Starred Review: Robert A. Heinlein, Vol. 2: In Dialogue with His Century, 1948–1988; the Man Who Learned Better by William H. Patterson

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, 1948–1988; the Man Who Learned Better by William H. Patterson“The research for this biography was clearly both a labor of love and a labor of Hercules, and the result is what must be considered the standard for biographies of a man who in turn must finally be considered a major American writer.”

William H. Patterson’s Robert A. Heinlein, Vol. 2: In Dialogue with His Century, 1948–1988; the Man Who Learned Better got a starred review in Booklist!

Here’s the full review, from the May 15 issue:

This second volume of the authorized biography of arguably the most notable American science-fiction writer covers the second half of his life. In these years, Heinlein was continually exploring new approaches to old sf themes and then pushing the boundaries of the entire field steadily outward with new themes. This phase of his career began with Stranger in a Strange Land (more than 10 years in gestation) and continued to the end of his life. During that period, he battled censorship by stuffy editors, Hollywood directors of questionable ethics, and overly zealous or downright incompetent critics. He also battled a series of health problems that make harrowing reading, and that would probably have had most of us bedridden at an age where Heinlein was taking a cruise through the Arctic’s Northwest Passage. In all his enterprises, he was indispensably partnered with the remarkable Virginia Heinlein, wife, helpmate, organizer, business manager, corresponding secretary, and altogether worthy of a biography in her own right. As is inevitable in an authorized biography, some controversial subjects (such as Heinlein’s politics and his classic Starship Troopers) are presented in the most favorable light, but author Patteron also presents strong, factbased cases for those interpretations. The research for this biography was clearly both a labor of love and a labor of Hercules, and the result is what must be considered the standard for biographies of a man who in turn must finally be considered a major American writer.

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, 1948–1988; the Man Who Learned Better will be published on June 3.