Written less than 15 years after the end of World War II, when 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 it should not be used as a political manifesto. The most interesting feature of Starship Troopers is its fascinating glimpse into America's struggle for a postwar identity, told as a heroic tale of interstellar conflict.
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