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HARDCOVER, NOT A BOOK CLUB EDITION , SCIENCE FICTION

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
5,722 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Arguably the most profound book I''ve ever read...
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2017
I first read this book years ago as a child, and in many ways it shaped my entire world view; it quite literally changed my life. I recently retired after 27 years of Naval service, and as silly as it may seem to some, this book was the foundation of my success; in... See more
I first read this book years ago as a child, and in many ways it shaped my entire world view; it quite literally changed my life.
I recently retired after 27 years of Naval service, and as silly as it may seem to some, this book was the foundation of my success; in military service, in the lives of countless young Sailors, and in my new role as a civilian.
It shaped the character of who I was as a leader of men and women at war.
Heinlein may have authored "better" books (according to the critics) but having read virtually all of them, none of the others ever quite so captured the essence of what it means to be both in military service and what those of us fortunate enough to have served all know in our hearts: the true value and moral responsibility of citizenship.
199 people found this helpful
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Erik S Rurikson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
VASTLY BETTER than the movie you saw!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2018
Best WAR story ever written, past, present or future. It is NOT what you saw in the movie, it is SOOOOO much better!!! Heinlein lays out his vision for inter-galactic warfare, but it is really a book about how a boy becomes a man and a person becomes a worthy citizen.... See more
Best WAR story ever written, past, present or future. It is NOT what you saw in the movie, it is SOOOOO much better!!! Heinlein lays out his vision for inter-galactic warfare, but it is really a book about how a boy becomes a man and a person becomes a worthy citizen. Accused by the Hippies of its era for being "Too Fascist" this libertarian fantasy portrays a future where society really is a liberal-globalist paradise run on a capitalist economy, but with the right to vote limited to those who volunteer for military service. It is a future society with total freedom and total responsibility. All wars are in outer space where human colonies run into hostile societies, especially the "Bugs." We get to follow Johnny Rico, a very typical recent high school graduate, as he goes through basic training and enters combat in a wild tech-warrior mech-suit (first imagined in this book) as a member of the Mobile Infantry. if you like HALO, this is where the game world and tech came from. But, it is really a story about a new a better society and how to find meaning for your life through service to humanity. The best scenes are short, but all take place in a classroom, where "Moral Ethics and History" are taught by a veteran with a missing arm. So, ignore the movie, ignore the controversy; just buy this space adventure and ponder why we don''t live in Heinlein''s perfect society . . . . yet!!

"Do you apes want to live forever!!"
107 people found this helpful
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EIA!
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Futuristic Warefare Classic - A must read for the military professional
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2017
This is a classic SF futuristic warfare novel that was (may be still) on the reading list at the USAF Command and Staff College where it first got my attention. Written in or around 1959, Heinlein''s views on duty, honor, selfless service, dignity, combat unit cohesiveness,... See more
This is a classic SF futuristic warfare novel that was (may be still) on the reading list at the USAF Command and Staff College where it first got my attention. Written in or around 1959, Heinlein''s views on duty, honor, selfless service, dignity, combat unit cohesiveness, future infantry tactics and weaponry, society, women in combat, politics, and even parenting are magnificently woven into a fast read novel written at the high school level (at least the 1959 high school level). A must read for any junior officer or NCO. Great for a military professional development discussion or class. Heinlein was a prolific SF writer. And, I have read a number of his books. But, Starship Troopers is by far the best. If you saw the movie.... I provide you my regrets, although it had a number of budding stars. About the only thing the novel and the movie share besides title is that the protagonist is named Johnnie and the antagonists are bugs.
114 people found this helpful
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Squall Line
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Can''t believe I waited so long to read this. Worth the read. A true classic and source of influence in today''s Sci-Fi
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2017
Can''t believe I waited this long to read it. I have been a Sci-Fi fan for many years. My die-hard friends always recommended "Starship Troopers" and the Forever War as two classics that all Sci-Fi fans have to have read.Well.... I saw the abysmal movie years ago so... See more
Can''t believe I waited this long to read it. I have been a Sci-Fi fan for many years. My die-hard friends always recommended "Starship Troopers" and the Forever War as two classics that all Sci-Fi fans have to have read.Well.... I saw the abysmal movie years ago so was not interested. What a dolt. Robert Heinlein''s book is, I now agree, a must read classic for all Sci-Fi fans. I can now see the influence he had with current writers of the genre. Between him and Asimov their influence is seen everywhere. Really glad I finally read it. Not as much action as I had hoped for but the other areas where he explores human nature, government and society and an individuals role in all of that was enjoyable and well worth the read. You have to answer those same questions for yourself as you read Rico''s experiences and journey from late teen into adulthood.
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LFoD-NH
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gripping and Thoughtful
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2019
Starship Troopers is an amazing novel and almost nothing like that abortion of a movie by Verhoeven, who thought Heinlein a Neo-Fascist. That’s his depiction in the movie, but it doesn’t resemble the novel except very superficially. Frankly, it’s a scandal that a man was... See more
Starship Troopers is an amazing novel and almost nothing like that abortion of a movie by Verhoeven, who thought Heinlein a Neo-Fascist. That’s his depiction in the movie, but it doesn’t resemble the novel except very superficially. Frankly, it’s a scandal that a man was given the job of directing the adaptation to intentionally smear the novel, its ideas, and the man, himself. But, on to the novel...

It’s vintage Heinlein—imaginative, but with a tangible flavor of realism and an accurate anthropology. The characters are well-developed and the action satisfying. One of the unique things about Heinlein is his strong sense of the moral and an interesting aspect of this novel, in particular, is the political moral philosophy that underpins it—the notion that the only people that should have political power (the voter franchise) are those that have demonstrated the moral commitment of sacrifice for society—indeed, the human race. That is, those unwilling to put society above their own interests are unfit to wield political power, which amounts to the authority to wield force and violence. Philosophers and theologians have observed similar things. For example, Martin Luther’s concept of the Left-Hand Kingdom, asserts similar concepts—the State wields the sword for the benefit of society (and, for Luther, The Church) to create order and protect people from chaos and threats. Heinlein has his own twist on these ideas. They’re intriguing—and, convincing.

It’s also my understanding that this is the first Sci-Fi novel to realistically depict military life. I can’t say for sure, because I have an insufficient understanding of the Sci-Fi cannon and I’ve never served in the military. Heinlein did know military life, as he graduated from the US Naval Academy and served 5 years as a naval officer before being retired because of an illness—tuberculosis, I believe. All I can say is that it is believable. It doesn’t just focus on the actions and action, but the inner life, attitudes, and thought patterns of the military man (and woman). Needless to say, the movie completely misses the mark on this point also.

I first read this novel decades ago and thought it terrific then—well, no surprise there, since it won the Hugo Award before the award was infested by political correctness. I thought it worth a re-read, especially in today’s political climate—the ideas here won’t be popular with people who think that government (really, other people) owes them free stuff. Even after decades, there were certain scenes that had stuck in my mind all that time. If you believe that the mark of a successful novel is its ability to stick in your mind, then this novel delivers in spades. Still, after reading it again I was surprised by how many substantive things I had forgotten, which is a testament to its depth.

Originally marketed as one of Heinlein’s juvenile novels, it really doesn’t fit well in that genre. It’s shorter than many of his novels, but not as short as the juveniles such as “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” (my favorite Heinlein novel of that genre). This is a serious book that explores serious ideas, so adults will find it satisfying. Nevertheless, I do recommend it for young adults. We’d do well to make it a regular part of the literature cannon taught in late middle school and high school, as it forces one to think about the relationship between responsibilities and rights, as well as economic concepts such as “value” and markets. If people are to be voting citizens, then they should be familiar with the ideas in this novel, even if they ultimately disagree with them. You can’t have a useful opinion on the concepts, though, if you don’t know what they are. Thinking about ideas is never a waste.
18 people found this helpful
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John Small
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book about ethics and politics
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2018
Citizenship based on merit, not just because you are alive. Citizenship means the assumption of responsibility, greater than the non citizen. Citizens are self starters and self directed. This is somewhat obscure as the story focuses on the soldier who follows orders, but... See more
Citizenship based on merit, not just because you are alive. Citizenship means the assumption of responsibility, greater than the non citizen. Citizens are self starters and self directed. This is somewhat obscure as the story focuses on the soldier who follows orders, but it is a society that decides what needs to be done and the citizen volunteers to reach that goal. There is a movie which is in it''s own way more interesting, but largely misses out on the political questions, like they are entirely different stories, as I am not interested in politics I was not expecting the point of view of the book. I like the politics of volunteering to be a citizen, citizenship is something chosen, and that choice is not to get a welfare check. Welfare is just money but marriage is a complex of traditions and customs that shapes your life. Citizenship is a choice to shape your life. I would have liked to see this idea for a baker or plumber. I like science fiction because it explores ideas, this is not the usual battle book, but the working out of a unique conception of the partnership of public/personal. The concept of equality is thrown in the trashcan, and the author tries to put something different in it''s place.
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David S. Molitz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Excellent Space Opera and an Excellent Political Counter-state,emt
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2019
Star Ship Troopers was written in 1959 well into the cold war world. I was a high school junior when I read it and was enamored by the war story in it. Several years later, during an especially unpleasant House Unamerican Activities, the science fiction community railed... See more
Star Ship Troopers was written in 1959 well into the cold war world. I was a high school junior when I read it and was enamored by the war story in it. Several years later, during an especially unpleasant House Unamerican Activities, the science fiction community railed against the content of the book. The book''s theory was that a fascist state would function better when humanity was endangered by foreign powers than perhaps some other form of polity. The author took significant criticism and, it is even said that subsequent writers wrote stories to show the opposite was true. The work is well thought out, well written and a fascinating story for either those interested ;in Space Opera or those interested in "what if" politics. I''ve learned that it is on the list of books for the major military academies. A tribute to a wonderful, thoughtful author and a necessity reading for most everyone interested in the history of the time in which it was written.
10 people found this helpful
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Kilian85710
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five stars
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
What can I say about a classic? I first read this book when I was in high school, and it shaped my world view. Far more than a mere science fiction book, it explores the moral question of what it means to be a citizen. Along with opening the ideas of military life,... See more
What can I say about a classic? I first read this book when I was in high school, and it shaped my world view. Far more than a mere science fiction book, it explores the moral question of what it means to be a citizen. Along with opening the ideas of military life, politics, and the right and wrong of using deadly force, it presents questions of life and death.

Intriguingly enough in an era of white-bread uniformity, Heinlein chooses a young Filipino boy to embody the virtues of citizenship.

One of the best books I have ever read, it never loses its appeal.
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Top reviews from other countries

Barry J. Whittingham
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The most misrepresented book on political philosophy ever written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 17, 2017
The Amazon review perpetuates the lie of citizenship, and therefore the right to vote and hold public office, is dependent on military service. On reading the book, unlike Paul Verhoeven before he made the film, you will find that military service is but one way to attain...See more
The Amazon review perpetuates the lie of citizenship, and therefore the right to vote and hold public office, is dependent on military service. On reading the book, unlike Paul Verhoeven before he made the film, you will find that military service is but one way to attain citizenship. The term used - veterans - applies to all those who have completed some term of public service. The State is obliged to find you some form of service to attain that. So the truth is: Teachers can be citizens. Emergency services can be citizens. Even road sweeping and medical drugs testing can be routes to citizenship. There is no discrimination by way of race, religion, gender or physical ability. If you want to become a citizen, the State will find some role for you to play. Military service is only one way, albeit usually the fastest. The requirement is a single tour on the frontlines. If you survive, and manage to retire, you can vote. Lawyers, businessmen and entertainers cannot. They have no power to set tax laws and exemptions to benefit themselves. Capitalism exists. You can become rich and famous if you so choose. But unless you put yourself at the service of the State, you will have less power than any voter. And those are the people screaming ''Fascist!'' And now the second point. Active military personnel are specifically forbidden from voting or standing for office. Think about what that means. It means that as long as you are a soldier, you cannot be a local councilman. You cannot be a mayor. A governor. A judge. You cannot be a senator or minister or President. Unless you have fought for your nation on the frontlines. And retired from service, foregoing all military influence. A military dictatorship is a practical impossibility. It cannot happen. I hope that clears up the most popular misconceptions about this book. The philosophy behind it is about personal discipline and responsibility. Authority goes hand-in-hand with that responsibility. Oh, and there''s some science fiction story going on in the background as well. And that part I think was done very well in the film but even better in the animated series. Read the book. Even if you are not a science fiction fan (and how can you not be? This is the book that gave us *power armour*!) then skip the alternate chapters and just read the ones on philosophy. They are very well reasoned. I am a particular fan of Chapter 8. It tells about capital punishment, the ills of social workers and child psychologists and how not housetraining a puppy can lead to the fall of democracy.
89 people found this helpful
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Doug1943
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The movie was garbage, the book is superb.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2019
I''ve read this novel three or four times over the last fifty years. It''s a wonderful adventure, but far far more than that. This is a book about morality: what does the individual ''owe'' to society (as represented by the state), if anything? Heinlein was a libertarian, so...See more
I''ve read this novel three or four times over the last fifty years. It''s a wonderful adventure, but far far more than that. This is a book about morality: what does the individual ''owe'' to society (as represented by the state), if anything? Heinlein was a libertarian, so you might think that his answer would, effectively, be .... nothing. His The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, another classic, is closer to that view. But in my opinion this book has a sounder view. It''s also brilliantly written -- okay, it''s not Updike, but it''s very good juvenile fiction. Two things will interest readers with a sense of history: first, this was written BEFORE the ''Sixties Revolution'' -- and Heinlein was NEVER Politically Correct. But this book, like almost all his novels written from the 1950s onward, includes very effective, if subtle, arguments against what nowadays are called ''racism'' and ''sexism''. Secondly, it''s interesting to see how far-seeing science fiction authors almost completely missed the revolution in micro-miniaturisation and digital electronics, which makes some of their predictions about the evolution of technology way off the mark. But no one reading the book should feel superior -- it just shows that the future is not predictable. A great book for teenage boys -- I don''t know if girls will appreciate it. Lots of bang-bang, but underlying the adventure, and the identifiable-with central character, are deep lessons in how to be a good person. (I''ve bought three copies to lend out to the kids I tutor.)
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G
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The movie is a classic, and so is this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2021
I watched the movie years ago and watched it again recently and it occurred to me I''d never took the time to read the book, which I had heard was nothing at all like the movie itself. I can say without a doubt that while the movie definitely is a classic that has its...See more
I watched the movie years ago and watched it again recently and it occurred to me I''d never took the time to read the book, which I had heard was nothing at all like the movie itself. I can say without a doubt that while the movie definitely is a classic that has its moments, the book is so much better, especially at telling a story and provoking more philosophical, deep points. I''m not one to mush about the authors writing style, how they constructed sentences and their eloquence with making plot points, or do a deep analysis of them as a person. I''m not even going to get into the core of it. Books were made to be read, not read about. Hard to really talk about why you liked a book without spoiling it anyway, so all I do is recommend you read it yourself. It''s worth a read, whether you''ve seen the movie that was based on the book or not. I enjoyed it so much I started reading it at 11PM after getting into bed quite tired, and finished it in one sitting just as it was getting light the next morning after, without a wink of sleep. Good stuff.
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Top old school sci-fi
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2017
Parts of this seem a bit dated, which is to be expected as it was written a fair while ago. That said it is a good read, action and excitement. It is far superior to the film of the same name and has a very different tone. Apparently the director didn''t read this book, just...See more
Parts of this seem a bit dated, which is to be expected as it was written a fair while ago. That said it is a good read, action and excitement. It is far superior to the film of the same name and has a very different tone. Apparently the director didn''t read this book, just listened to a summary. The story follows Johnnie Rico from his decision to join up, through boot camp to fighting off world. There is a fair bit of philosophy from Heinlein as well which I found interesting. Well worth a read.
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Art_izan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Do you want to live forever!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 25, 2020
A modern classic, and a short read at 220 pages There’s relatively little action, with only three combat events: which begins with a raid on a Skinny world, a brief abortive assault on an Arachnid planet towards the middle, and a large-scale capture operation on Planet P at...See more
A modern classic, and a short read at 220 pages There’s relatively little action, with only three combat events: which begins with a raid on a Skinny world, a brief abortive assault on an Arachnid planet towards the middle, and a large-scale capture operation on Planet P at the end. The action scenes themselves are brief, militaristic and brutal. The book however is more of a social science fiction based in a Military context. The war, the MI, it’s all just window-dressing for Heinlein’s philosophy of individual liberty and civic duty: “Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not - and a puppy has none. We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind.” “To permit irresponsible authority is to sell disaster.” “There can be circumstances when it''s just as foolish to hit an enemy with an H-Bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an ax. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose.” “Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.” “Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination-- devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues...which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.” --Starship Troopers by Robert Anson Heinlein Ultimately society works best for all when men are free and willingly undertake the burden of civic duty. Oppression and tyranny do not work, nor can you force a man to embrace duty. A recommended read
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