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Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction Paperback – November 13, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0195027471 ISBN-10: 0195027477

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 13, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195027477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195027471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book has gotten some poor reviews on Heinlein worship sites but I thought it was an interesting take on his works via the cultural forces which might have affected him. Note I say "might" because, who knows? It's conjecture and opinion as is all the rest of Heinlein criticism. I can't say I'm 100% agreeing to all his ideas but some helped clarify parts of my personal take when reading Heinlein. He does a pretty good job of bringing forth repetitive Heinlein themes as well.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, the author did a very good job of searching out what are probably all of Mr Heinlein's fictional works, as you would expect from a trained academic, so three stars right there. What spoils the book for an objective person is the deep and blind Marxist analysis and commentary found throughout, combined with the fact that like a true modern academic, he obviously did not actually read many of the short stories and novels, judging from the consistent errors he makes about the characters place in the story, their back histories, and events. In addition, what he did read was hardly done with a sympathetic eye, given the observed prejudices hardly surprising considering that Heinlein was a notoriously right wing libertarian. Mr Franklin for instance misses the fact that the protagonist of 'Tunnel In The Sky' is a black teen, (as is Podkayne Of Mars, or at least she has a black uncle). Things like that are extremely rare (not to say courageous) statements for a juvenile author making a living in the 1950s, and they show Heinlein's well-known loathing for racism and segregation. But as I say, there nothing about that from Mr Franklin.

The Marxist bias in the book is most blatant in the author's pure (non-literary) commentary- when he talks about "The First American Revolution" in the context of American history and it takes one a while to realise he's expecting a second one, the Real one, the inevitable Amerian Communist Revolution, presumably followed by The Dictatorship Of The American Proletariat (not a direct statement of the author but it's there).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Schuessler on October 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very pleased.
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More About the Author

One of America's leading cultural historians, H. Bruce Franklin is the author or editor of nineteen books and more than 300 articles on culture and history published in more than a hundred major magazines and newspapers, academic journals, and reference works. He has given over five hundred addresses on college campuses, on radio and TV shows, and at academic conferences, museums, and libraries, and he has participated in making four films. He has taught at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, and Yale and currently is the John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University in Newark.

Before becoming an academic, Franklin worked in factories, was a tugboat mate and deckhand, and flew for three years in the United States Air Force as a Strategic Air Command navigator and intelligence officer.

Franklin has published continually on the history and literature of the Vietnam War since 1966, when he became widely known for his activist opposition to the war. His pioneering course on the war and his book M.I.A. Or Mythmaking in America have had a major national impact, and he is co-editor of the widely-adopted history text Vietnam and America: A Documented History. Vietnam and Other American Fantasies, offers a sweeping vision of American culture into the 21st century.

Another area where Franklin's work has achieved international distinction is the study of science fiction and its relation to culture and history. In 1961 he offered one of the first two university courses in science fiction, and his book Future Perfect played a key role in establishing the importance and academic legitimacy of the subject. His Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction won the Eaton Award for 1981; in 1983 he won the Pilgrim Award for Lifetime Scholarship of the Science Fiction Research Association; in 1990 he was named the Distinguished Scholar of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts; and in 1991 he was Guest Curator for the "Star Trek and the Sixties" exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

Franklin's first book, The Wake of the Gods: Melville's Mythology, has been in print continually since 1963 and is regarded as a classic work of scholarship and criticism. He is a past president of the Melville Society, and continues to publish about Melville.

Prison Literature in America: The Victim as Criminal and Artist established Franklin as the world's leading authority on American prison literature. His anthology Prison Writing in 20th-Century America is widely influential.

The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America
shows how menhaden have shaped America's national--and natural--history, and why reckless overfishing now threatens their place in both. The book has already led to the introduction of two bills in Congress.

Perhaps Franklin's most important book, however, is War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, which has been widely hailed as a classic since its original publication in 1988. In 2008, he published a revised and expanded edition that sweeps through more than two centuries of American culture and military history, tracing the evolution of superweapons from Robert Fulton's eighteenth-century submarine through the strategic bomber, atomic bomb, and Star Wars to a twenty-first century dominated by "weapons of mass destruction," real and imagined. Interweaving culture, science, technology, and history, he shows how and why the American pursuit of the ultimate defensive weapon--guaranteed to end all war and bring universal triumph to American ideals--has led our nation and the world into an epoch of terror and endless war.

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