I don't know how I missed reading this book, growing up....maybe because I was just a school-age child when it was written, and by the time I was a bit older the world had come to recognize that bigger bombs meant total destruction; by then people had stopped talking about building fall-out shelters, with the improbability of survival. I recall a class in "social studies" where our teacher instructed us in the arms race, and the development of "anti-missile-missiles,", and the laughter when he told us that "now we have developed anti-anti-missile-missile-missiles."
This story demonstrates hope in the human spirit, despite the misguided, sometimes evil, actions of others (politicians, heads of nations, corporations?) that could potentially lead us to negative events ("One atomic bomb can ruin your whole day...")In spite of the publication date, it could have been written today, with the threat of terrorists with "suitcase bombs" or other possibilities for generalized destruction of major cities potentially inside of their war chests. The narrator made it an easy, absorbing listen. I enjoyed it immensely.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - As the summary suggests, this book is about how a small band of people in rural Florida survive a nuclear attack by the Russians. It is set sometime in the sixties, I suppose. In the beginning you will be introduced to the main characters and learn about international tension. Then there's an event that slowly escalates into a nuclear attack by the Russians. You will be on the edge of your seat as the story progresses into war. It's creepy to be "in the heads" of the characters as they watch bombs hit nearby Tampa and Orlando and as they realize they've just been pushed back 100 years -- no electricity, communication, etc. The major part of the story is after the bombings as the people band together to survive. They must find food and water, combat radiation sickness and disease, find a way to stop highwaymen from looting, etc. etc.
In my opinion, this story is not depressing, though I will admit it sat in my library for a while before I felt like I was in the mood to hear it. After the bombings, the story changes from exciting to one of human courage and survival. You will love the characters and you will root for them as they face each new challenge. They never dwell on the sadness of their situation. They just think positively, work together and make smart decisions as they move forward.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator does a good job, including some good southern accents and the voice of a radio commentator.
OVERALL - I'd recommend for any adult who's interested in the subject matter. The book is well-written and performed. There's no sex or bad language. It will make you count your blessings.
This story is set in a time of global nuclear threat between the two most powerful nations of the time - the US and the USSR. The term Mutually Assured Destruction is not used in the book so I guess it wasn't in common use at the time. None-the-less, the idea that the two countries would let fly with all their nuclear arsenal was unthinkable. Alas Babylon - in this fictional tale the unthinkable comes to pass. In central Florida, a sleepy small town survives the nuclear holocaust. The story shows the transformation the small town survivors go thru - the sad realities of who can survive in such a resource limited world; how they hunger for news from "the outside"; how they restore order to their lives even when threatened by those that prey upon the weak. I find this a very interesting read and a look at what society looked like and how they behaved in the 1950s.
For a modern version of this type story, read "One Second After" by William Forstchen. The two stories run similar veins - limited resources, threats from outsiders (roaming thugs), a paucity of news from the outside, and the emergence of local leaders that help the community survive.
I recommend Alas Babylon for those looking for a post nuclear apocalypse fiction read.
The "reality" of how a community could survive.
The entire story is so plausible.
This is my first but I look forward to hearing more.
I makes you think of the what ifs.
Yes, I love this book, I wished Pat Frank had written more.
The last paragraph of the book, its amazing. I enjoyed it all, I was enthralled, had to listen several hours every other day. Listened in the car, and at gym.
I like how he does not over-do the voices, its slight, tasteful.
Probably, if I had time.
the story and characters weren't overly interesting, but the premise was interesting enough to keep it interesting.
I really enjoyed this book. It should be a best-seller if its not now. The listener sees everything in their own mind so clearly regarding what is happening. This storyline set back in the dark ages really made me happy I didn't live back in those days!
I ought to read more classic sci-fi. Alas, Babylon has been sitting on my iPod for many, many months, right there with a Henry James novel that I know I ought to read because it would probably be good for me. I thought Alas, Babylon might be a tired story, full of the usual nuclear holocaust situations, and was surprised at how pulled in to the story I was. If you have read a few end-of-the-world books (and even if you haven't), you probably know a thing or two about stocking canned foods, etc., and you won't pick up many new tips here. As always, have a ham radio. But the author did a good job of spelling out the world of the survivors, and made me see how situations would evolve, and how there would be things you didn't quite anticipate. I say this while knowing Pat Frank's science may be a little shaky (fallout?) - for me it did not detract. Also, the characters were reasonably drawn out, and that also held my interest. Will Patton does a great job of narrating, and I wondered if I would have thought that about the characters if I had read the book, and not listened to it. Either way, it's a good book.
I listed to this again recently and I am still moved by the story and the characters. Pat Frank wrote this in 1959 but it still speaks to the human spirit and the will to survive anything. So many end of the world stories show the worst of human nature, but this one shows how humans can work together against terrible odds. Will Patton is an excellent narrator and I always enjoy listening to him! Try this one and I think you will really enjoy both the story and the narrator.
Yes, in fact, I normally read "real" paper books during my lunch break at work but this book was so good I took my iPhone into the break room so that I could stay in the story.
Hard to believe this was written in 1959 although some statements are cringe-worthy due to the culture of those times. Since I live in the Orlando area, I'm familiar with the areas in the book which added an element of enjoyment for me.
Definitely gives one pause and much to think about with regards to war, nuclear catastrophe, community and necessary survival skills. Character and integrity are also important themes in the story. Overall, lots to contemplate, skills to learn and perhaps supplies to acquire should disaster strike.
Will Patton has the perfect voice. I could listen to him read the fine print in prescription ads and be entertained.