Rafeeq O.'s Reviews > Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better

Robert A. Heinlein by William H. Patterson Jr.
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it was amazing

The second volume of William H. Patterson's Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with his Century is an enjoyable and informative read for anyone with an interest in Heinlein, and especially those who have read the first volume. I confess that I probably enjoyed the first volume over this one just a hair more, but I believe this is simply a natural product of the material. The details of Heinlein's early period, after all--his naval career, his marriage to Eleanor Curry and then to Leslyn MacDonald, his early political ideas, his entry into the pulps--are less known to most of us than the later period, and for me, at least, they make perhaps the fractionally better read.


Nevertheless, the second half of Heinlein's life is well worth study, and Patterson's heavily footnoted tome provides details large and small, woven together engagingly. Oh, every now and then we might quibble over a turn of phrase that is not quite as adroit as it could be, and yet while reviewers occasionally comment on Patterson's seeming agreement with, say, Heinlein's distaste of Alexei Panshin or H. Bruce Franklin or his support of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, I doubt that the same people would fault him for sympathizing with Heinlein's zeal to defeat the Axis in the Second World War--I myself prefer to allow a biographer his opinions, as I would any other human. And of course the final chapters, detailing Heinlein's decline in health, and ultimate death, and painful--and yet they must be read.


In short, Patterson's two-volume biography of Robert A. Heinlein is wide and deep, an invaluable resource to any reader of the most famous and influential name in modern science fiction, and the second half is as grand a treat as the first.

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March 7, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 8, 2015 – Shelved

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