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He had finished eating and was smoking and picking his teeth, simultaneously; he had evidently been listening. Just ask any trained private. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return And the number of them that drank, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men That is to say that we had the dubious pleasure of folding them, carrying them four miles, and stowing them in a warehouse.

Which it did about three times a week. But I could get back to sleep after one of those mock exercises at once; I had learned to sleep any place, any time — sitting up, standing up, even marching in ranks. Why, I could even sleep through evening parade standing at attention, enjoy the music without being waked by it — and wake instantly at the command to pass in review. I made a very important discovery at Camp Currie.

Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more. Theoretically you were given eight full hours of sack time every night and about an hour and a half after evening chow for your own use. But in fact your night sack time was subject to alerts, to night duty, to field marches, and to acts of God and the whims of those over you, and your evenings, if not ruined by awkward squad or extra duty for minor offenses, were likely to be taken up by shining shoes, doing laundry, swapping haircuts some of us got to be pretty fair barbers but a clean sweep like a billiard ball was acceptable and anybody can do that — not to mention a thousand other chores having to do with equipment, person, and the demands of sergeants.

For example we learned to answer morning roll call with: A man might lie about it and get away with it I did, a couple of times but at least one in our company who pulled that dodge in the face of convincing evidence that he was not recently bathed got scrubbed with stiff brushes and floor soap by his squad mates while a corporal-instructor chaperoned and made helpful suggestions. Or you could play cards. Or, if you actually did have twenty minutes of your very own, you could sleep.

This was a choice very highly thought of; we were always several weeks minus on sleep. I may have given the impression that boot camp was made harder than necessary. This is not correct. It was madca. It was not. It was too scheduled, too intellectual, too efficiently and impersonally organized to be cruelty for the sick pleasure of cruelty; it was planned like surgery for purposes as unimpassioned as those of a surgeon. They looked for skilled and dedicated craftsmen to follow the art of making things as tough as possible for a recruit; a bully is too stupid, himself too emotionally involved, and too likely to grow tired of his fun and slack off, to be efficient.

Still, there may have been bullies among them. Its immediate purpose was to get rid of, run right out of the outfit, those recruits who were too soft or too babyish ever to make Mobile Infantrymen.

It accomplished that, in droves. They dam near ran me out. Our company shrank to platoon size in the first six weeks.

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Some of them were dropped without prejudice and allowed, if they wished, to sweat out their terms in the non-combatant services; others got Bad Conduct Discharges, or Unsatisfactory Performance Discharges, or Medical Discharges. But some of them got fed up, said so loudly, and resigned, forfeiting forever their chances of franchise. It was sort of sad, because we liked Carruthers and hcdid try — so we looked the other way and figured we would never see him again, that he was a cinch for a medical discharge and civilian clothes.

Only I did see him again, long after. He remembered me and wanted to talk old times, as proud of being an alumnus of Camp Currie as Father is of his Harvard accent — he felt that he was a little bit better than the ordinary Navy man. Well, maybe he was. But, much more important than the purpose of carving away the fat quickly and saving the government the training costs of those who would never cut it, was the prime purpose of making as sure as was humanly possible that no cap trooper ever climbed into a capsule for a combat drop unless he was prepared for it — fit, resolute, disciplined, and skilled.

But was boot camp more cruelly hard than was necessary? All I can say to that is this: The next time I have to make a combat drop, I want the men on my flan ks to be graduates of Camp Currie or its Siberian equivalent. But I certainly thought it was a bunch of crumby, vicious nonsense at the time.

Little things — When we were there a week, we were issued undress maroons for parade to supplement the fatigues we had been wearing. Dress and full-dress uniforms came much later. I took my tunic back to the issue shed and complained to the supply sergeant. My company commander says it fits like a tent. I want one that fits. There are just two sizes in this army — too large and too small. Two hours extra duty. Those first six weeks were all hardening up and hazing, with lots of parade drill and lots of route march.

We rested, not by stopping, but by changing pace, slow march, quick march, and trot. Sometimes we went out the full distance, bivouacked and ate field rations, slept in sleeping bags and marched back the next day. But I had learned not to ask silly questions. We halted shortly before dark, three companies, now somewhat abbreviated.

We fonned a battalion parade and marched through it, without music, guards were mounted, and we were dismissed. I immediately looked up Corporal-Instructor Bronski because he was a little easier to deal with than the others Zim had tried out all of the older men as temporary non-coms first and I had inherited a brassard with chevrons on it a couple of days before when our squad leader had folded up and gone to hospital.

When is chow call? Oh, no, sir. Thank you. Maybe one of you can hit a jack rabbit with a rock. But — Well, are we staying here all night? Well, I do declare! Of course you may be a little tired tomorrow. I saluted and went back to my squad. The sheep trick works, too; our whole section, three squads, did it together. You migrate from one condition to the other all night long in sort of a Brownian movement, never quite waking up and never really sound asleep.

All this makes a night about a hundred years long. We turned out at dawn to the familiar shout of: But I did, though it hurt, and twenty minutes later when we hit the trail I merely felt elderly. We all felt cocky and covered with spines. It had been a long night; it was an endless day — and Zim chewed us out for the way we looked on parade and several boots got gigged for failing to shave in the nine whole minutes between the time we fell out after the march and fell back in again for parade.

That night there was a two-hour alert. But eventually I learned to appreciate the homey luxury of two or three dozen wann bodies to snuggle up to, because twelve weeks later they dumped me down raw naked in a primitive area of the Canadian Rockies and I had to make my way forty miles through mountains.

I made it — and hated the Anny every inch of the way. It has to be heads up, on the bounce, and still trying. Starboard gun Port gun Combat training, mostly — combat drill and combat exercises and combat maneuvers, using everything from bare hands to simulated nuclear weapons.

He mellowed quite a bit as a personal teacher, too, becoming merely unbearable instead of downright disgusting — he could be quite patient with silly questions.

I guess this knife throwing is fun What possible use is it? Or maybe not even a knife? What do you do? Just say your prayers and die? Or wade in and make him buy it anyhow? Or just one of these toadstickers, say?

Dangerous even without a knife. Deadly as long as you still have one hand or one foot and are still alive. Best to carry two knives — but get him you must, even barehanded. Then he said softly, "Are you happy in the Infantry, Hendrick? You can resign, you know. Or you should. Did your school have a course in History and Moral Philosophy? Sure — yes, sir. If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cut its head off?

War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him Not killing The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how.

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Which is as it should be. Because in that case you will certainly never make a soldier. Up you come, soldiers! Man stations, on target — Hendrick, you first. This time I want you to throw that knife south of you. South, get it? Not north. That target is due south of you and I want that knife to go in a general southerly direction, at least. Ready on target!

We trained with sticks and we trained with wire lots of nasty things you can improvise with a piece of wire and we learned what can be done with really modem weapons and how to do it and how to service and maintain the equipment — simulated nuclear weapons and infantry rockets and various sorts of gas and poison and incendiary and demolition.

As well as other things maybe best not discussed. But we learned a lot of "obsolete" weapons, too. This was supposed to prepare us to learn to use any aimed weapon and to train us to be on the bounce, alert, ready for anything. I suppose it did.

We used these rifles in field exercises to simulate a lot of deadlier and nastier aimed weapons, too. We used a lot of simulation; we had to. An "explosive" bomb or grenade, against materiel or personnel, would explode just enough to put out a lot of black smoke; another sort of gave off a gas that would make you sneeze and weep that told you that you were dead or paralyzed The rifles used to simulate aimed weapons were loaded with blanks except one in five hundred rounds at random, which was a real bullet.

Yes and no. What that one-in-five-hundred "for real" did was to give us a deep interest in taking cover, especially as we knew that some of the rifles were being fired by instructors who were crack shots and actually trying their best to hit you — if the round happened not to be a blank.

They assured us that they would not intentionally shoot a man in the head That th bullet turned tedious exercises into large-scale Russian roulette; you stop being bored the very first time you hear a slug gowheet!

We laughed at this kid for getting shot where he did The instructors who were not firing rifles did not take cover. They put on white shirts and walked around upright with their silly canes, apparently calmly certain that even a recruit would not intentionally shoot an instructor — which may have been overconfidence on the part of some of them.

In any case we had no instructors wounded or killed by rifle fire. Well, one boy did manage to break his neck taking cover too enthusiastically when they first started shooting at him — but no bullet touched him.

However, by a chain reaction, this matter of rifle bullets and taking cover brought me to my lowest ebb at Camp Currie. Bronski told me to button my lip. So I went to see Zim about it. He told me coldly that I was responsible for what my men did, regardless. Then I got a letter that upset me a lot; my mother finally wrote to me. I was eager at first, for I had never been there before and wanted to make a good impression.

Zim was smart and neat as usual but the expression on his face made him look like Death on a pale horse and he had a mark on his right eye that looked as if it might be shaping up into a shiner — which was impossible, of course.

Of the other three, the one in the middle was Ted Hendrick. But his lip was split and there was blood on his chin and on his shirt and his cap was missing.

He looked wild-eyed. The men on each side of him were boots. They each had rifles; Hendrick did not. One of them was from my squad, a kid named Leivy. He seemed excited and pleased, and slipped me a wink when nobody was looking. Captain Frankel looked surprised. Article nine-one-oh-seven. Disregard of tactical command and doctrine, the team being in simulated combat.

Article nine-one-two-oh. Disobedience of orders, same conditions. If the Captain pleases. The man refused administrative discipline. He insisted on seeing the Battalion Commander. A bedroll lawyer. What was the tactical command and doctrine? They tell stories about men who had been hit while in freeze After breaking freeze, failing to return to it on being so ordered. Recruit Private R-P-seven-nine-six-oh-nine-two-four.

Hendrick, you are deprived of all privileges for thirty days and restricted to your tent when not on duty or at meals, subject only to sanitary necessities. You will serve three hours extra duty each day under the Corporal of the Guard, one hour to be served just before taps, one hour just before reveille, one hour at the time of the noonday meal and in place of it. Your evening meal will be bread and water — as much bread as you can eat. You will serve ten hours extra duty each Sunday, the time to be adjusted to permit you to attend divine services if you so elect.

Oh my! He threw the book. Captain Frankel went on: You have a side? So you would get yourself killed and perhaps your teammates as well because of a few little ants? Young man, let me put you straight. Had it been a nest of rattlesnakes you would still have been expected — and required — to freeze. He hit me! But he hit me with his hands — he knocked me down to the ground and yelled, 'Freeze! Under purely social conditions, that is true — say if we happened to run across each other in a theater or a shop, I would have no more right, as long as you treated me with the respect due my rank, to slap your face than you have to slap mine.

But in line of duty the rule is entirely different — " The Captain swung around in his chair and pointed at some loose-leaf books. Hendrick, I could break your jaw But I would not be responsible to you. I could do more than that. There are circumstances under which a superior officer, commissioned or not, is not only permitted but required to kill an officer or a man under him, without delay and perhaps without warning — and, far from being punished, be commended.

To put a stop to pusillanimous conduct in the face of the enemy, for example. First, they mark the men in authority. But they save thousands of words. Of course he could simply kick you, which would be just as legal and nearly as effective.

But the general in charge of training and discipline thinks that it is more dignified, both for the duty corporal and for you, to snap a late sleeper out of his fog with the impersonal rod of authority. And so do I. Not that it matters what you or I think about it; this is the way we do it. So tell me in your own words why you feel mistreated; I want to get you straightened out. There might even be something in your favor, though I confess that I cannot imagine what it could be.

So I got to my knees, to move over a couple of feet, and I was hit from behind and knocked flat and he yelled at me — and I bounced up and popped him one and he — " "STOP! He stared at Hendrick. I said so. But he hit me first. I popped him and then he hit me again and then — " "Silence! Then he added, "I just want out of this lousy outfit.

Sergeant Zim. He just stood, eyes front and rigid as a statue, nothing moving but his twitching jaw muscles. I looked at him now and saw that it certainly was a shiner — a beaut. Hendrick must have caught him just right. Published and logged, every Sunday morning" "I know they have. I asked simply for the record. They were posted on the bulletin board, too, outside the orderly tent. Nobody paid them much mind — it was just another drill; you could stand still and sleep through it.

About the only thing we noticed, if we noticed anything, was what we called "the thirty-one ways to crash land. The "crash landings" were a worn-out joke, like "reveille oil" and "tent jacks" Now and then somebody boasted, or accused somebody else, of having found a thirty-second way — always something preposterous and usually obscene.

Popping Zim IHang a man for that? Why, almost everybody in the company had taken a swing at Sergeant Zim and some of us had even landed He would take us on after the other instructors had worked us over and we were beginning to feel cocky and pretty good at it — then he would put the polish on. Why, shucks, I once saw Shujumi knock him unconscious. Bronski threw water on him and Zim got up and grinned and shook hands — and threw Shujumi right over the horizon. Captain Frankel looked around, motioned at me.

Flash regimental headquarters. I request and require an officer to sit as a court. Article and name? The face in the screen whistled and looked grim. Anybody out that way in a powered suit?

Less than five minutes later Corporal Jones came bouncing up in a command suit, carrying Corporal Mahmud in his arms. He dropped Mahmud and bounced away just as Lieutenant Spieksma came in.

Accused and witnesses here? Take it, Jake. Hendrick, step forward. Lieutenant Spieksma said briskly: Remanding officer: Captain Ian Frankel, M. The Court: Lieutenant Jacques Spieksma, M. Hendrick, Theodore C. Article Striking his superior officer, the Terran Federation then being in a state of emergency.

I found myself suddenly appointed an "officer of the court" and directed to "remove" the witnesses and have them ready. Zim separated himself from the others and simply waited; Mahmud sat down on the ground and rolled a cigarette — which he had to put out; he was the first one called. In less than twenty minutes all three of them had testified, all telling much the same story Hendrick had. Lieutenant Spieksma said to Hendrick, "Do you wish to cross-examine the witnesses? The Court will assist you, if you so wish.

Do you wish to testily in your own defense? But you are warned that any testimony that you give may be used against you and that you will be subject to cross-examination. What good would it do me? Will you testily in your own defense?

Was the article under which you are charged published to youbefore the time of the alleged offense of which you stand accused? You may answer yes, or no, or stand mute — but you are responsible for your answer under Article which relates to peijury. Any person in the Military Forces who strikes or assaults, or attempts to strike or assault II "Oh, I suppose they did. It was. Having declined to testily, do you have any statement to make in mitigation or extenuation?

Any circumstance which you think might possibly affect the evidence already given? Or anything which might lessen the alleged offense? Such things as being ill, or under drugs or medication.

You are not under oath at this point; you may say anything at all which you t hin k may help you. What the Court is trying to find out is this: Does anything about this matter strike you as being unfair? If so, why? Of course it is! Everything about it is unfair!

He hit me first! No, sir.

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Recruit Private Theodore C. Hendrick, stand forth! The place suddenly felt chilly. They were going to do it to him And I had eaten breakfast beside him just this morning.

The Court wishes to add that your punishment is light simply because this Court possesses no jurisdiction to assign greater punishment. The authority which remanded you specified a field court-martial — why it so chose, this Court will not speculate.

But had you been remanded for general court-martial, it seems certain that the evidence before this Court would have caused a general court to sentence you to hang by the neck until dead.

You are very lucky — and the remanding authority has been most merciful. Court is adjourned. Remove and confine him. At afternoon sick call Captain Frankel took me off orderly and sent me to see the doctor, who sent me back to duty. I got back to my company just in time to dress and fall in for parade — and to get gigged by Zim for "spots on uniform.

Somebody had set up a big post in the parade ground just back of where the adjutant stood. Then they marched him out, between two armed guards, with his hands cuffed together in front of him.

I had never seen a flogging. Back home, while they do it in public of course, they do it back of the Federal Building — and Father had given me strict orders to stay away from there.

I tried disobeying him on it once. Once is too many. The guards lifted his arms and hooked the manacles over a big hook high up on the post. The adjutant said crisply, "Carry out the sentence of the Court. The Sergeant of the Guard made the count. The next thing I knew I was staring up at Corporal Bronski. He was slapping me and looking intently at me. He stopped and asked, "Okay now? All right, back in rank s. Nobody said a word to me about fainting. That no longer mattered at all because I was ready to resign, determined to.

Ted had made a bad mistake, one that lasted all of half a second. And it really had been just a mistake, too, because, while he hated the outfit who liked it? If it could happen to him, it could happen to me. Suppose I slipped? Next day or next week? Not even allowed to resign Tune to admit that I was wrong and Father was right, time to put in that little piece of paper and slink home and tell Father that I was ready to go to Harvard and then go to work in the business — if he would still let me.

Time to see Sergeant Zim, first thing in the morning, and tell him that I had had it. Not Sergeant Zim. After the court-martial was over and Ted had been taken away, he stayed behind and said to Captain Frankel, "May I speak with the Battalion Commander, sir? I was intending to ask you to stay behind for a word. Sit down. There was nobody in the outer office, just a couple of civilian clerks.

I could hear them talking, through the partition I had my head against. Uh, well, maybe I did. Zim said: My tin ear is bothering me again. What in the world happened? You know who goofed — and so do I. I know. You know even better than I do that these kids are wild animals at this stage.

You know the doctrine and the standing orders about article nine-oh-eight-oh — you must never give them a chance to violate it. Explain to me how it was possible for an untrained recruit to hang a mouse on your eye? He should never have laid a hand on you; you should have knocked him cold when you saw what he was up to. Are you slowing down? If true, a combat team is the last place for you.

So what slipped? But I do. The twerps have gone home and those that are left are eager, anxious to please, and on the bounce — as cute as a litter of collie pups. A lot of them will make soldiers.

You liked him So he winds up with a court and the whip and a B. What do you think I was afraid of from the moment I saw you come in here sporting a shiner? But blurt it out he did, to me, in front of witnesses, forcing me to take of official notice of it — and that licked us.

No way to get it off the record, no way to avoid a court Because he has to be flogged; neither you nor I can take it for him, even though the fault was ours. Because the regiment has to see what happens when nine-oh-eight-oh is violated. Our fault Charlie, who do you think pulled your name out of the hat? And why? Think back twelve years. You were a corporal, remember? Where were you?

Right here on this same godforsaken prairie — and I wish I had never come back to it! But it happens to be the most important and the most delicate work in the Anny — turning unspanked young cubs into soldiers.

Who was the worst unspanked young cub in your section? We must not hate them, we must not like them; we must teach them. But if you liked me then — mmm, it seemed to me that you had very strange ways of showing it. Do you still like me? Never mind; I despised you then and I used to dream about ways to get you. But you were always on the bounce and never gave me a chance to buy a nine-oh-eight-oh court of my own. So here I am, thanks to you.

Now to handle your request: You used to have one order that you gave to me over and over again when I was a boot. I got so that I loathed it almost more than anything else you did or said. Do you remember it? You get your instructors together and warn them. For about twenty-four hours those kids will be in a state of shock. Sergeant — that blow must never land!

Understand me? I want them to keep their distance, I want them to have eyes in the backs of their heads. I want them to be as alert as a mouse at a cat show. Bronski — you have a special word with Bronski; he has a tendency to fraternize. Let them know that. Good afternoon, Captain. Charlie — " "Yes, sir? With me sitting here at this desk getting swivel-chair spread? I will not! So I may be a few minutes late for our waltz.

See you later. Captain Frankel was already shouting, "Orderly! Then bounce over to my tent and fetch me a clean dress uniform, cap, side arms, shoes, ribbons — no medals. Lay it out for me here. Without looking up he growled, "Belay that extra duty.

So I had plenty to think about as I lay awake that night. I had known that Sergeant Zim worked hard, but it had never occurred to me that he could possibly be other than completely and smugly self-satisfied with what he did. He looked so smug, so self-assured, so at peace with the world and with himself.

The idea that this invincible robot could feel that he had failed, could feel so deeply and personally disgraced that he wanted to run away, hide his face among strangers, and offer the excuse that his leaving would be "best for the outfit," shook me up as much, and in a way even more, than seeing Ted flogged.

To have Captain Frankel agree with him — as to the seriousness of the failure, I mean — and then rub his nose in it, chew him out. I mean really. A law of nature. But I had to admit that what Sergeant Zim had taken, and swallowed, was so completely humiliating and withering as to make the worst I had ever heard or overhead from a sergeant sound like a love song. The whole incident was so preposterously unlikely that I was never even tempted to mention it to anyone else.

They showed up for evening parade, sauntering over at the last moment and doing nothing that would work up a sweat; they inspected once a week, making private comments to sergeants, comments that invariably meant grief for somebody else, not them; and they decided each week what company had won the honor of guarding the regimental colors. Aside from that, they popped up occasionally on surprise inspections, creased, immaculate, remote, and smelling faintly of cologne — and went away again.

But it appeared that Captain Frankel worked so hard that he skipped meals, was kept so busy with something or other that he complained of lack of exercise and would waste his own free time just to work up a sweat. As for worries, he had honestly seemed to be even more upset at what had happened to Hendrick than Zim had been. But I was sure of one thing: If it was so tough that even the gods-that-be — sergeants and officers — were made unhappy by it, it was certainly too tough for Johnnie!

There were no criminals in our family on either side, none who had even been accused of crime. We were a proud family; the only thing we lacked was citizenship and Father regarded that as no real honor, a vain and useless thing. Timid, I guess. No guts, Johnnie. At least Ted Hendrick had had guts. Or when Mother softened, at least. She had written: But, dearest, that is his way of grieving, since he cannot cry.

You must understand, my darling baby, that he loves you more than life itself — more than he does me — and that you have hurt him very deeply. He tells the world that you are a grown man, capable of making your own decisions, and that he is proud of you.

But that is his own pride speaking, the bitter hurt of a proud man who has been wounded deep in his heart by the one he loves best. You must understand, Juanito, that he does not speak of you and has not written to you because he cannot — not yet, not till his grief becomes bearable.

When it has, I will know it, and then I will intercede for you — and we will all be together again. How could anything her baby boy does anger his mother? Wherever you are, whatever you choose to do, you are always my little boy who bangs his knee and comes running to my lap for comfort. My lap has shrunk, or perhaps you have grown though I have never believed it , but nonetheless it will always be waiting, when you need it.

I hope not. I hope that you will write and tell me so. But I must add that, in view of the terribly long time that you have not written, it is probably best until I let you know otherwise for you to write to me care of your Aunt Eleanora. She will pass it on to me at once — and without causing any more upset.

You understand? I did. And at last I got to sleep We bounced out to the bombing range, the whole regiment, and ran through a simulated exercise, without ammo.

We were wearing full unarmored kit otherwise, including ear-plug receivers, and we had no more than extended when the word came to freeze. We held that freeze for at least an hour — and I mean we held it, barely breathing. A mouse tiptoeing past would have sounded noisy. Something did go past and ran right over me, a coyote I think. I never twitched. There was no point in trying to resign before breakfast anyhow, since I had to see Zim as the first step.

It was an out-and-back, with lunch fetched out to us by copter — an unexpected luxury, since failure to issue field rations before marching usually meant practice starvation except for whatever you had cached Sergeant Zim came out with the rations and he held mail call in the field — which was not an unexpected luxury.

That was yours, and they got it to you by the first transportation available and you could read it at your earliest break, even on maneuvers. So I was surprised when he called my name and held up a letter.

I bounced over and took it. And was surprised again — it was from Mr. Dubois, my high school instructor in History and Moral Philosophy. I would sooner have expected a letter from Santa Claus Then, when I read it, it still seemed like a mistake.

I had to check the address and the return address to convince myself that he had written it and had meant it for me. But not to express surprise it is what I expected of you except, possibly, the additional and very personal bonus that you chose the M.

We necessarily sift a great many pebbles, much sand, for each nugget — but the nuggets are the reward. By now the reason I did not write at once is obvious to you. Many young men, not necessarily through any reprehensible fault, are dropped during recruit training.

You are now going through the hardest part of your service — not the hardest physically though physical hardship will never trouble you again; you now have its measure , but the hardest spiritually Or, rather I should say: But it is that "hump" that counts — and, knowing you, lad, I know that I have waited long enough to be sure that you are past your "hump" or you would be home now.

When you reached that spiritual mountaintop you felt something, a new something. So perhaps you will permit an older comrade to lend you the words, since it often helps to have discrete words.

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Simply this: The words are not mine, of course, as you will recognize. Basic truths cannot change and once a man of insight expresses one of them it is never necessary, no matter how much the world changes, to refonnulate them. This is an immutable, hue everywhere, throughout all time, for all men and all nations. Let me hear from you, please, if you can spare an old man some of your precious sack time to write an occasional letter.

And if you should happen to run across any of my former mates, give them my warmest greetings. Good luck, trooper! JEAN V. The signature was as amazing as the letter itself. Old Sour Mouth a short colonel? Why, our regimental commander was only a major. Dubois had never used any sort of rank around school. Of course we had known that he was a veteran since History and Moral Philosophy must be taught by a citizen.

But an M. Prissy, faintly scornful, a dancing-master type — not one of us apes. Since when does a short colonel call a recruit private "comrade"? When he was plain "Mr. Dubois" and I was one of the kids who had to take his course he hardly seemed to see me — except once when he got me sore by implying that I had too much money and not enough sense.

So my old man could have bought the school and given it to me for Christmas — is that a crime? It was none of his business. He had been droning along about "value," comparing the Marxist theory with the orthodox "use" theory. Dubois had said, "Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous.

All the work one cares to add will not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet.

If he had possessed an analytical mind, he might have formulated the first adequate definition of value Utterly false! This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.

As it is, with some of you, I pity the poverty of your wealth. Does it make you happy? Are you happy? I ripped it off and chucked it at him. Dubois had looked surprised. The prize for first place is worthless to you But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in placing fourth; you earned it. I trust that some of the somnambulists here understood this little morality play.

I fancy that the poet who wrote that song meant to imply that the best things in life must be purchased other than with money — which is true — just as the literal meaning of his words is false. The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion Dubois — Colonel Dubois — say, as well as his extraordinary letter, while we went swinging back toward camp.

Then I stopped thinking because the band dropped back near our position in column and we sang for a while, a French group — " Marseillaise ," of course, and "Madelon" and "Sons of Toil and Danger," and then " Legion Etrangere" and "Mademoiselle from Armentieres. Oh no! It just meant they were allowed and encouraged to do it on their own time, practicing evenings and Sundays and such — and that they got to stmt and countermarch and show off at parade instead of being in ranks with their platoons.

A lot of things that we did were mn that way. Our chaplain, for example, was a boot. And the singing was fun. Besides, there was nowhere else to go on Sunday morning between morning police and lunch. The band suffered a lot of attrition but somehow they always kept it going. The camp owned four sets of pipes and some Scottish uniforms, donated by Lochiel of Cameron whose son had been killed there in training — and one of us boots turned out to be a piper; he had learned it in the Scottish Boy Scouts.

Pretty soon we had four pipers, maybe not good but loud. Pipes seem very odd when you first hear them, and a tyro practicing can set your teeth on edge — it sounds and looks as if he had a cat under his arm, its tail in his mouth, and biting it. The first time our pipers kicked their heels out in front of the band, skirling away at "Alamein Dead," my hair stood up so straight it lifted my cap.

It gets you — makes tears. Tubas and bass drums had to stay behind because a boy in the band had to carry full kit, same as everybody, and could only manage an in strument small enough to add to his load.

But the M. Comes band call when you are headed for the horizon, each bandsman sheds his kit without stopping, his squadmates split it up, and he trots to the column position of the color company and starts blasting. It helps. I suddenly realized I felt good. I tried to think why I did. Because we would be in after a couple of hours and I could resign?

When I had decided to resign, it had indeed given me a measure of peace, quieted down my awful jitters and let me go to sleep. But this was something else — and no reason for it, that I could see. Then I knew. I was over the "hump" that Colonel Dubois had written about. I actually walked over it and started down, swinging easily. The prairie through there was flat as a griddle cake, but just the same I had been plodding wearily uphill all the way out and about halfway back. Then, at some point — I think it was while we were singing — I had passed the hump and it was all downhill.

My kit felt lighter and I was no longer worried. Instead he spoke to me, motioned me to him as we fell out. I noticed — purely by accident, none of my business — the name on the return address. His eyebrows went up an eighth of an inch and his eyes widened slightly. You were extraordinarily fortunate. I think maybe he sent you a message, sir. Yes, it is. For me among others. Thanks very much. And you still have to shower and change. On the bounce, soldier.

Mostly it was simply work, but I was squared away — enough said. No complaints — I rated what I got. Powered armor is one-half the reason we call ourselves "mobile infantry" instead of just "infantry. Our suits give us better eyes, better ears, stronger backs to carry heavier weapons and more ammo , better legs, more intelligence "intelligence" in the military meaning; a man in a suit can be just as stupid as anybody else only he had better not be , more firepower, greater endurance, less vulnerability.

It is not primarily armor — although the Knights of the Round Table were not armored as well as we are. A suit is not a ship but it can fly, a little on the other hand neither spaceships nor atmosphere craft can fight against a man in a suit except by saturation bombing of the area he is in like burning down a house to get one flea!

Contrariwise we can do many things that no ship — air, submersible, or space — can do. What we do is entirely different. We make war as personal as a punch in the nose. We will. We are the boys who go to a particular place, at H-hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die.

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Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Buy the eBook Price: Choose Store. Skip this list. Ratings and Book Reviews 17 star ratings 17 reviews. Overall rating 4.

Yes No Thanks for your feedback! Report as inappropriate. The book is not like the movie. Less focused on war and more on the political system and military training on earth at this time. Interesting read and not very long. This may well be the most misunderstood novel in Heinlein's canon, and that's no mean feat. Unfortunately, the debate over its political system tends to overshadow the basic story of an infantryman at war, which is well worth reading on its own merits. The political system, in which one must spend some time in service to the government before being able to vote, is but one of several ideas Heinlein came up with for taking the franchise out of the hands of those who do not value it enough to use it wisely.

Yes, the story does get a bit preachy at times, especially when exploring such philosophical matters. However, the book occupies a unique place between his "juveniles" and his adult books, and I would recommend it to any SF reader. I thought provoking read! I had seen the movie and always hesitated to read the book. Glad i finally read it!! Critics who call this book "controversial" overlook two fundamental facts: It is about morals, justice and ethics.

Heinlein anticipated the debate over individual responsibility and free-will. How would criminal law work without the concept of retribution, replacing it with the painful, individual decision between rehabilitation and death? Decades before the concept of "selectorate," as described by Bruce B. The ethics of corporal punishment, especially for children, are discussed not in terms of cruelty and revenge, but in terms of careful, surgically applied learning vocabulary.

Teaching is firm and impersonal, good parenting is everything. Starship Troopers does not sell an ultra-conservative world view. Instead, it dismisses collectivist alternatives as unsuitable for free human expression and development. Misguided readers, such as the screen-writers and director of the first film adaptation, do not see this or are not brave enough to propose it to a politically correct audience.

It takes some courage to read and understand. This applies to each and every one of the many books written by Robert Anson Heinlein.

So, been trying to read this since I was a kid, watching a giant cockroach eat the brains of a soldier. The humor is not bad at all morbid, black, of course.

I was pleasantly surprised. And I was bit impressed with the language, sounded almost contemporary, for a book published in the 60s. Things like this had me seriously chuckling: Apparently, the movie initial story was coincidentally similar to this novel, and it had an initially different title. People pointed the similarities to the movie director, who claims heh heh he had never heard of the novel, then he got someone to read the novel and give him a summary.

Minor elements from the novel were now further added to the movie, not least of all the title. And then the director dude decides to satirise the novel with the movie. Yet to see what's worth satirising anyway How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot.

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