I first read this book when I was in seventh grade. I remeber walking through the halls of my school with the book and being teased for being a "Space Cadet" for reading a book titled "Space Cadet." It did not matter. I still loved the story.
Now, I know lots more about life the universe and everything, and I still love this book! Heinlein's juveniles are anything but jubenile. Heinlein never talked down to his reader. His science is all wrong in some cases, and of course it is dated, but those are not the key to great science fiction writing. It is the Story.
This one presents a 'coming of age' story based in a peace-keeping force that has sucessfully prevented war for a century. It is based in an institution with traditions of sacrifice, service and constant self improvement. It ends with the message that doing your best should not be something special. It should be what you do all the time because that is who you are. Not a bad message for any generation.
Remember that this book was published in 1949, and it becomes even more trail-blazing. These books set the path for modern Science Fiction writers.
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