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Sixth Column | [Robert A. Heinlein]

Sixth Column

The totalitarian East has triumphed in a massive invasion, and the United States has fallen to a dictatorial superpower bent on total domination. That power is consolidating its grip through concentration camps, police state tactics, and a total monopoly upon the very thoughts of the conquered populace. A tiny enclave of scientists and soldiers survives, unbeknownst to America’s new rulers. It’s six against six million - but those six happen to include a scientific genius, a master of subterfuge and disguise who learned his trade as a lawyer-turned-hobo, and a tough-minded commander....
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Publisher's Summary

It’s six against six million in a brilliantly waged near-future war for nothing less than liberty and justice for all. The totalitarian East has triumphed in a massive invasion, and the United States has fallen to a dictatorial superpower bent on total domination. That power is consolidating its grip through concentration camps, police state tactics, and a total monopoly upon the very thoughts of the conquered populace. A tiny enclave of scientists and soldiers survives, unbeknownst to America’s new rulers. It’s six against six million - but those six happen to include a scientific genius, a master of subterfuge and disguise who learned his trade as a lawyer-turned-hobo, and a tough-minded commander who knows how to get the best out of his ragtag assortment of American discontents, wily operators, and geniuses. It’s going to take technological savvy and a propaganda campaign that would leave Madison Avenue aghast, but the US will rise again. The counterinsurgency for freedom is on, and defeat is not an option.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) was born in Missouri. He served five years in the US Navy, then attended graduate classes in mathematics and physics at UCLA, took a variety of jobs, and owned a silver mine before beginning to write science fiction in 1939. His novels have won the Hugo Award, and in 1975 he received the first Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.

©1949 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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4.0 (337 )
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  •  
    Paul ANACORTES, WA, United States 06-30-12
    Paul ANACORTES, WA, United States 06-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Racist Racist"
    What would have made Sixth Column better?

    I was surprized at the author's outlandish racist attitude. At first, I thought that I had misinterped his meaning. So I backed up 2-3-4 times, and sure enough the racist intent was there; quite bold. I kept thinking that at the end of the story there would be some clever trick that would ratify the racism and clear up everything. Nope. Did'nt happen. I did a little research on Heinlein's work and attitude. He is recognized as being quite racist, and The Sixth Column is his MOST racist novel.

    I would venture a bet that the novel would NOT be accepted by any modern day publisher. I'm sure it would be rejected. If I owned a book store -- Sixth Column would NOT be on my shelves.

    As a point of clarification; I am a white, American male.


    What was most disappointing about Robert A. Heinlein’s story?

    Racism


    Did Tom Weiner do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes, accents were believable and not over done.


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Elmhurst, IL 04-17-12
    Amazon Customer Elmhurst, IL 04-17-12

    Jeff

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    "Good listen"

    Good listen on the way to work. A little dated maybe, but the reading was well done with the different voices of the characters easily distinguishable from one another.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Stevensville, MI, United States 04-08-12
    Andrew Stevensville, MI, United States 04-08-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Written in 1949 and probably needs to stay there"

    I enjoyed Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and "Citizen of the Galaxy", which were thoughtful pieces, troopers becoming a template for military sf fiction for generations to come. The premise of "Sixth Column" is intriguing, the invasion and fall of America, with a handful of resistance fighters opposing millions of the enemy. Heinlein generally has a polemic style to his work, with some philosophical question raised and addressed. In Troopers, the question was whether we can ethically support a culture of warfare. In CotG, we explore the nature of being an outsider.
    "Sixth Column" raises the question of prejudice, and how it should be fought. The portrayed enemy is a group known as the Pan-Asians, who generally follow cultural norms most associated with the Japanese. The Pan-Asians are evidently racist, treating Americans as an inferior slave race. Certainly there are cultural norms which are vastly different in today's world. Epithets such as "flat face" and "slant eyes" would be reserved for a crude character today, whereas it's the language of the heroes in SC. These were different times, certainly, with the memory of Pearl Harbor fresh in many people's minds, including Heinlein, who served in the US Navy.
    But where SC falls, philosophically, is the story's treatment that prejudice is best fought with an equal or stronger prejudice. Indeed, the breakthrough weapon is, in essence, a weapon of racism. You set the controls to kill those of "Mongolian-descent" (which BTW doesn't represent the genetic heritage of most Asians) or that of a white man (hardly a genetically homogeneous group). It's difficult to miss the story's conceit of the white male. All the American heroes seem to be white, except for Matsui who is half-white. Women are excluded from helping outside of secretarial duties. Again, this may have represented Heinlein's experience in the segregated military. Even though blacks contributed significantly in World War 2, there is no mention of them or any other minority representing America in this future war. While the American fighters are sweeping cities and towns with this death ray, there is no consideration that American Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Phillipino, or other Asiatics may be killed in the process.

    Again, this is a modern view of a work written sixty years ago. Perhaps it now represents something of a study of racial paranoia, the kind that fears one race really is superior to another. But why would we want to believe that now, even in the suspended disbelief of a fictional story?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WHYNDELL DONALDSONVILLE, LA, United States 02-28-12
    WHYNDELL DONALDSONVILLE, LA, United States 02-28-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Great listen"
    Would you listen to Sixth Column again? Why?

    Probably will travel alot, was entertaining, good storyline.


    What other book might you compare Sixth Column to and why?

    Red Dawn good storyline very pro-american.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Weiner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No first one


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No over a day driving


    Any additional comments?

    Give it a try

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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