William H. Patterson, Jr.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) is generally considered the greatest American SF writer of the twentieth century. A famous and bestselling author in later life, he started as a navy man and graduate of Annapolis who was forced to retire because of tuberculosis. A socialist politician in the 1930s, he became one of the sources of Libertarian politics in the United States in his later years.
His most famous works include the Future History series (stories and novels collected in The Past Through Tomorrow and continued in later novels), Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. He was a friend of admirals and of bestselling writers and artists, and was on the advisory committee that helped Ronald Reagan create the Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative. Given his desire for privacy in the later decades of his life, he was both stranger and more interesting than one could ever have known.
This is the first of two volumes of a major American biography. Robert A. Heinlein: Volume 1 (1907–1948): Learning Curve is about Robert A. Heinlein’s life up to the end of the 1940s and the midlife crisis that changed him forever.
“[Heinlein] made footsteps big enough for a whole country to follow. And it was our country that did it… We proceed down a path marked by his ideas. That’s legacy enough for any man. He showed us where the future is.”
“Like Carlos Baker’s Hemingway, this is an essential and exhaustive life.”
“Patterson offers a meticulous life-portrait of America’s most pivotal science fiction author. In following Robert Heinlein’s journey, step-by-step, we come to understand the persistent themes of his work. Perseverance, compassion, courage, curiosity, and—above all—a drive to confront the future on its own terms, eye-to-eye.”