and philosophizing in this book. He talks about the duties of citizenship and the decay of Western civilization. His observations relating to use of force, child rearing, and social responsibility are not "politically correct" in this modern day and age. His views on the equality of women weren't "politically correct" when he wrote.
Back in the late 50's and early 60's I read and re-read this book until I completely wore out two copies. I often skipped over the philosophical sections to get to the "good stuff"--the action. I didn't appreciated the philosophy, but I did love the action. I also didn't realize that the book was an allegory for WWII. Heinlein served in the Navy during WWII, and this might account for the decidedly Pacific flavor of the book.
The Bugs are the Japanese. They fight every bit as tenaciously as the Japanese did, and in the end they are as thoroughly defeated. The bombing of Buenos Aires is, of course, Pearl Harbor. The Mobile Infantry is the Marine Corps. The world where they take R&R is Hawaii. The capture of the Brain Bug might correspond to the cracking of the Japanese code and the ambush of Yammamoto. Other parallels can be drawn, but you can push the analogy too far. The numerous landings correspond to the amphibious assaults of the island hopping campaign which was to culminate in the final amphibious assault on the Japanese homeland. That last assault was made unnecessary by Hiroshima. Heinlein ends his book with a thinly veiled criticism of Hiroshima. Toward the end of the war, the Earthly forces had perfected the "Nova bomb", which could simply destroy an entire planet. Although Earth had the technology to simply destroy the Bugs' home world, they decided to spend the lives necessary to capture the world by assault.
Although I was too bone-headed to appreciate the Pacific War/Bug War parallels as a child, I did pick up on Heinlein's criticism of Hiroshima, and parrotted it to my father. Dad was a Marine during WWII and had been slated to participate in that last assault. Needless to say, Dad had an entirely different take on the bombing. After reading "Storm Landings", by John H. Alexander, I tend to agree with Dad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Starship Troopers-an ecxellent book, April 3 2001
By 
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein, is a unique masterpiece of science fiction, which tells us a simple story of a soldier, and yet takes it to new heights. The book was met well by readers worldwide. Sony made a hit movie (named similarly) based on it and there even was a computer game. However, despite this success, the book had created a controversial conflict. While millions of fans hailed the book, almost every book critic worldwide criticized the book. However, even constant critic attacks did not prevent Starship Troopers from becoming a bestseller in United States and winning the Hugo Awards in 1960.
Starship Troopers tells a story of a soldier thrown into an epic battle which will decide the fate of human race. It is XXII century. Earth is now called Terra. Humans have already colonized other solar systems in the Galaxy. However, in the depth of space they meet a deadly new enemy. Arachnoids are intelligent insects, far larger than usual ones, and are possessed with a single idea: to destroy the human race. Heinlein's hero is Juan Rico, son of a rich businessman, who wants to serve in the Army in order to gain the right to vote. He gets into infantry and experiences shock and harshness of becoming a soldier. After Rico finishes his training he begins to fight against the Bugs and their plans to destroy humanity.
Starship Troopers audience is targeted at people who like science fiction. The book contains all the elements which score well with science fiction fans. There are aliens, planets, starships and adventures.. Heinlein's world of the future is vivid and realistic but always stays as a background to the main story, and that makes the book easy to read, as it always stands on its course. Furthermore, Heinlein succeeds in reinventing certain science fiction cliques. He brilliantly chooses insects as the alien race which humans are fighting against. Insects, because of their loathsome appearance, are usually hated or treated with disgust by humans. Thus, reader hates the aliens, too, making the story much more believable. Also, such aliens are much more believable and realistic to today's reader, than some six legged creature with claws and an indiscernible features.
Heinlein is ingenious in using various literary techniques to mesmerize the reader and make reading Starship Troopers a highly memorable experience. First, he uses first person narrative throughout the book. Not only this brings reader closer to the story, but it also emotionally connects the reader with the hero. Heinlein also uses chronological organization, and one reads the book and goes along the life of the hero. In addition, each chapter reveals more and more about the future world, and that makes reading much more interesting. The book's language is also simple and easy to read and comprehend Furthermore, book contains lots of dialogue, and one feels how the characters interact. Overall, throughout the book, Heinlein succeeds in creating a unique atmosphere, through which one is emotionally connected to the story and to its characters.
To conclude, if you are a science fiction fan, Starship Troopers is an excellent book, definitely worth reading and rereading. If you do not like science fiction, you might want to read something else. However, if you are not a science fiction fan, but are interested in it, this would be a good book to start your journey into the exciting world of science fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not like the movie at all, a great book, March 15 2001
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
I saw the movie and decided that the book was worth reading. It was a pleasant surprise when I learned that it had won the Hugo Award (1960) and had been published in the 50's. So going into this I knew that Starship Troopers was a time-tested novel from the Golden Age of science fiction.
Expecting a story similar in plot to the movie, I was again pleasantly surprised to find that this was a socio-political writing. Complete with power-suits, alien bugs (the bad guys), military space-training and political theory, this novel had everything but romance. I started this novel on a Sunday and called in sick on Monday so that I could finish reading it.
After I had read it, upon reading the reviews, I noticed there were many people offended by the political theories presented in the book. I remember one person warning the potential reader "not to take the politics too far" or "not to take this book too seriously." That's because this book makes you think. It's about the value of citizenship in a democratic government based on a franchise derived from the military. Some even contend that the book parallels Nazi political thought; but this is most likely because it was written so close to the end of WWII.
Whether or not you agree is completely up to you.
So be careful, please. This book will not only entertain you, but make you THINK as well. There aren't many sci-fi books that do that. So in that regard, I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Old but still good for kids to read, Jan. 2 2001
By 
Tom Munro "tomfrombrunswick" (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
I remember reading this book when I was very young. It was thought to be so right wing that another book called the "Forever War" was written to refute its ideas.
Robert Heinlen was a soldier who served in the Pacific in the second world war. The combat scenes in Star Ship Troopers are similar to some battles in the pacific. The first one is set on a tropical planet with lush vegetation. The last battle is similar to Iwo Jima. The book conveys the sense of urgency and perhaps fear that must have been felt by servicemen of the United States faced by a fanatical and up to late 1942 successful enemy.
The enemy in the book are a species of insects who unlike the film use modern technology. The war is one in which mankind and the insect enemy fight a war of extermination. This again replicates the fighting in the pacific with its brutality and the take no prisoners approach of the Japanese and Americans.
About two thirds of the book deals with the training of the main character and a description of a futuristic military society. In that society only war veterans can participate in the political process. The book also celebrates what is clearly the American basic training used for infantry as a character building exercise and as vital in the war effort. It was the celebration of these "military virtues" and the futuristic political system which led to it being criticised as fascist. Its ironic in a way as Nazi Germany for instance used training regimes for its armed forces that encouraged more individual initiative and for more devolved responsibility. The training in this book is more what Frederick the Great would have used for his Grenadiers.
It was a strange experience to re-read the book after 20 or so years. The strong points in the book is the brooding atmosphere through it of a society in danger. Of the need to create an army and of a society just winning in a desperate struggle to keep the enemy at bay. It conveys what it must have been like to live in Britain during the Blitz or perhaps more accurate in the Soviet Union in 1942. The action scenes are well done but they only amount to a small part of the book.
The political issues seem to have passed away somewhat now. It seems to be a book of its time rather than having any real message for how things should be. Or at least a message that really speaks to anyone. I remember as a very young person reading this book in a couple of days. That is surely what Science Fiction Book are about anyway so four stars.
.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Written Treatise on Heinlein's Moral Philosophy, Dec 30 2000
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
My party line on this book is that it has the plot complexity of a porn novel. Rather than sex -- which is included in many of Heinlein's other works -- Starship Troopers is filled with philosophy. Lovers of the movie, beware: this is no simplistic sci-fi novel. Though it contains adventure, like many Heinlein novels Starship Troopers would be better suited to a course in philosophy than a course in 20th century science-fiction.
Starship Troopers follows the career of Johnny Rico, a young volunteer with the space-age Mobile Infantry. Johnny moves from being unsure about his service commitment -- he signs up for two years to gain citizenship (the right to vote) -- to choosing soldiering as his career path. The transformation is explained thorugh many pages of easy-to-understand flashbacks to Johnny's high school days and his instructor in "moral philosophy." Heinlein's philosophy is also propagated through the use of Johnny's inner monolouge and conversations he has with characters throughout the book. The glimpses we are given of Johnny's world show us Heinlein's view of a perfectly organized and morally just society, a society where only military veterans have the right to vote. That society appears to be Heinlein's answer to the social and moral degredation he predicts in many of his other novels --- such as "I Will Fear No Evil." The plot serves as a device to guide the reader through that world.
The philosophy, however, is marvelously well presented. It is well woven into the fabric of a rather insignificant plot. Even if you don't agree with Heinlein -- and I doubt many will -- the questions he raises and suggestions he makes are ample food for thought. For all its philosophy, Heinlein is still a good writer. Starship Troopers is an easy and relatively enjoyable read, commendable primarily for its moral and ethical implications. This fits into the body of Heinlein's works where the plot most certainly comes second.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of RAH's best., Dec 21 2000
By 
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Paperback)
Heinlein wrote three books with contrasting political systems. In Beyond This Horizon, he depicted a futuristic socialist utopia, where the most pressing social issue is boredom. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein built a rugged techno-libertarian experiment on the moon, and set it against the authoritarian Earth in a war for independence. None of these was greeted with the derision and scorn that followed the filming of his classic Starship Troopers.
Heinlein painted the third form of government, democracy, using Troopers as a canvas. He asked the simple question, "what would happen in a democratic society if suffrage were limited to those who served their country?" With this simple start, he fleshed out an engaging and heroic vista, where men and women fight for the sake of preserving humanity's future.
Troopers has been criticized as a tribute to Fascism, which is true of the movie. Luckily, the movie bears no relation to book. Troopers was and is an experiment with democracy, the author hoping to create a world in which those who vote also were those who cared most about its future. Read it for yourself.
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Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (Paperback - May 15 1987)
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