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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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1 of 1 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 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 (Mass Market 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 (Mass Market 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 (Mass Market 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
By 
D. Peters "rhyme_and_reason" (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market 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 (Mass Market 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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3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial, but not a treatise for fascism, Dec 14 2000
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
Contrary to much of the criticism of this novel, including some of the reviews on this page, Heinlein, more of a libertarian than anything, was not espousing some kind of fascist utopia (which is what tends to come out of the atrocious movie based on this novel). The author explicitly notes at several points in the novel that his future society is not run by the military but by those who have served in the military. Active soldiers, like "civilians," are not allowed to vote or partake in politics either. However, as grimly realistic as Heinlein was trying to be, his vision of a future society run by veterans with a sense of public duty is nonetheless utopian. There is no guarantee that military or other public service, or even selfless military activity during a war, will nurture the necessary sense of public duty to create good citizens - which seems to be implied in this novel. Indeed, even though Heinlein's future society was supposed to stand as a counterpoint not only the imperfect liberal democracies of the West but also to the communist bloc (an issue quite relevant at the time of first publication, 1959), some of the aspects of his idealized societies were already then apparent in obstensibly socialist countries like the USSR and especially the former Yugoslavia: war veterans were untouchable social and political icons. They were the de facto leaders of their countries, not the "party vanguard," "proletariat" or anything else. I'm not sure if Heinlein had considered this aspect, but at one point in the book he is forced to admit, through one of his characters, that the reason his future society is the "best" is simply because it works. Nonetheless, Heinlein presents his provocative arguments well, and they are intriguing, so readers who don't necessarily share his views have something intelligent to disagree with. Also interesting is that many of Heinlein's criticisms of 20th century society (and there is no doubt that America bears the brunt of his ire) are quite valid, much more so today then when this book was first written. Other than these political aspects, though, Starship Troopers" is a bit flat and simplistic, even if it is easy to read -- it has the advantage of coming from Heinlein's finest writing period (mid-1950s to mid-1960s) when he skillfully combined his ideas with an engaging story-telling style.
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3.0 out of 5 stars No <INSERT HERE> without representation, Dec 10 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Hardcover)
First off: ripping yarn, interesting thinking, and a great skiffy exposure to [what I feel should be] an alien way of thinking.
In the face of what looks like (here) near-universal approval of the book's "service for citizenship" model, remember the basis of our current system of government: the right to alter the government belongs to all those who will be <b>subject</b> to it. If citizenship and the franchise were simply a matter of public honour and the right to make decisions affecting only a private club of a few members, this would be acceptable; as things are, decisions made by the government end up affecting where everyone's world, and some of our money, go.
In addition, any select group of people (ex-service members, college professors, T.V. preachers) will have interests that in some way diverge from those of people in general. Associating more with each other, the information which will be acceptable to the group will be preferentially provided, until eventually the feedback loop known as "dealing with reality" will be broken...perhaps this is what happened before the book began, since you will notice that Earth is subjected to the Bug sneak-attack even though this wonderful system has been in place for centuries.
In addition, I've two bones to pick with the often-mentioned minor aspects of the book: 1.) Non-military service is acceptable for gaining the franchise: this is very easy to miss, and not well explained...who gets to decide what counts as acceptable non-military service? If it's military men and women (see below), something makes me think that defence contractors might count, but maybe not public gardeners.... 2.) I appreciated and enjoyed that Heinlein was well ahead of his time (and of John Campbell) in having strong female and non-Anglo characters...however, one wonders how "diverse" this is when they sound EXACTLY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
...this last would grow to be a big problem in R.A.H.'s later books, of whose seduction scenes one must remember Svengali's self-disgusted retort after hypnotising Trilby into loving him: "It is only Svengali, talking to himself."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Devastatingly Lucid Vision of the Future, Dec 4 2000
By 
Godwin Olivier "Netizen" (New York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
It has been said that Heinlein visualizes our future and then we live in it. Starship Troopers remains remarkably unscathed in that respect even four decades later.
A previous reviewer said that he found this book extremely dull. He was looking for the type of action shown in the 1997 movie. Hey, the action is not bad, but that was not why I couldn't put this book down. Now I've read it twice. It is plain to me that this book is not about action. There is a little at the beginning and the end, but the sublime notions behind this mini-masterpiece lie in young Juanito's bewildering experiences in his History and Moral Philosophy classes. When it dawns on you that their class system forfeits the lives of some for the sake of the common good, that alone ought to be reason to read on. Because there are always more answers to the mystery on the tip of Juanito's tongue. His casual, articulate descriptions of history allude to something more.. the reader's appetite is always being whetted with the foreshadowing of more answers. How has this society created such a sociogovernmental monster? How does it work? Why corporal punishment? Why send men to die. Why really send men to die? But why really really? Does Johnny even know?
A large portion of the story deals with life as a cadet, under extremely harsh living conditions. The military atmosphere is highly realistic, especially when it comes to relating to sergeants. All of the military-related chatter sounds highly credible to me, a civilian -- partly because Heinlein drew on his experiences serving in the US Navy.
I can't say this book's philosophy formulates a logical whole, but it fills most of the gaps, leaving the reader to contemplate a very large social/political system. Hey, democracy doesn't make a logical whole either, so I'm not complaining.
This book might be more offensive to liberals, as it implies that corporal punishment is great for establishing and maintaining social order -- making use of the perfectly evolved survival tool, "pain". Furthermore it glorifies military life, discipline, and unity, and pays no great amount of attention to individualism. If you think this might bother you, read this book anyway. It's not long, it's not expensive, and you need a reality check anyway.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No one today would have the cojones to write this book, Nov. 2 2000
This review is from: Starship Troopers (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is barely similar to the movie of the same name. This is Heinlein's examination of a future Earth society in which full citizenship (voting rights) must be earned through government (not just military) service.
As someone who's been through Marine Corps Recruit Training on Parris Island, this book's harsh look at boot camp in the Corps of the future shocked even me. The action sequences are well done, but not at the heart of this book.
At its core, "Starship Troopers" is a political manifesto. Those who have described it as "pulp fiction" fear what it has to say; Society is better off when those who have sacrificed for it (mostly, but not entirely, military veterans) make the decisions. This is especially important to current American society, since more than half of our current elected "leaders" on the federal level are lawyers who haven't served in the military, and only a small fraction more have served in any other captacity (Peace Corps, police departments, etc.) This does not bode well for our nation.
So anything that challenges the status quo as fiercely as Heinlein's book does (never mind that it was written in the '50s, it's MORE applicable now than it was then,) must be shot down by those in power.
If you like to think, and are interested in political philosophy, buy this book now. You don't have to agree with Heinlein's premise (I don't think even he agreed entirely,) but you must be willing to open your mind to new ideas. If you are a veteran, this book is a must buy. It makes you ask yourself some tough questions about the military's relationship to society and government.
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Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 11 2002)
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