This book is much less a military tale than a treatise on military life and related social philosophies. In between lengths describing a young man's reshaping from newly graduated civilian into a veteran military officer, Heinlein gives a number of views, ideas, and commentary on social/political setups, including voting, evolution, and military service in general. Putting this book's viewpoints side by side with "Stranger in a Strange Land" leads to interesting thoughts about our modern society.
The reading is excellent. There are a few mis-pronounced words here and there in the first half, but the vocal tone is varied and engaging. Recommended reading/listening!
If you've seen the movie, you NEED to read/listen to the ORIGINAL Starship Troopers, which is only loosely based on this book. This book is so much better than the movie. Enter a world that could easily be ours.
Science, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military History, Thrillers, Great Courses, Horror, and anything with a good story. Please forgive errors.
This is just a great book. There are a lot of interesting points of view given and even if you don't agree with them they are still thought provoking ideas.
I read this when I was in high school 16 years ago and loved it. Now older and having served in the Marine Corps, I adore and apreciate it the more. It is a wondrful commintary on civic duty.
Read it and then go thank a verteran for what he has done to make our society posssible.
First, as others have stated, the only thing this book has in common with the movie is the Title. This is a great sci-fi read which delves deep into ideas about the human condition, its ideals and its faults. If you have ever served in the armed forces - this is a must read! It will make you laugh and make you cry - the insights and believalbility of the main character are just that good.
Please don't think that this a purely "cerebral" book. There is plenty of action as well as character development to round out this story and make it a well rounded excellent piece of fiction - a true classic!
Anyone who cannot see the philosophical similarity between these two marvelous SF authors is working hard to keep the blinders in place. To be sure there were also differences -- of the two, Heinlein holds the prize for a sense of ethics. Nevertheless, they both suggested political systems that were later branded as fascist by unthinking zombies who resemble (at least intellectually) the lead toadies in each book. As I said with "Atlas Shrugged," I say with "Starship Troopers," I do not agree with what he says, but his points certainly resonate...
As to the second half of this review, though the book was worth listening to, it wasn't because of the narrator (whose name wasn't worth remembering). The man was almost lethargic in his reading, his pacing was off, and I got the sense that he really didn't feel the lead character, Juan Rico. Get this book, and listen to it, but be prepared to be disturbed; Heinlein does not pull punches when it comes to social commentary. Get this book and listen to it, but not because the narrator is worthy of praise; this audio book succeeds in spite of his lackluster performance.
This story is both thought-provoking and highly entertaining. After almost 50 years, it is still an amazingly visionary piece. Although some reviews didn't like the narration, I thought it was perfect. It sounded to me exactly like a Soldier relating his tale.
This is a great book, however, the narration is terribly bad. The tone is flat, w/o any emotion, like that of a first grade student learning how to read.
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
So this book has been an annual (at minimum) read for me for 20+ years. The philosophy contained within this story surpasses that of the great philosophers of all time. I actually read a lot of classical philosophy, but none (other than Plato's The Republic, and Allegory of the Cave, as well as all of Ayn Rand's work) compare - and none surpass. Simply, this book is about becoming a man (or woman, 'what's good for the goose') and a leader of Soldiers.
I have this book (as well as all of the Military Service Academies) as required reading for my Soldiers. In fact just this past week, while counseling one of my Soldiers, I had him review the story (parable in this case) of Private Hendrick and report back to me the lesson in that short excerpt. The entirety of this book is rife with examples of personal moral philosophy that Rico must learn (sometimes the hard way, but often just via epiphany after a lesson from Mr. (Colonel) Dubois (including several years after the class (e.g., "teaching me 'why' to fight, long after I had decided to fight anyhow").
My favorite part (biased perhaps because I'm a Master Sergeant myself) is the admonishment given to Rico and two other 3rd Lieutenants prior to their final assessment (a live mission inserted in the chain of command). The Officer Candidate School Commandant explains how each of them could be suddenly thrust into command (via KIAs of more senior officers) despite only being the lowest of lows of commissioned officers and asks...
"What will you do..."
"...consult your leading Sergeant."
"Obviously. He's probably older than you are, more drops under his belt, and he certainly knows his team better than you do... ask his advice. It won't decrease his confidence... If you don't he'll decide you are a fool... and he'll be right. You don't have to take his advice. Whether you use his ideas, or they spark some different plan - make your decision and snap out orders. The one thing that can strike terror in the heart of a good platoon sergeant is to find that he's working for a boss who can't make up his mind. There's never been an outfit in which officers and men were more dependent on each other than they are in the MI.I. and Sergeants are the glue that holds us together... Never forget it."
However, Heinlein's discourse on why they have the system they have and why it's better than any in history is in and of itself, inimitable.
I enjoyed the narrator, but there are several dubbed in segments laced throughout the book, at first I thought my wireless headphones were going out, but after listening to it again (as well as other books) it's definitely the recording. I usually listen at 3x speed and had no problem with this book.
I own the kindle edition and most of the printed editions (minus the first edition). It's nice to review all of the stories in print and I really like the whisper link between audible and kindle.
At first when I watched the movie of the same name I thought, "Wow, Hollywood just didn't get this book."
But now I'm convinced that Hollywood did understand what Heinlein was saying, but are so opposed to his ideas that they decided to create a spoof to discourage people from reading this book.
Don't be discouraged. Read this book.
Both the book and the movie have soldiers, bugs and guns. But that is where the similarities end.
This book is a soldier's tale. Johnny Rico is a reluctant soldier. As we follow him though his training and battles we learn about him and the society that has helped to produce him.
One has to keep reminding oneself that Heinlein wrote this novel in the 1950s because the way he describes the "chaos of the past" (which is our present and his future) is incredibly accurate. When he talks about how people were afraid to go into a public park at night for fear that they would be robbed, beaten or killed by gangs of juvenile criminals, it was only speculation from Heinlein's point of view. But few of us today would venture into a public park after dark for fear of exactly what Heinlein described.
The world of Johnny Rico is much different from ours today. Heinlein paints a world that has conquered most of the social problems that we experience by a simple premise: There are civilians and citizens. Civilians enjoy all the benefits of society except they may not hold elected office or vote. Only those that have proven themselves worthy though military service can become citizens, hold elected office or vote.
Why? Well you'll have to read the book to find out. But I will say this, when you understand why a "juvenile" can never be a "delinquent", you'll be well on your way to understanding what Heinlein was trying to convey.