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All of the above, plus it reveals some interesting and often disturbing insights into the human psyche. For example: how idol worship occurs and what happens when it goes wrong; charity vs. greed; why we laugh...

The original text is about 220,000 words long. Thanks to the publisher's fear about producing what some may consider a controversial work, Mr. Heinlein was pressured to edit this down to a little more than 160,000 words. It was this edited version that was first printed in 1961.

This book was banned for many years during the turbulent 1960's- a very noticeable omission in the preface to the 30th anniversary uncut edition (1991, Ace/Putnam).