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Finished the Book 
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Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 2:10 pm
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Post Finished the Book
I finished the reading Bill Patterson's RAH bio about a week ago, and have plans to write about the "Connections" that I made to other books and people, during and after reading, but it will take a few more days to get to that. For now, a few impressions:

Overall, I loved the book. I think it's very well written and despite the fact that it's what I would call a "documentary" biography (organized as facts in chronological order) Patterson has managed to make it a good story.

I am avid reader of biographies and believe this one could be pretty valuable and entertaining for someone who knew little about Heinlein or science fiction but had an intelligent interest in the history of America in the 20th century. Patterson has succeeded, in my view, in showing the theme "In Dialogue With His Century" throughout.

As a dedicated Heinlein reader I would have enjoyed more "literary biography" material, diectly linking RAH life events with the texts he was producing at the time. Certainly there is some of that, but often one has to make these connections through detailed knowledge of these texts, which some readers will not have. However, it seems to me that Patterson was deliberately not taking that route--the theme of the book is the events of the man's life, and the relation and influence of that life on his time, his nation and humanity.

The author has succeeded in what he set out to do, and I eagerly await Volume 2.

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Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:03 pm
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Post Re: Finished the Book
My understanding is that the publisher insisted on removing anything from the biography that smacked of literary analysis.

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Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:52 pm
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Post Re: Finished the Book
That makes sense. There are times when one feels that it is getting close--there are several instances of RAH life events and world news that one can recognize as the seed of something in a work but they're generally touched lightly. I am planning to explore some of these more deeply in an essay or three.

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Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:12 am
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 am
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Post Re: Finished the Book
Of course, there are different ways of writing biographies, but someone had to do it documentary style. Now we can eagerly wait the more literary-style biographers.

RobertPearson wrote:
I finished the reading Bill Patterson's RAH bio about a week ago, and have plans to write about the "Connections" that I made to other books and people, during and after reading, but it will take a few more days to get to that. For now, a few impressions:

Overall, I loved the book. I think it's very well written and despite the fact that it's what I would call a "documentary" biography (organized as facts in chronological order) Patterson has managed to make it a good story.

I am avid reader of biographies and believe this one could be pretty valuable and entertaining for someone who knew little about Heinlein or science fiction but had an intelligent interest in the history of America in the 20th century. Patterson has succeeded, in my view, in showing the theme "In Dialogue With His Century" throughout.

As a dedicated Heinlein reader I would have enjoyed more "literary biography" material, diectly linking RAH life events with the texts he was producing at the time. Certainly there is some of that, but often one has to make these connections through detailed knowledge of these texts, which some readers will not have. However, it seems to me that Patterson was deliberately not taking that route--the theme of the book is the events of the man's life, and the relation and influence of that life on his time, his nation and humanity.

The author has succeeded in what he set out to do, and I eagerly await Volume 2.


Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:53 pm
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Post Re: Finished the Book
I don't want or need to write a review so this thread seemed more appropriate. I hope Robert doesn't mind me tagging on.

I finished reading the biography yesterday. I enjoyed it very much. Before starting it, I probably knew as much about Heinlein as the average fan. Now I know a tremendous amount more. I very much appreciated the careful research that was evident throughout but also the clear, easy style that made it a pleasure to read. Unfortunately, I didn't figure out until I was well into the book that the only way to effectively use the extensive notes in the back of the book was to have two bookmarks in the different sections of the book. I liked having the extra information that was in some of the notes.

The only real negative to the experience is that now I have to wait for Volume Two.

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Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:08 am
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Post Re: Finished the Book
Blackhawk wrote:
I don't want or need to write a review so this thread seemed more appropriate. I hope Robert doesn't mind me tagging on (...)

Unfortunately, I didn't figure out until I was well into the book that the only way to effectively use the extensive notes in the back of the book was to have two bookmarks in the different sections of the book. I liked having the extra information that was in some of the notes.


I don't mind at all. I found the same thing--this is a book that bears careful reading of the notes, so keep a bookmark in the back!

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"There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."


Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:29 am
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