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Farnham's Freehold

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  10,765 ratings  ·  379 reviews
Hugh Farnham was a practical, self-made man, and when he saw the clouds of nuclear war gathering, he built a bomb shelter under his house, hoping for peace and preparing for war. What he hadn't expected was that when the apocalypse came, a thermonuclear blast would tear apart the fabric of time and hurl his shelter across two thousand years into a future both strange and a ...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by Baen Books (first published November 1st 1964)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,765 ratings  ·  379 reviews

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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.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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.


This could have been shortened, reducing the first half with all the survivalist development, moving faster to the more interesting second half when the
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Glory Road, this is almost 2 books. The first one focuses on the Cold War, an atomic attack, & then a survival story. I liked it a lot. RAH actually managed some subtlety with his characters at times. They weren't all perfect & some of the imperfections were well used later in the book. For instance, Karen's perfection was marred by her aping black slave speech that was common to older movies of the time & it's brought up later to great advantage.

It's at least partially autobio
Apr 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
This isn't my favorite book by Heinlein, but it certainly isn't my least favorite (that honor is held by "The Number of the Beast" or "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls"). I give it 4 stars - should be 3.5 - because it has a lot of good ideas running through it, although it isn't as well written as many of his novels. Still, I really liked it as a teen back in the 70's. Like "Stranger in a Strange Land", it hasn't aged as well, though.

Written at the height of the cold war, back before the civil ri
There aren’t many better recommendations for a book than ‘Sick as a dog but couldn’t put it down’. This is one of those.

It works for survivalists, bridge players, parallel worldists, philosophers, post-catastrophists, cannibals looking for new recipes and anybody with Woody Allen’s tastes.

It’s gotta be a fav of his. Those naked young things in the bunker with the middle-aged unattractive but pizazzy leader, one his daughter. Although his daughter confesses of the three breeding partners availabl
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Old dudes with hot younger girlfriends (i.e. every dude in a Heinlein novel)
This book has some notoriety among Heinlein's legions of critics for being a "reverse racism" story in which a group of white people (and their one black house-servant) are blasted thousands of years forward in time by a nuclear war, and find themselves in a future ruled by black overlords, served by an underclass of subservient whites.

Farnham's Freehold is actually not that bad, nor is the narrative message as ham-fisted as I expected; Heinlein was a progressive for his time, and notwithstandin
David Joseph  Mikels
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author is a GENIUS, every bit as good as Stranger in a Strange Land.

I have plans on rereading this book in a few months after the mega trip of knowledge sinks in a little for a deeper insight-the man was years ahead of his time

Plan on rereading this agin
Richard Knight
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Doug Turnbull
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Nuno Ribeiro
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _fiction
Everything I can say is a spoiler. When I picked up the book, I knew nothing about it. And everything about it was surprising. So, I'll hide my review from those that do not want the surprise to be spoiled. Those who have read it, go ahed. (view spoiler) ...more
Harv Griffin
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

2016: Probably this is one of the books that stimulated the best conversations with kids when we read it. They really latched on to the ideas of racism and slavery as seen in the book. It was so brilliant of Heinlein not only to have blacks lording over whites in
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read Farnham's Freehold because Wikipedia described it as a racist anti-racist book, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Here are the relevant quotes from Wikipedia so we start out on the same page:

The SF Site described Freehold as "a difficult book", and stated that "(a)t best, (it) is an uncomfortable book with some good points mixed in with the bad, like an elderly relative (who) can give good advice and in the next breath go off on some racist or sexist rant. At worst, Farnha
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This novel starts off with a bang - literally an atomic one. Libertarian veteran Hugh Farnham, family and guests are playing bridge when Hugh gets wind of an attack and hustles everyone into his fallout shelter. A third blast sends them all 2000 years into the future.

The first half of the novel is group survival and interrelations. Just as things begin to fracture the second half occurs, part racist dystopia and part Time Machine. I found neither half particularly well written, but felt compelle
G.R. Reader
May 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
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.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I had finally gotten around to reading this novel a couple of years or so ago and was not that impressed with it. I read it again yesterday on a whim, and my thoughts on the novel really had not improved that much. I would give it 1.5 stars [maybe] but as I cannot give 1/2 star ratings I am going to drop it down to a 1-star [it does not rate 2]. The book starts off with [some] promise of potential 'greatness' but falls flat on its face about 1/3rd of the way through [in my opinion].

The characte
Babak Fakhamzadeh
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Bob Schnell
Somehow this Heinlein book escaped me back when I was reading SF almost exclusively. It may have been "Science fiction's most controversial novel" back in 1964 but now seems racist, misogynistic and quite outdated. A group of six friends and family get catapulted 2,000 years in the future when their bomb shelter gets nuked. In this future, white people serve black masters, young white women are called sluts, the men are studs (until they get too old and are then castrated)and everyone drinks a p ...more
Steve Walker
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Robert A. Heinlein wanted so much to not be racist, and this is the book that shows him trying so damned hard, and yet failing.

The plot, in which suburban white folk from 1960s America are transported to a future in which dark-skinned people have the upper hand, is a fairly obvious morality play. Heinlein seems to obsess over showing off how he thinks white/black racism is kind of stupid. But in doing so, he depicts the African master race with unintentional stereotyping that's pretty damned of
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ernest Hogan
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Robert A. Heinlein is not a Nazi. He is not a racist. He is also not a god. FARNHAM'S FREEHOLD is of, by and for the American white middle class of a half-century ago. It also challenges concepts of what is, can, and should be. Science fiction used to do that all the time. It needs to start doing it more, again.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What I know of Robert A. Heinlein, the author wasn’t the most facile and uncontroversial kind of guy. Nevertheless he wrote some masterpieces of Science Fiction. “Farnham’s Freehold”, kindly spoken, does definitely not belong to his better works. In fact, it combines the worst prejudices of the Sixties with a total lack of originality. The plot is most simple: A bunch of people in a vault gets catapulted into future by third world war bombs.The only unusual thing there is that black people have ...more
Nancy Mills
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 stars on the writing style, 4+ on the theme, which is unique, imaginative and enough of a metaphor regarding our own society as to be disturbing and thought provoking. In flipping the traditional racial roles, the author points out that people are people and that it is position that dictates the abuse of power, not race. The selective breeding of the lower classes and the assignment of roles is interesting. Could be a cautionary tale of what might happen in some event where our world is turned ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this fairly wacky tale Heinlein manages to combine nuclear war, a bomb shelter, racism, and time travel. If that is not enough to give a reader literary indigestion, I don't know what is. He made it work though and I read the book quickly and with enjoyment.

Of course his protagonist is a bossy, know-it-all man as usual but there are a few worthy female characters. After the time jump, he creates a scenario where the blacks have the power and the whites are the slaves. I found his views on ra
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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
“If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire his courage but not his judgement.” 98 likes
“...a book need never die and should not be killed; books were the immortal part of man.” 30 likes
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