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Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better (1948-1988)

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Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with his Century: 1948-1988 The Man Who Learned Better: The real-life story of Robert A. Heinlein in the second volume of the authorized biography by William H. Patterson!

Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) is generally considered the greatest American science fiction writer of the twentieth century. His most famous and widely influential works include the Future History series (stories and novels collected in The Past Through Tomorrow and continued in later novels), Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress―all published in the years covered by this volume. He was a friend of admirals, bestselling writers, and artists; became committed to defending the United States during the Cold War; and was on the advisory committee that helped Ronald Reagan create the Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative in the 1980s.

Heinlein was also devoted to space flight and humanity's future in space, and he was a commanding presence to all around him in his lifetime. Given his desire for privacy in the later decades of his life, the revelations in this biography make for riveting reading.

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About the Author:

WILLIAM H. PATTERSON was a lifelong devotee of the works of Robert A. Heinlein, and was chosen by Virginia Heinlein to write Robert Heinlein's official biography. He died on April 22, 2014.

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*Starred Review* This second volume of the authorized biography of arguably the most notable American science-fiction writer covers the second half of his life. In these years, Heinlein was continually exploring new approaches to old sf themes and then pushing the boundaries of the entire field steadily outward with new themes. This phase of his career began with Stranger in a Strange Land (more than 10 years in gestation) and continued to the end of his life. During that period, he battled censorship by stuffy editors, Hollywood directors of questionable ethics, and overly zealous or downright incompetent critics. He also battled a series of health problems that make harrowing reading, and that would probably have had most of us bedridden at an age when Heinlein was taking a cruise through the Arctic’s Northwest Passage. In all his enterprises, he was indispensably partnered with the remarkable Virginia Heinlein, wife, helpmate, organizer, business manager, corresponding secretary, and altogether worthy of a biography in her own right. As is inevitable in an authorized biography, some controversial subjects (such as Heinlein’s politics and his classic Starship Troopers) are presented in the most favorable light, but author Patterson also presents strong, fact-based cases for those interpretations. The research for this biography was clearly both a labor of love and a labor of Hercules, and the result is what must be considered the standard for biographies of a man who in turn must finally be considered a major American writer. --Roland Green

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