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Farnham's Freehold

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  7,841 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Farnham is a self-made man who sees nuclear war coming and who builds a shelter under his house; only to find it thrust into a strange universe when the bomb explodes. In this future world all civilization in the northern hemisphere has long been destroyed, and Farnham and his family are fit to be slaves under the new regime. Heinlein's story is as engrossing now as it was...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published May 1st 1971 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1964)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
Bridge-playing libertarian type gets hit by nuclear weapon and ends up in future world where whites are enslaved by blacks.

Well, you can see why I gave up playing bridge.
Amber
My Heinlein phase is continuing.

If you are easily offended by your views (or societies givens) being challenged or called into question Heinlein is not an author for you.

Heinlein is probably the best author that I have found in the Science Fiction category. His futuristic worlds provide an excellent commentary of our current social life as well as remarkable insight into the human psyche. His characters are multi-dimensional and some of his best characters are very strong women. He writes women...more
Dominick
I'm giving this two stars because I can't give 1.5 and because even worse books like Glory Road deserve the one--or an explicit zero, which unfortunately is not an option. This, however, is pretty bad. Hugh Farnham, right-thinking patriot, is ready for the bombs when they fall, what with his amazingly well-equipped bomb shelter, so even though for no logical reason whatsoever the bombs throw his shelter (along with his family and a couple more hangers-on) forward in time, he's ready to survive,...more
Michael
One of the things about being a book geek is that, sometimes, you enjoy getting together with other book geeks and, well, geeking out about books. Part of this is that you it makes you feel better to know others enjoy reading a particular type of novel or genre as much as you do and that while most of your friends and family find your zealousness for said books frightening, there are others out there who understand. And another big part is that you get recommendations for new books you might not...more
Harv Griffin
Farnham's Freehold is #6 on my list of All Time Favorite Science Fiction Novels. Number six. I probably reread this novel about every three years. Heinlein was clearly having a lot of fun while he wrote it, and that shows. Copyright 1964. Structurally, it's cleaner than Stranger in a Strange Land; although it lacks the brilliance of the first half of Stranger.

My favorite part is the love story between the old guy and his son's date. I probably like that too much.

Nuclear War. Time Travel. Fascina...more
Rick
Sep 17, 2007 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not kids
After reading this book it is rather obvious that it was written with one thing in mind. And that is to stir controversy. This book is not for the feint of heart but I rate it so highly because of Heinlein's talent for weaving an intricate story from just about anything. I will say that the plot certainly does get weak towards the end but I still give this my highest rating just from the joy of reading it and realizing just how controversial this book had to have been at the time of its original...more
Richard Knight
Wow. I've read a lot of books in my day--probably over a 1000--but I've never read a book that dovertailed into being utter garbage like Farnham's Freehold did. It starts off so well until the big twist (Which I'm not really spoiling since it's the only real attraction of this book at this point--blacks are in control of whites). Given that this book was published in the 60s, this would have been huge and inflammatory. Today, it's all hampered by crummy sci-fi elements that are utterly laughable...more
Marcus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aries
Nell'immensa produzione Heinleiniana non tutti i romanzi possono essere pietre miliari o veri e propri capolavori.
Ci sono anche onesti romanzi che si leggono velocemente, anche con piacere, ma che lasciano in bocca il sapore di qualcosa di non cotto a puntino, come una pizza impastata male o mal lievitata.
"La fortezza di Farnham", del 1965, rientra (prevedibilmente) in questa categoria.
Ambientato in piena guerra fredda, ci racconta di una famiglia che si trova ad affrontare nel proprio bunker pe...more
Steve Walker
As an adventure this is not one of Heinlein's better stories, although enjoyable enough. As a treatise on the cold war, racism, slavery, the feminist movement, and morality it truly earns its billing as "the most controversial book in science fiction." Amazingly this story was published in 1961 at the height of tension between USSR and USA; the whole nation was caught up in visions of an apocalyptic nightmare. There were bomb shelters, many as elaborate as the one that Hugh Farnham built in this...more
G.R. Reader
There was an enticing rumor going round at one point that a Blue Club edition of this book existed, with the bridge sequences extended and some rather sexy new ones added. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a hoax. Pity.
Jonathan
This one's out of print. Post apocalyptic/speculative story in which whites are slaves due to nuclear fallout in Northern Hemisphere. It's one of those novels that Heinlein was criticized for... Is it racist? This was during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Hard to say. Read it yourself. You'll have to look it up on Amazon since it's been "unofficially" censored.
Jeff Yoak
Even having read this book before several times, it still blew my socks off. Heinlein's deep look at racism, his typically brilliant characters and one of the cases where he didn't lose interest in his plot all dovetail in a great book.
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land is one of the best sci fi novels ever written and not his only great work.
Farnham's Freehold is from 1964. Set some ten years after it was written, starting off over an American family dinner, world war III breaks out, though the family can just barely make it to the bomb shelter which the head of the family, Hugh, had meticulously prepared. Days later, after three huge bombs have hit a military installation close to the shelter, the family emerges, to find...more
Fred
Written at the height of the Cold War (1964) this book was hard to classify. I shelved it as Alternate History, Post Apocalyptic Fiction, and Science Fiction. The premise is that Hubert Farnham, an American survives a nuclear war between the Soviets and the Americans with his family by hiding out in the bunker that he had built under his house. After three distinct blasts they eventually come out of the bunker to discover that they are in a pristine wilderness and that they have somehow stayed i...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in May 1998.

When I first read this book some years ago, it came over as racist and sexist. Re-reading it, I'm not so sure; I think Heinlein was trying to do something rather more subtle.

Farnham's Freehold starts as a fairly standard post-apocalyptic tale, with a Russian missile attack on the US leading to the Farnham family hiding out in the bunker built by Hugh Farnham and derided by most of the family. Damage to the bunker forces the family - and Barbara, w...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
I have read many of Heinlein's earlier novels (marketed to the YA demographic) in my youth, and then later I absorbed a few of his more well known works (like Stranger...etc.), but this novel is new to me.

When I come to a novel that I haven't yet read, I find it helpful to NOT check reviews or plot spoilers before plunging in. Sometimes, I end up seeing some reviews, but for this novel, a few of the reviews that I took a peak at seemed to be describing two different stories. Now that I am mostly...more
Doug Turnbull
Farnham’s Freehold was copyrighted in 1964 by Robert A. Heinlein and published that same year by G. P. Putnam’s Sons of New York. Initially set in the time in which it was written, at the height of the Cold War, in typical Heinlein fashion, this book starts off with a bang as the main character, Hugh Farnham and his family were blasted 2000 years into the future by a Russian atomic bomb. They survived the event because Hugh had the foresight to build a bomb shelter under his home. How the family...more
Jim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cteames
Those insisting that this book is racist and/or sexist have either not actually read the book in its entirety or are incapable of comprehending satire. To say that Heinlein is sexist or racist because of this book is akin to saying that Mark Twain was a racist because he wrote Huckleberry Finn. Heinlein wrote Freehold to CONDEMN racism and sexism in a shocking, iconoclastic manner. His use of the term "sluts" in context with this book could only be taken offensively by the most puritan-minded su...more
George
Although much of the book is based on a fairly repulsive plot line of what would happen if Blacks were in charge instead of Whites, it's not without any appeal. If I didn't know Heinlein better, I'd suspect this is a subversive subtext suggesting that having blown up the world Whites are indeed reaping what they sowed. But Heinlein was a pulp writer going back to the 30's, and if you read some of that stuff you'll see plenty of other suggestions of deeply embedded racism, which he either held or...more
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lyn
I read an overly simplified summary of this book that went something like this: libertarian veteran saves family in fallout shelter, gets moved forward in time 2,000 years, goes into survivalist mode and then runs into an advanced civilization where black people are the chosen race and who rule over a racially determined slave system. Succinct. This could have been shortened, reducing the first half with all the survivalist development, moving faster to the more interesting second half when the...more
Shayna
I love apocalyptic novels. Give me some canned goods and the end of civilization as we know it and I'm happy. The problem with this particular "Alternate Ending to the Cold War" selection is the dialogue, particularly in the first few chapters, which is ridiculous. The controversy surrounding the book's initial publishing is understandable, but I couldn't help but feel that the controversy was the purpose of the book rather than its result. I wanted so badly to love this book, but I could only...more
Martin Streetman
Sep 08, 2008 Martin Streetman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: AZ Bryon
Recommended to Martin by: Getoffthex.com
I don't even know where to begin or how to describe this book. Part cold war I built a fallout shelter in the basement, part time travel, part survival (conservation), part life in the future. Some very interesting thoughts about revisionist history, religion, freedom, self reliance, and cannibalism. I read it over the weekend, quickly.

A sign I liked:
Farnham's Freehold Trading post & Restaurant, Bar
Free Kittens
Any book accepted as cash
Warning:
Ring Bell. Wait. Advance with your hands up. Stay...more
Ivan
Книгу читать непривычно и тяжело после некоторых прочитанных фильмов и кучи пройденных игр на тему постапокалипсиса. Ведь там обстановка обычно постепенно улучшается, приходит в порядок по сравнению с состоянием краха. Здесь же картина, шаблон ломается много раз.
Герои испытывают апокалипсис опять и опять, но каждый раз по-иному.
И каждый мир рушится вновь и вновь.
Тяжело читать и по той причине, что семья совсем не сплочена, как это обычно происходит.
Нет, здесь происходит разрушение семьи, самых т...more
Michael Nash
A friend of mine once refereed to Farnham's Freehold as "that Heinlein novel about killing black people." This is technically incorrect, as no black people are actually harmed during the course of this book, but I'll concede the point as it's still Heinlein's awkwardly offensive attempt attempt to write a treatise on race relations. It's difficult in the same way that Starship Troopers is difficult; he's tackling a sensitive and complicated topic in a characteristically heavy-handed way.
I usu...more
Sara
Oct 28, 2008 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sara by: my bookshelf
Cards, war and time travel - oh my! I picked this book up to take with me to the bar and read while waiting for a friend...and didn't put it down until I finished it a day later. Hilarious and thought provoking with a tolerable amount of that mushy love stuff. I grok.
John
My favorite Heinlein I've read. In a manner similar to Philip K. Dick, Heinlein manages to brilliantly use sci-fi as a canvas to address timeless social and relationship issues.
Lynn
I really like "end of the world" novels. This one drags just a little in the middle but starts great and finishes satisfactorily.
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre...more
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) The Puppet Masters

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