In one of Heinlein’s stories, a character awakes after having been in suspended animation for many years and catches up on what he’s missed by spending a few hours reading a history book, then remarks on how much time he would have wasted had he read a newspaper every day for all that time, reading about matters too ephemeral to make the history books.


The closest story I can find by Heinlein that matches your question is 'FOR US, THE LIVING: A Comedy of Customs' (pub.2003).

It concern our protagonist waking up 150 years after apparently dying in a car crash. Although I cannot find a quote matching your question, the protagonist does catch up on history by means of a few history books (and one evening spent with a history professor). In fact, this catching up is the main bulk of the story (it's far from his best work).

"Where do we start?"

"I can’t decide what you are to do about anything, but it seems to me that the very first thing to do is to bring you up to date so that you will fit in twenty-eighty-six. It is a rather different world. You must learn a lot of new customs and a century-and-a-half of history and a number of new techniques and so forth. When you are up to date, you can decide for yourself what you want to do – and then you can do anything you want."

"It sounds to me as if I’d be too old to want to do anything by that time."

  • 3
    I tried to read For Us, the Living once but gave up. This question reminds me of The Door into Summer but the hero of that one spends many hours reading old newspapers. – user14111 Aug 3 '19 at 22:19
  • @user14111, it is indeed a bit of a slog. It works more as an essay on how Heinlein thinks the world will progress in that timeframe than it does a work of fiction. – user118610 Aug 3 '19 at 23:24

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