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Sixth Column Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2013

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About the Author

Robert A Heinlein is considered one of the “Big Three” of classic science fiction (along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke).  Heinlein is a seven-time Hugo Award recipient and was given the first Grand Master Nebula Award for lifetime achievement. Heinlein’s juveniles alone have influenced generations of scientists, engineers and creators the world over (for instance, it was once estimated that everyone in the Apollo 11 mission control room had read and loved at least one Heinlein novel). His worldwide bestsellers include Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, Time Enough for Love, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638721
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dykhuis VINE VOICE on July 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maybe I am a simpleton or view things far differently then the other reviewers do but I loved this book. I do not feel that the rather straightforward and unencumbered nature of the storytelling distracted from the tale being told. Just the opposite. This book inspired me and invigorated me with a sense personal freedom that I am sure was part of Mr. Heinlein's intent.
I do not agree that the Asian references were racist. These references were merely plot mechanisms and devices. Readers should remember that Heinlein was a product of the World War II generation and his life was greatly shaped by the events surrounding that war and they are reflected in many of his works.
A great novel with shades of Libertarianism shining through. A definite recommend on my part.
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66 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Matt on August 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do not think that Heinlein in any way meant to promote a racist viewpoint. This conclusion comes from a careless reading of the novel and knee jerk reactions to some of the racism presented in the novel.

If anything Heinlein seems to criticizing racism and any subtle government encouragement of racism. Early in the book, one of the characters states,

"But from my standpoint they are simply human beings, who have been duped into the old fallacy of the state as super entity".

The citizens of the PanAsian Empire are not the only ones that have been duped; it is clear that we ourselves our products of deception by our own government. White superiority was encouraged in the forties and to an extent is still encouraged in our minds. Those who think that modern day military men would not speak as the ones in the novels do, are wrong. The majority of people in the US are white; the majority of politicians are white. For politicians. it benefits them to encourage the idea that whites are superior in order to keep them in power. This is why every election year, blacks are reminded that they are victims and can get no where without a white man in office interceding for them.

Finny';s comment on a racial inferiority complex is an astute observation not blantant racism. Just as the white culture sometimes encourages a stifling superiority complex, it has in other cultures, created an inferiority complex , a desire to one up arrogant white people by showing them they are just as good. Much of the focus in the idealogy in the Communist Revolution in China, was on creating a viable alternative to Western culture just as good if not better than Western Culture.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Steve on June 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robert always writes an entertaining story. However, this one is unusual in the fact that he did not start this story. He did finish it. His story is basic: another country takes over America through limited nuclear strikes, mass invasion, and complete surprize. A small research lab in the rockies developes a "super" weapon and the people use a "unique" plan to retake America.
The charge of racism is false. He has white villians and asian heros and asian villians and white heros. The key element to understand is that he shows the cultural difference from American to China/Japan. His cultural ideas come from a well traveled and educated individual, himself. If you look at the world today, we see a growing threat from China, and a culture that scorns human life (forced abortions, mass killings, mass imprisonments for political reasons, mass slavery, etc.). Therefore, Robert did not present a book that hides, lies, nor denies differences. He shows differences in culture and attitude based on fact, not world politics, or racist hatred. He makes it clear that these are NOT racist but cultural differences. A point in fact, one hero he has in the book is an American of asian ancestry (his parents/grandparents are from an asian country). This hero gives his life to stop a mad white man who was about to destroy the headquarters of the American Army (what remained). The weapons and technology did not ONLY KILL asians, the technology could kill anyone or everyone depending on the settings. The technology also could be used to heal, transmute, and protect.
Overall, a good book but not a "normal" Heinlien book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on August 8, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sixth Column (1949) (AKA: The Day After Tomorrow) is a standalone SF novel set in a future that didn't come to be. The PanAsians had severed relations with the West and the USA passed the Noninterference Act in retaliation. Two generations later, the PanAsians have conquered half the world and are invading the USA.

In this novel, Major Whitey Atdmore comes to the Citadel with special orders for the commander. He finds the underground research facility filled with dead personel and a few shocked survivors. The remainding soldiers insist that the deaths were not caused bt the PanAsians, but by an experiment gone awry.

Apparently the researchers have found a Unified Field Theory that expands their capabilities into other spectra. Unfortunately, the Ledbetter effect quickly and silently killed off most of the base personnel. It would make a great weapon, but only six men are left alive to carry on the fight.

Major Ardmore takes command as the highest ranked line officer. His first task is to overcome the depression resulting from the dual shocks of the invasion and the accident. He puts them back to work and then sets out to discover the military situation.

Jeff Thomas is a former lawyer who has spent the past ten years enjoying the life of a hobo. He had stumbled upon the Citadel and then was put to work as the cook's assistant. Now Ardmore sends him outside to scout the sitution.

Returning to the base, Thomas brings a discouraging picture of terror, suppression and regimentation. He does establish working relationships with the local hobos and is soon gathering more information through this informal network. Yet he leaves Ardmore with a conviction that the available military force will not suffice.
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