I read this book about 23-Feb-2008. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1973. This note was last modified Friday, 01-May-2009 11:58:33 PDT.
This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.
It's very hard not to read a lot of at least opinion into the story of the man too lazy to fail—David Lamb, going through the Naval Academy. Heinlein did, too. Lamb fenced. Heinlein fenced. Heinlein and Lamb also worked in aviation engineering later on (Heinlein didn't fly). And it expresses very negative opinions about the treatment of "plebes" by upperclassmen; in areas that, many years after this was written, became something of a national scandal even.