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Farnham's Freehold Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1994

3.9 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Farnham is a self-made man who sees nuclear war coming and who builds a shelter under his house; only to find it thrust into a strange universe when the bomb explodes. In this future world all civilization in the northern hemisphere has long been destroyed, and Farnham and his family are fit to be slaves under the new regime. Heinlein's story is as engrossing now as it was in its original form decades ago. -- Midwest Book Review

From the Back Cover

Hugh Farnham was a practical, self-made man, and when he saw the clouds of nuclear war gathering, he built a bomb shelter under his house, hoping for peace and preparing for war. What he hadn't expected was that when the apocalypse came, a thermonuclear blast would tear apart the fabric of time and hurl his shelter into a world with no sign of other human beings.

But Farnham's small group had barely settled down to the back-breaking business of low-tech survival when they found that they were not alone after all. The same nuclear war that had catapulted Farnham two thousand years into the future had destroyed all civilization in the northern hemisphere. And the world had changed in more ways than one.

In the new world order, Farnham and his family, being members of the race that had nearly destroyed the world, were fit only to be slaves. After surviving a nuclear war, Farnham had no intention of being anybody's slave, but the tyrannical power of the Chosen Race reached throughout the world. Even if he managed to escape, where could he run to...?


Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671722069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671722067
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frankly I am SHOCKED at the poor reviews this book recieves.

There are two MINOR complaints I have about this book, one that the son's acceptance of his castration is a little too easy, could have had 2 or 3 sentences that would have made this more believable, either to set him up as a yes man (where he would do anything to get ahead) wich he did not seem to be; or to have him willing to do anything to be with mommy and make her happy (wich he was not when it came to talking about her drug problem etc).

The second minor complaint that I have is that I think the sign at the end of the book could have had more impact and shown the moral of the story or what the characters learned through their experiences more. Such as: books for barter was good but it should have listed other things wich would have underlined the story such as labor/work (underlying theme is that labor is virtue and sloth is evil), Training (self improvement is stressed, the value of knowledge), Durable goods (items saved from pre apocolipse = forthought and planning, Items manufactured post apocolipse = labor and skills) etc. Keep the bridge lessons as a insider joke but they could have had something about Be nice or leave- no intolorance will be tolorated etc to underline the anti racism message. I just feel like he diddnt wrap it all up in a nice polished way and that it was a missed oppertunity.

Ok now onto the positives.

This book is not racist. If you think it is you are completely missing the whole point and I kind of wonder if you really read the whole book. Im going to refute things in list form since there are so many points and they overlap.

people have claimed Racism because-
1. The Dark skinned overlords are Cannibals.
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17 Comments 64 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After a bomb warning screaming from the Farnham household television, the family, along with their servant and a friend of their daughter's, rush down into their bomb shelter. They wait in fear at the world they will find upon emerging, but when they finally open the shelter, are amazed at the beautiful untouched world around them. After some adventuring, they find that they are in the same place as when they began, but the land remains untouched by human developement. They are seemingly alone in the newly beautiful world and become adapt to being self sufficient. Together, they plan to start a new civilization, until one day they are discovered. Taken and enslaved in the 'new world' where people of colour become the ruling class and the anglo's the slaves, they find that they somehow had been catapulted into the future. This new world is a place where people are born into certain classes, their futures being determined by birth. Much like the world we live in today, the people accept their places willingly and never question their status. Hugh Farnham, however, see's the injustices of this new world and devises a plan of escape. Although I'm not a huge science fiction fan, I really did enjoy 'Farnham's Freehold'. Heinlein weaves a clever little story with this book, and throws in a few neat twists at the end. Covering the issues of race, governing politics, and those of gender, he comes up with a really creative tale that is accessible to a wide audience. It's really worth a read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There is much in this novel to typecast it in the social setting of the early sixties. It was a time of constant terror of nuclear war as well as pre-equal rights and sanctioned sexist behavior. I was a child in that era but remember it well. Heinlein's protagonist is a self-confident, self-taught and somewhat righteous father figure who "knows best". Events prove the value of his foresight, but with a strange twist that challenges the hero to move beyond his preconceptions. This is what I like most about Heinlein's novels. I think many people deride Heinlein for his stereotypical characters, but if you hang in there you get to see how they respond to extraordinarily non-stereotypical events. It is worth is.
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By John S. Ryan on March 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm giving this one three stars just because there are some interesting speculations in it about the future of a postapocalyptic world (and because I share the lead character's positive view of the United States, as Heinlein clearly does as well). But this one ranks near the bottom of my own list of Heinlein's novels.

For one thing, he wrote this one smack in the middle of his Nuclear Rant Period, and he's very heavily into Soapbox Mode here. This was a time in Heinlein's life when he got (let's put it gently) deeply annoyed at anyone who suggested that massive nuclear buildup wasn't the way to handle the alleged Soviet threat, or that maybe surviving a nuclear holocaust might not be such a terrific thing. (Indeed, he built a bomb shelter at his Colorado Springs home -- _before_ Colorado Springs was anywhere near a likely nuclear target; NORAD didn't exist yet.) His surly attitude (not to mention his tub-thumping sermons about the Benefits of Military Service) informs this entire novel.

For another -- and it's probably a consequence of the first problem -- _not one_ of the characters in this book is even remotely likeable. Joseph, the 'houseboy', is as close as we come to a decent human being, and even _he_ turns out to be sinister and menacing before we're through. It's hard to take sides between Hugh Farnham and his son Duke; the dad's a jerk and the son's a whiny wuss. Hugh's wife Grace is no prize either, and their daughter Karen -- apparently intended to be sweet and innocent -- just comes across as spoiled. And Barbara never gels as a character at all.

For a third thing, even the stuff some readers _like_ about late-period Heinlein isn't well done here. For example, some readers have commented on Heinlein's apparent approval of incest.
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