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Take Back Your Government Paperback – July 1, 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein (1907 1988) is widely recognized as one of the greatest science fiction authors of all time, a status confirmed in 1974 when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America gave him their first Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. A four-time Hugo Award winner, Heinlein is best known for works including Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and the sensational bestseller Stranger in a Strange Land. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Printing edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671721577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671721572
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,647,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Conrad Chaffee on June 11, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Heinlein fan, I thought that I had read all his published work, and was saddened to think that there was nothing left. So I was delighted to find this book on Amazon, immediately ordered it, and just finished reading it.
As a book of practical advice, instead of entertainment, it will probably never achieve the popularity of any of his fictional works. However, if you have enjoyed these, not just for their plots and scope, but also for their philosophical and political musings; if you have been inspired by his optimism and his faith in the basic decency of his fellow men; and most of all, if you would like to apply that optimism to the world around you, then this book is by all means for you.
However.
If you can find a copy without Pournelle's introduction and notes, buy that instead. If you must buy this version, try not to let his views get you down. Before reading this book, I had nothing against Jerry Pournelle- in fact, I had read, and quite enjoyed, some of his SF work. So I was very dissappointed to find that here, not only does Pournelle fill his comments with his own political views, something Heinlein is meticulously careful to aviod throughout the book, but he also contradicts the entire message of the book. Heinlein cries "Take Back Your Government!"; Pournelle tells us that this is obsolete, that things have changed, that it's too hard, it's no good to bother. At first I thought that Pournelle was one of the cynics that Heinlein was arguing against. But rereading his comments, I found that I was being too harsh. Pournelle genuinely likes, and supports, what Heinlein said- he just doesn't think that it would work. Not today, at least.
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Format: Paperback
Heinlein wrote Take Back Your Government (originally entitled, How to be a Politician) in the months following the end of World War II, at a time when he felt an urgent need to warn the U.S. populace about the arms race. Heinlein himself referred to that time as his `world saving' phase. Given the tenor of Take Back Your Government, Heinlein might have felt concern over the way the Truman administration was handling any number of situations in the wake of the war (this was written as everyone was witnessing radical and sometimes painful postbellum changes: housing shortages, spiraling inflation, epidemic labor strikes, Taft-Hartley, the Marshall Plan and other outlays of foreign aid, the National Security Act, the creation of the United Nations and many other things). And perhaps Heinlein had a little more faith in the wisdom of ordinary citizens acting in their enlightened self interest during this period of gearing down from World War II and ratchetting up to a new Cold War footing. To this end, he penned what amounts to a manual for citizens who wished to get involved in politics at the precinct level.
Although we all know Robert Heinlein best as one of the truly great authors of speculative fiction, it is in the pages of Take Back Your Government that he shares with us his considerable know-how in the field of politics. In the 1930's, before he became a professional writer, Heinlein got thoroughly involved in California politics (as a Democrat!), both turning out copy for Sinclair Lewis' gubernatorial bid and himself running for a seat in the state legislature.
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Format: Paperback
Many have noted Heinlein's strong political statements that suffuse many of his books, from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to Starship Troopers. Few, however, seem to note the knowledge of the political process that he displays in many of these works, or worse, think his portrayal of such processes is incorrect or not founded in reality. Here in this book of practical advice we can see from what point Heinlein got this knowledge, without much in the way of Heinlein's own political philosophy, though with some very strong opinions about various `types' of people who help shape the political process.

Heinlein was, at one point, associated with Sinclair Lewis and his EPIC (End Poverty in California) program, and ran for the California legislature in 1938 on the Democratic (!) ticket. He didn't win, but his experience from that time is the base material from which this book is derived. Written in 1946, just after the close of WWII, this book was part of several items he wrote at that time both as a method for breaking out of the `pulp' markets and because he felt that he could offer advice and warnings to America that were (in his mind) desperately needed. Most of the material from this period did not find a publishing market, and this work wasn't published until 1992, not because they were poorly written, but because there was little interest in such material then.

Heinlein looks at (American) politics from the most basic level, that of the individual voter. Grabbing this voter's attention and vote is the prime focus of this work.
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