Written less than 15 years after the end of World War II, when anti-Communist paranoia was
reaching fever-pitch in the United States, this book is very much a product of its time. Originally
planned for a juvenile audience, Starship Troopers has become a classic of hard science fiction,
albeit a controversial one. Heinlein creates a future society where citizenship must be earned through
military service, and although there are a number of exciting scenes of battle, much of the book is
taken up with an exploration of the philosophical ramifications of such a society. The book discusses
the necessity of warfare to moral development and the importance of beating children in order to
make them into good citizens. Heinlein's political theory is quite unpalatable and occasionally
irresponsible. However, the book is frequently exciting, and the details of the society are fascinating.
This is an entertaining and thought-provoking book, but it should not be used as a political
manifesto. The most interesting feature of Starship Troopers is its fascinating glimpse into America's
struggle for a postwar identity, told as a heroic tale of interstellar conflict.