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Showing 1-10 of 134 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 229 reviews
on November 17, 2016
Read this fifty years ago. Reread several times. Still special. I did not know why I was touched then, now I (maybe) understand.

The characters, like many of Heinlein's, have stayed with me. This work focuses on personal free will (as do most of Heinlein's books) and the contrast of group submission. Heinlein, like Dick Francis, writes from a moral, ethical base.

Book can be divided into three sections; Thorby as a slave begger, then adopted into a merchant family traveling in space, then found as heir of riches. Each situation reveals the challenge of combining individual freedom with group submission. Where does one stop and the other begin?

Baslim the cripple, buys Thorby in a slave market, on the first page. We learn this is to save him. Thorby feels free as a beggar and then a slave when he is a free trader on ship. Thereafter, as overwhelmingly wealthy, feels totally controlled. Fascinating!

As he released, Thorby is told. - ''There . . . congratulations and welcome to the ranks of free men. I’ve been free a parcel of years now and I predict that you will find it looser but not always more comfortable.” Precious.

This is so skillfully done the reader does not notice the message, just enjoys the story. Great!
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on August 3, 2016
I've never been a huge Heinlein fan. "Stranger in a Strange Land" is, in my opinion, wildly overrated, a cheesy novel absolutely stuck in its own time, while virtually everything he wrote after "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (a very good book) is just self-indulgent, hectoring and consequently dull.
The Future History stories are pretty interesting, as are "Starship Troopers," "Double Star," and other earlier works, despite whiffs of sexism and racism that go deeper than the expected prejudices of the time ("Orphans of the Sky" treats women like disposable livestock).

But there is absolutely no question that Heinlein brought a snappy, writerly sensibility to the field, and his writing and characters (pre-"Mistress," for the most part, at any rate) are lively, richly textured and clever. Like Hemingway and The Beatles, one may not like Heinlein, but one has to acknowledge that he utterly revolutionized his chosen field of artistic endeavor. In that, he was brilliant.

I'd never sampled the juveniles as a kid, instead weaning on Clarke, Bradbury and Le Guin. But I've read a handful of them as an adult and honestly, they may constitute the best work Heinlein ever did. I've just finished "Citizen of the Galaxy" and I place it at the head of the class of the juveniles.

Where in his latter career Heinlein lectured and badgered the reader with his insistence on the correctness of his ideas, "Citizen" is a deeply moral, adventurous, fast-paced and appealing exploration of the broad idea of freedom, seen through various lenses. We see the protagonist, Thorby, as a downtrodden slave; then slave to a more-than-benevolent, if hard-driving, master, Baslim the Cripple; then member of a family of interstellar Free Traders, who live within strictures of their own imposing; a member of the military (a life Heinlein, a Navy veteran, clearly sees as something of an ideal); and finally, living a "dream" life as an impossibly wealthy — but not powerful — heir who is willing to put his comfort and privilege on the line to fight for the freedom of people he does not know.

It seems clear today that faster-than-light travel lies beyond the realm of possibility, but Heinlein offers a shorthand — "rational" and "irrational" space — that, while never explained, just has the feel of plausibility. He is, nearly two decades on from "Orphans," willing to present strong, smart female characters, such as Thorby's cousin Leda and the matriarch of the Free Trader ship, with only the occasional, and slight, resort to sexism.

And while there is a pretty convincing case to be made that some of Heinlein's works, notably "The Sixth Column" and "Farnham's Freehold," are noxiously racist, "Citizen of the Galaxy" is a full-throated, unreserved condemnation of slavery of all kinds. Where "Starship Troopers" begins to verge on late-Heinlein-style lecturing about the military and the duties of citizens, "Citizen" presents an argument against pacifism and a case for ethics and sacrifice with much less bluster, making them far less dyspeptic — and consequently, more thought-provoking.

This is a great book. Although it's considered a "juvenile," perhaps by virtue of its young protagonist, it's a smart, mature book — it even hints at sex! — that is far less "young adult" than many alleged SF classics (think "Ender's Game").

It's too bad Heinlein went down the road he did. Had he progressed, instead, along the lines of "Citizen of the Galaxy," there's no telling what classics he might have penned.
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on April 4, 2017
I don't read books much anymore but I got a new phone and was setting up Kindle Books and I saw that I owned Citizen of the Galaxy (the wife is a bookworm). I first read this book 40 or 50 years ago. I figured I'd read a little and lose interest. Boy was I wrong. This book is riveting from beginning to end. Excellent read.
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on March 20, 2017
This story shows the best and worst of human ideas in a way that grabs emotions and gives hope for all time
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on March 6, 2017
The plot was interesting, but the development was slow and the end was very simple. Maybe I was expecting too much from Mr.Heinlein.
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on January 25, 2001
I've enjoyed Citizen since I was a kid, and I ordered this because it's very rare to see Heinlein's works in hardback. In fact, I have about 30 Heinlein books, and only one in hardback (well, 2 now). BUT, this edition is essentially the normal paperback with a different cover; it's the same size as the paperback and the same pulpy paper (and the type goes too close to the binding). If you're buying this just to replace your paperback version, it's probably not worth it.
Update: Amazon has now changed the description from "Hardcover" to "Library Binding"
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on December 28, 2012
You can tell when a writer tires of pushing out product. Here is one example. Some of the pages are pure Heinlein, ie interesting, making you hunger for the next page. The rest? bah.
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"Citizen of the Galaxy" is one of Heinlein's better-known "Juvenile" science fiction novels. A "Juvenile" science fiction novel is simply a novel in which the protagonist is a young person, and the story is aimed at a younger readership. This kind of story introduced several generations of young readers, myself included, to the science fiction genre. Nonetheless, many of Heinlein's "Juvenile" sci-fi novels are quite readable for adults who are willing to make a few allowances and this novel certainly falls into that category. I had not read this one for many decades and I was curious how well it had stood the test of time and my own maturity. No worries; this is a very enjoyable read, and this novel features many thought-provoking concepts and decent character and story development. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this novel, which I had not read since about the sixth grade.

This is the story of a young man who is captured and sold into slavery in an age in which humans have established a sprawling interstellar society of many planets and governments. On the edges of the stellar frontier slavery has emerged as a pestilential institution. This novel is essentially the story of the protagonist's escape from slavery and search for his own original identity and patrimony. It is a quite enjoyable story with a linear plot and storyline, and a number of unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader's interest throughout. Recommended. RJB.
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on August 22, 2004
Between 1947 and 1959 Robert Heinlein wrote a series of outstanding juvenile science fiction novels, including Rocket Ship Galileo (filmed as Destination Moon in 1950), Space Cadet (which spawned the Tom Corbett TV series), Starship Troopers (basis for the 1997 movie), Starman Jones, and several others. They were all written with respect for real science, in a style that appealed to adult readers as much as teens, with reasonably advanced vocabulary and character development.

One of Heinlein's classic "juvenile" novels in the tradition of Kipling, Dickens, and Stevenson, Citizen of the Galaxy traces the adventures of an apparently orphaned earth boy, Thorby, enslaved on an alien world; his upbringing by Baslim the crippled beggar; his young adult life among the space traders in their unique culture.

To some extent the character relationships, and to a lesser extent the plot, parallel Kipling's KIM. When I first saw Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, I was immediately reminded of Thorby and his predicaments.
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on February 20, 2017
It is tough because I have so many favorites authors. It is easy because for a variety of reasons Mr Heinlein is as good as any of the very best. Better than an easy 99% of all authors. Hard to flat say very best because there are so many different kinds of best. Some of his stuff is hard to recommend because some people decide to be offended by just about anything but Heinlein's writing is almost always good for anyone who reads with an open mind. I wish his wife wrote also because she has to be an impressive person (just from Wikipedia). Heinlein is often mentioned as one of the big three of science fiction but the other two usually mentioned do not rise up to his level. Asimov's science fiction was at least two steps lower, but Asimov's factual writing is on such a high level that his factual stuff (that most people do not know about) IS as good any Heinlein's stuff. Heinlein is the very best Democrat writer that I have ever read. Period dot. Anything he wrote after "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" I do not recommend. His "juvenile" books are not juvenile but they are his very best.

Read Citizen of the Galaxy, and then give it to your sixth or seventh grade children.
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