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Starship Troopers Paperback – 14 Mar 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (14 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340837934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340837931
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.5 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Written less than 15 years after the end of the second world war, as anti-Communist paranoia was reaching fever-pitch in the United States, this book is very much a product of its time. Originally planned for a juvenile audience, Starship Troopers has become a classic of hard science fiction, albeit a controversial one. Heinlein creates a future society where citizenship must be earned through military service, and although there are a number of exciting scenes of battle, much of the book is taken up with an exploration of the philosophical ramifications of such a society. The book discusses the necessity of warfare to moral development and the importance of beating children in order to make them into good citizens. Heinlein's political theory is quite unpalatable and occasionally irresponsible. However, the book is frequently exciting, and the details of the society are fascinating. This is an entertaining and thought-provoking book, but perhaps not best-suited for use as a political manifesto. The most interesting feature of Starship Troopers is its fascinating glimpse into America's struggle for a post-war identity, told as a heroic tale of interstellar conflict. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Now stunningly repackaged the winner of the Hugo Award, Starship Troopers is Robert A. Heinlein's classic story of war and warriors set 5000 years in the future.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Sally-Anne on 17 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
Robert Heinlein has crammed a gripping story, some fascinating philosophy, ideology and politics into this relatively short book. And incredibly, for a book about soldiers at war, there's hardly a word that could be categorised as 'swearing'. The soldiers are pleasant and wholesome, if occasionally a bit gruff. The reason they are so well behaved is that good manners and a sense of responsibility are "paddled" (a euphemism for beating) into them, resulting in "lumps" (swelling injuries) from an early age. In this future society anyone may vote if they earn the right by volunteering a couple of years of their life (which they may well lose before ever getting the franchise) in the service of the state. Juan (Johnnie) Rico's route to citizenship is via the MI: the Mobile Infantry. He can anticipate a period of tough training after which, if all goes well, he completes his service and then gets back to civvy street and the world's his oyster. However, a war breaks out between humans and a sort of planetary empire of intelligent arthropods before his two years are up. The story of Starship Troopers is Johnnie Rico's account of what happened to him after he volunteered: his training and transformation into a proper soldier; use of military technology (the MI use powered suits of armour that give the wearers great strength, a range of formidable weapons, communications devices and the ability to bounce high and fast over great distances); the friends and officers who influenced him; the victories and setbacks he experienced personally and as part of a military body at war and his thoughts about what it all meant.
Descriptions of the political system, how it came about and Johnnie's thoughts and feelings about it, is a thread that runs right through the book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dave Jeffery VINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
In Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein does what he did best: challenge human convention; conviction and ideologies with scathing ease. Set in a future where social inclusion or 'citizenship' is earned through right of passage (ie: undertaking national service in a fruitless war against arachnids in a distant star system) Heinlein's vision is daunting and bleak, yet satire adds a degree of science friction evident in many of his works. Those who are looking for the 'in your face' gorefest approach of Verhoven's movie take on this book will be sorely disappointed; but if you enjoyed the film's darker satirical edge then you may still take something away from this great book.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By harpoon guns to 'safe', please on 17 April 2014
Format: Paperback
A young man joins the armed services of his world and ends up fighting against an arachnid foe that would destroy mankind. We see his being taught at school how responsibility works, how a militaristic society brought order out of chaos. We go through exciting elements of his training, pseudo father figures (Zim has been plagiarised more times than any character I know, but I guess there may be earlier), and goes to war. He gets really cool weapons, powered armour, and kills bugs, which is OK, because they aren't vaguely human, and we're ok on squishing them. Even the humanoid enemy collaborators that are mentioned are presented with a weapon that allows them time to escape. A very interesting point. Anyway, Rico fights, is promoted and will clearly win the war, single handed and on his knees if necessary.

There are different levels on which to look at this novel. As a straight read,and remember this is at the top end of Heinlein's juvenile type novels, it's a great, exciting, gung-ho war novel, about a simple hero learning as he goes (and perhaps learning only what they want him to lean in some ways), to protect his society against an implacable foe that would exterminate them. Remember, the world was not out of the shadow of WW2 by this time, and as a VERY American American, Heinlein saw a threat from Russia and possibly others: the arachnid society is very reminiscent of views of socialism/ communism after all- remember the warriors on the UK's picket lines in the 80's, and the brain caste safe in their mansions or battle buses ?

"To the ever lasting glory of the infantry, shines the name, shines the name, of Rodger Young". Makes your hair stand on end.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mart on 20 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this book first many years ago and enjoyed it, in amongst many other books I was reading at the time but did not, looking back really understand it fully. Later I saw the film and was a bit disappointed, although it was worth watching.

This one, like many Heinlein books is a simple story, beautifully told; essentially of a relatively ordinary person, decent, mostly honest and good hearted and shows how he grows as a person on overcoming the challenges to his existence. Its worth reading just to enjoy a good story and the adventures that 'Johnny' goes through as he joins up hoping to do a couple of years to earn his citizenship and ends up committing his future to the cause.

One of the many political points raised is that in most societies today we have people voting bread and circusses. Basically, anyone has a vote and most have only self-interest in mind. Thus, in the UK political parties tend to pander to people to get elected and when in power have to do the same, perhaps rather than taking the decisions that should really be taken. As soon as the popularity ratings drop, a panic is triggered.

In other countries, military service is enforced on everyone, eg Israel, some others too. At least in Heinlein's world people have a choice. Its somewhat ideal and primary coloured; but if we were able to build a system based on natural law what would it be like? It would be simple, probably unfair but workable. Fairness is often screamed for, but who does one really want to be fair to, the guy who just claims benefit and contributes nothing; or someone who is willing to help improve things?

Now, I wouldn't run off and join the army after reading this again.
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