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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

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (378 )
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  •  
    J Livingston, TX, United States 11-14-13
    J Livingston, TX, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "Childhood favorite"

    I first read this book when I was a teenager. I finally decided to give it another go. Even though the underlying "history" has passed it by, I have to admit that I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did the first time. There's just something about the way Heinlein put words together to tell stories that made those stories timeless. He's one of the few writers from my childhood that I truly miss as a septagenarian.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Martin Las Vegas, NV USA 04-16-12
    Thomas Martin Las Vegas, NV USA 04-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Yellow Peril as it was"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Heinlein fans. Nostalgia sci-fi fans.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert A. Heinlein again?

    Absolutely.


    What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

    He is great.


    What character would you cut from Sixth Column?

    No opinion.


    Any additional comments?

    Robert Heinlein’s the Sixth Column (1949) was written in 1941. It is a sort of embarrassing racist dated tome about the “Yellow Peril”. There was a reason that active U. S. military people were so forewarned. While a young naval officer on board the Lexington in 1932, the ship was dispatched to Pearl Harbor under strict radio silence when the Japanese moved into Manchuria. In the novel, Japanese (although they are never named as such) take over Colorado and the rest of the U. S. The talented reader can do all the voices and accents. The enemies speak like 1942 movie Japanese villains, Philip Ahn, J. Carol Nash, and the rest. Those are like the voices I heard on network radio dramas in the 1940’s. I am old enough to remember that era.
    I distinctly remember listening to “Terry and the Pirates” on V-Jay Day. Richard Loo type voice: “But, remember Terry Lee. The War is not yet ‘ova’.” But some flunky rushes in and says it IS ova. The radio people had to drop the prepared script and ad lib with a skeleton crew. All the rest were out in the streets celebrating.
    The underground U. S. Army guys had fantastic advanced death rays and other weapons with which to fight back. They organized a resistance from a religious temple in Denver.
    I can only think that the manuscript may have been unsellable in 1941, even though it may have seemed topical, but it reached the light of day in 1949 after Heinlein had become a name. It is certainly not “politically correct” from the perspective of today. It is a curiosity product from an author who was honing his craft. It is a must read for Heinlein fans who want to discover how he started in the early years. It may be a nostalgia adventure for those who recall the work the first time around.
    Tom Martin

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA 09-25-12
    Michael New Orleans, LA 09-25-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dated, But Fun!"

    This work of Heinlein reminds me of the original Buck roger's novel. A fun read, but dated, and it shows.

    In a nutshell, a ragtag military team holds the key to saving a ravaged and conquered America (think circa 1955 feel) by an Imperialistic Asian conqueror nation, using technology so advanced that it seems like religious miracles or magic.

    Can they quietly and successfully infiltrate the overwhelming Asian juggernaut occupying force that has beaten American citizens into a slave caste, before they are discovered and destroyed?

    Again, it's dated, but worth a listen.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey G. Boldt Madison, Wisconsin United States 07-05-12
    Jeffrey G. Boldt Madison, Wisconsin United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pulp - But Heinlein"
    If you could sum up Sixth Column in three words, what would they be?

    This is pulp science fiction, but it is Heilein; i.e. extremely well written. The plot is unrealistic. But I enjoyed reading one of the few Heinlein books that had escaped me. I have loved so many of his works that reading one I had missed was moving for me.


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

    Rocket Ship Galelio
    Similar style, not as juvenile but also not as engaging.


    What about Tom Weiner???s performance did you like?

    He did many voices very well, even the gravely voiced one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harold W. James 04-12-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Re-reading boyhood favorites"
    What made the experience of listening to Sixth Column the most enjoyable?

    I first read this book as a teenager back in the early 60's. Not being much of a reader back then I read Stranger in a Strange Land as a English assignment and was hooked. I read everything Heinlein wrote after that. When I discovered his books in audible format I decided to revisit them. While dated it kind of took me back to my early days fo reading them for the first time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Heinlein's imagination and futuristic thinking.


    What three words best describe Tom Weiner???s performance?

    Solid, average, likable


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really. While this book was written about the time of WWII it now seems pretty heavy handed against the Japanese people and their culture. Understandable in the time that it was written.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-24-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Great Story. Very fun listen"
    If you could sum up Sixth Column in three words, what would they be?

    Classy Heinlein Story


    Any additional comments?

    This is the Heinlein I love. A great story written well with no preaching. After listening to Glory Road, which was not much more than another extremely preachy Heinlein book, I almost deleted this book without listening to it, but I'm so glad I didn't.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    another know it all North Carolina 07-18-15
    another know it all North Carolina 07-18-15 Member Since 2010

    SRitt

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    "interesting but dated"

    I guess the story holds up pretty well-known considering it is almost 70 years old. the characters are relevant but some of the social commentary seems naive. it is a fairly good length, maybe a touch too long. I like the narrator but if the text isn't exciting, he puts me to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 06-13-15
    David 06-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Wow, I love Heinlein!!"

    The science in this one isn't very developed but the ideas of what they do with the scientific breakthroughs are cool. Definitely worth a couple hours of your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John B. Fisher Raleigh-Durham, NC USA 06-12-15
    John B. Fisher Raleigh-Durham, NC USA 06-12-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "A Dystopian Story"

    The Pan Asians conquered the U.S. and a small band of scientists must overcome these forces.

    It's not a bad story. it does have the Heinlein libertarian philosophy throughout. part philosophy, part action story.

    But it's engaging and well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jwk 01-18-15
    jwk 01-18-15
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    5
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    "I love Heinlein, just not this time"

    This is extremely crude WW2 propaganda effort. This is actually not a Heinlein story at all, it's Heinlein's effort to expand an even worse story by Campbell. Either Heinlein needed the money at that point in his career, or else he wanted to help warn America of the Yellow Peril without concern for literary merit, or both. Save your book credit for something else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Conchuir
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Grand"

    A 1950's view of what might happen if the Chinese ruled the Earth. A little scary considering that it will probably be true in 50 years. Plot was ok, but performance was actually quite good. Worth a try if you're looking for some bubble gum sci-fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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