"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of The Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee..."Starship Troopers is a Military Science-Fiction novel written by Robert A. Heinlein as an argument against a unilateral U.S. ban on nuclear testing, and published in 1959. It waxes Anvilicious on the merits of soldiers being willing to give their lives for their country and the proper merits of a soldier, an officer, and an army and nation as a whole. Heinlein, an ex-naval officer with no combat experience of his own, interviewed infantry soldiers and officers to get the "flavor" of ground combat for his book. The story traces the evolution of Juan "Johnnie" Rico from feckless civilian into an Officer and a Gentleman during the Bug War as a Framing Device and example. Much of the military action in the novel parallels the Pacific campaign of World War II ending at Guadalcanal.Starship Troopers is significant, and controversial, for its description of the Terran Federation's political system. It is a limited democracy, in which only "veterans" of Federal Service are eligible to vote, run for office, hold certain jobs, or even teach some subjects at school. Federal Service must legally accept every volunteer, provided they are legally adult and mentally capable of understanding the oath they are required to take.Long after the novel was published, Heinlein claimed in "Expanded Universe" (1980) that Starship Troopers "stated flatly and more than once" that 95% of the people who become citizens do so by serving their two years in the Federal civil Service, not in the military. However, a famous essay by James Gifford argues that the text of Starship Troopers does not support either this assertion, or the idea of non-military service generally.A film of the novel was made in 1997, although it's a very loose adaptation that departs significantly from the novel in several places. Most notably, the Mobile Infantry of the film does not wear power armor and instead fights more like Hollywood infantry.
— Lt. Col. Jean V. DuBois, M.I. (ret.)
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