Before reading Alas, Babylon, I read the non-fiction and now partially discredited book Last Train from Hiroshima. I imagine this has largely effected my reaction to Frank's fictional account of life in Florida after nuclear bombs are dropped on the U.S. The horrors that Charles Pellegrino describes in his factual account of the aftermath of the bombs that fell on Nagasaki and Hiroshima are unforgettable and the suffering inflicted on the survivors, almost unimaginable.
Frank's story is much more removed from that sort of horror, which is fine. That's an artistic choice that makes this book more readable than Pelegrino's factual account. However, Frank ultimately seems to indicate that being forced into a lifestyle that largely resembles something from a different century might not be such an awful thing. The fussy, overly civilized types will all be wiped out as will the infirm and the impractical. The implication that there is an upside of nuclear holocaust was disturbing. Perhaps it is that sort of optimism that makes this book somewhat dated.
The story is actually an engaging one, but the subtext is disturbing if one gives it much thought.
"Last Train from Hiroshima" has been discredited because one of the sources, Joseph Fuoco, turned out not to have witnessed the bomb blast but was an impostor. It is sad because Pellegrinio's book aside from the parts Fuoco describes, is really excellent.
Mu favorites are paranormal, supernatural, post-apocalyptic, and horror!
I liked this book because i love Post Apoc books, movies, stories, etc. However, i don't agree with the excellent/ astonishing/ fantastic reviews listed here. I did not find the story to be exciting, gripping, or even all that interesting. There weren't any characters that really stood out or were of that much interest to me - until about the last chapter.And even then, there was not enough focus on that character to get excited. I had to start the audio over about 10 times before i could make myself pay attention and get into it. So far, this is my least favorite post apoc book i have read. Still, It is not a bad book by any means. It just meanders along as it describes what the world would be like after a nuclear attack. It is much less imaginative than many other post apoc stories and i really do not understand the outstanding reviews here. In my opinion, it is an average tale. Perhaps my expectations were just too high after viewing the ratings and reviews listed here? I was really looking forward to reading this and now i am not sure why. I liked it well enough, but i doubt i will ever listen to it again. I liked PATRIOTS by James Wesley Rawles 100x better than this.
I wrote and presented a book report of this book in high school several decades ago. My conclusion was that humanity can survive any catastrophe. Except for the case of shear luck, I don't believe that any more. This book represents what might happen in a somewhat "limited" nuclear war circa 1959. The characters are compelling and likable and the tale is interesting. What disturbed me about the time was the existing racism and segregation. That racism permiated the south at the time the book was written. On another note, the narration went from pretty good to aggravating. At times, I got the impression the narrator was sucking on a cough drop while reading. However, i found the narration to be quite good most of the time. All in all, I recommend the book if you find apocalyptic tales interesting.
I was searching for something to listen to and I came across Alas, Babylon sandwiched between Fitgerald and Hemingway under "Classics" It definitely is not. The prose is average and the plot is slow.
let us be thankful for the fools but for them we would not suceeed. M Twain. I am a fan of Zombie books. Im a family man with two great kids
I did like the uplifting feel of the book but wonder how likely it would be to unfold this way in real life after a nuclear war.
The love of the US military even after they had been a party in the destruction of their world, i found an interesting premise.
Is that a result of the 1950's cold war propaganda influence upon the psyche at that time ?
Never the less i liked the characters especially Randy and his strong morals. I enjoyed the narrators style.
Would have liked to hear more about the towns reaction to the hanging of the Highway Man. Just seemed to be breezed over.....
Overall i never felt this was a dated story and enjoyed their ingenuity in solving various difficulties.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I opted for this novel because of North Korea's recent threats concerning its nuclear capabilities. Frank's 2005 book begins just before the US and Russia's nuclear holocaust and focuses on a small inland Florida community in the months thereafter.
The carefully thought-out details resulting from devastating shortages--salt and batteries, for example--and how the survivors deal with the loss of communication with other areas of the country are fascinating. Does the United States still exist? How do we feed ourselves and protect our loved ones from roaming highwaymen? What do we do without antibiotics, insulin, and anesthesia? What happens when the town's only doctor is savagely beaten by addicts who steal his meager supplies? How do we keep ourselves warm? On and on.
In a world without fuel-powered transportation, electricity, money, and the comforts we take for granted, the protagonists depend upon their ingenuity, common sense, and courage, and they strengthen the bonds of family and cooperation with neighbors so they can survive.
Effusive praise cannot do justice to Will Patton's narration. He puts you right there with the characters--men, women, black, white, young, and old, of every background. It was amazing.
Listening to this book was an unforgettable experience.
Yes, great survival lessons embedded in the story.
One second after. A reviewer of that book suggested this one instead. Thanks!
character voices and pronunciations.
If you read this book and were told it was written ion 2012/2013, you would not flinch. In fact it was written n the 1950's, yet it was not dated in its story. Great points about use of cash, material items and finally food as the ultimate currency. Likely true throughout time.
Say something about yourself!
note to self: see what else this writer has done and get it sight unseen.
In respect fro pat I should write a glowing review. in respect for pat someone who can write should do it...
word count again. hey its in Florida too even better! Cant vote but its got the creepy, carnivores thing going on with swamps, spanish moss hanging from low hanging live oaks covered in spider webs.
what happens to those spiders when that web wraps around your face?
Welcome to Florida! Come on vacation , leave on probation.
WARNING: the blurb characterizes this as a "true modern masterpiece." NOT TRUE. This book was written in 1959. It is extremely dated. An interesting look at how society used to think, with its references to ongoing segregation in the South, and use of the "N" word.
If you are looking for a historical view of what a nuclear holocaust was thought to be in the late 50s, this is your book. But it is FAR from "modern."
The story is well written, and well narrated. Some of the technical parts are downright laughable in hindsight.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Will Patton's voice makes this the only way to go for this book. He has the right nuances and cadences to each of the wonderful characters in this book of a Southern Apocalypse. I don't believe just reading the book would do it justice.
Earth Abides comes to mind because I listened to that a few years ago. They both tell the stories of survivors of an earth ending event. I liked Alas, Babylon better, only because I thought it was a little more reasonable than Earth Abides, but EA does take place over decades while Alas, Babylon is only a few months. Both are wonderful stories!
Will Patton is one of my favorite narrators, I find myself searching for more books he has done. I think my next one of his will be Deliverance. He never lets you down.
I think when Helen makes a pass at Randy and he doesn't know how to handle it, but Lib does and explains to him what is going on in Helen's head. I liked the way it was handled with dignity and strength.
This story was written in 1959 so the story could come off as a little dated, but then I look at the world today with North Korea and Iran desperately trying to show themselves as nuclear powers and I think how pertinent this story still is. Take the time to listen to this gem.