Juan "Johnnie" Rico decides he wants to be a citizen with full voting rights in the Federation. He joins the military and becomes a Mobile Infantry fighter. While he joins during peacetime, the "Bugs" attack a Federation planet. He learns about being a soldier during the rigors of boot training. Now they are at war and Johnnie is fighting for glory.
Well, perhaps it's not quite that uplifting. Actually, Johnnie joins up on an impulse. The girl that he likes joins up so he does to follow her. He was not accepted into her branch of the military, of course.
Heinlein is a master in the field. This is one of his most acclaimed earlier novels. It is all military. Johnnie tells the story in first person narrative. We learn everything we ever wanted to know from the viewpoint of a foot soldier who is fighting because he is ordered to. The reason of the war remains obscured. He fights battles. Friends die. Others live. The fighting goes on.
Now to be the heretical science fiction reader. I did not get excited over this book. I got really tired of learning the intracacies of boot camp. I was tired of the linear thinking. There were some interesting debates about citizenship and government. Unfortunately, they were few and far between. This is an action novel with no real point. We leave Johnnie still fighting the Bug War. Military life is more understandable. An infantryman goes where he is told and does what he is ordered. He doesn't need to understand why, just carry out the orders.
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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