Books make the world a better place
This audiobook is interesting. The story gives the listener a lot to think about. Even if there isn't a nuclear holocaust there are numerous natural disasters that can bring about conditions where one may find himself/herself without resources and/or the necessities most people are used to. It makes one wonder what he/she might do if such a tragedy were to suddenly decimate or destroy life and living as we know it. The characters in the book had done little to no preparation but yet they managed to adapt and survive, granted they were lucky enough to have been within a radiation-safe zone.
After listening to this audiobook I find myself wondering how well I might be able to adapt, what I might do if my family was lost and how I might cope, knowing the world had regressed hundreds of years and was for all intents and purposes, 'poisoned' for thousands more. Disaster is devastating. Reading about it is one level of fear but this audiobook made me really think about nuclear war and the end of the world. I admit I am truly, wholly and unbelievably terrified...Alas, Babylon!!!
This was a fast paced, detailed story that really had me wanting to know how they would face the next set of challenges. At times a found some of the details hard to believe but enjoyed the story overall. The performance by Will Patton was just as good as his usual stellar readings.
Nuclear war aftermath
Makes me think of the TV movie "the day after" although I can't remember much about the movie!
Will Patton does an excellent reading performance, projecting a steely gravity that has a 1950s feel to it, appropriate to the subject. This provides an authentic feel that it is unlikely many of us could match if we were to read the book silently to ourselves from the page.
The most interesting person is probably the hero, Randy Bragg, who at the outset of the story is something of a light-hearted joker. He is a young man who has not yet faced any real challenges, but this state of affairs is about to change radically. When it does, he rises to the occasion, while retaining his likeability. Characerisation is not really the author's strongest suit, nor does it need to be in this story. Still, the overall array of characters is believably enought drawn in.
The real interest of this book is in the way that it tackles its theme. Those listeners who lived through the years of the 'Cold War' will remember well the fear that we all had of the day that 'the button would be pushed', unleashing nuclear war across the globe. Well, Pat Frank actually traces out a scenario of what would happen to a small rural community in America if this were to eventuate. He tackles the subject soberly, without exaggerations or frills - but grippingly, nonetheless. He is clearly informed as to his facts, althought it is apparent that, writing as he was in the 1950s, he lacked the help of the army of researchers that nowadays assist with the writing of thrillers tackling such large subjects. In fact, the broader, international context to the events of the book is in the background most of the time, though it is never forgotten. The story events themselves are only marginally concerned with the more spectacular effects of nuclear war, the intial explosions, blindness caused by seeing the flash from the bombs, radiation sickness and the like. Primarily, this is the story of what happens as a small community, out of range of the initial effects but still classified as lying within a contaminated zone, loses bit by bit the things that C20th people rely on and take for granted in their lives. First lectricity goes, and soon afterwards petrol and one sort of food after another. Then it is water, then medical care... the list goes on. How do people respond, and is there an inexorable downward spiral in values as desperation increases, or do some rise above the circumstances? In a sense, these are old questions, but they have not often been seen against such a complete and sudden trauma as happens here. The other interesting thing about this book is the detailed view we get of the way of life and the values of the 1950s. We have grown accustomed to thinking of this era in retrospect (for example, Stephen King recreated it in detail in his recent book 11.22.63, and the comparisons in the two portrayals are fascinatiog).
I read “One Second After” just after reading this book and it was neat to read them together. These are great books and a must read for any armchair political scientists.
These stories are also wonderful apocalyptic stories for those that couldn’t care less about political science.
The best thing about this book? The narration, pure, plain and simple. The way Will Patton bends the timbre of his voice around the words of the story almost steals your attention away from the novel. The overall story is also excellent. Well paced with just the right amount of tension, poignant moments and even romance; it was a very easy listen. In today's world of terrorist suicide bombs and chemical/germ warfare, the Russian Nuclear Threat storyline seems almost quaint.
The only real issue I had with this book and why I say it is very obvious it was written in the 50s is the role the Henry family plays in the story. As the only black family represented in the book, they are viewed in an extremely paternalistic way by the main character. Also, their only reason for existing seems to be to provide for the main character and his adopted family. In a world suddenly plunged into starvation and deprivation , water, chickens, hogs, vegetables and even a life is given by/taken from the Henrys to accommodate Randy Bragg. He seems to expect these sacrifices as his due.
Still, overall, this book is definitely a riveting listen that I would recommend with no reservation.
I chose this title because I so enjoyed another book read by Will Patton. Again, he effortlessly brings life to a wide range of characters in this story of nuclear holocaust aftermath. Written over 50 years ago it feels as if it could have been last week as the results would be the same. With all our technology we are still dependent on the good will of each other in the end. How people survive or don't in the face of enormous challenge is told through the story of the Bragg family. I came to care for 13 year old Ben Franklin as well as his Uncle Randy and many other residents of the ironically named Fort Repose, Florida. Human nature is explored in all it's ugliness and resilience. Racial divides collapse as skills trump color in an emergency. A satisfying read, I mean "listen", on many levels. Chilling and yet heartening.
I did not write a review when I finished the book but a year or two later, it is still memorable - so many books blur a week or so later. Fascinating story with so many layers.... reality of nuclear devastation, learning to live again on bare minimum of resources (even more dramatic today than in 1950s setting of the novel), relationships of the various characters....Definitely worth listening to - different yet engrossing. See also, Will Patton below.
Will Patton is one of the best Audible readers ... dramatic but not overstated... a great story teller. There are certain "Audible" reads where I just feel the listening experience is better than if I had read the book, and this is one of them. Will Patton definitely contributes to that assessment. (FYI - some other better than reading - And There Eyes Were Watching God, White Tiger, Somebody Knows My Name).
It is hard for me to rank any book, but I definitely would rate this as one near the top of my list. While it was written years ago, the reactions of the characters still are valid for our times, provoking thought and introspection. But what really made it enjoyable was the narrator.
I enjoyed watching the growth of the main characters juxtaposed with the descent into base animalistic living of others.
I can't single out one character, but rather want to say Patton has one of the most pleasant, engaging voices of all the narrators I have listened too. I will be looking for other books just to hear his presentation.
When the little girl discovered the hidden room, and music came back into their lives, was one of my favoirte moments. She became the hero she wanted to be just by being curious little girl.
This book also struck a chord for me as I grew up near Omaha and the other bases and missile silos in the area. The reality of living near a definite target area helped me begin to fight the fog of addiction and draw closer to a Higher Power, which eventually became God.
Yes, it has some thought provoking themes and the narration is excellent.
I've only seen him in films. I didn't realize that he was such an excellent storyteller.
This is my mother's favorite book. I had never read it, and so didn't fully understand the attraction. I'm a speculative fiction fan, but the story didn't sound very exciting at first glance. I have to say, that this book is enthralling. It also causes you to ask yourself many questions, some of which include: What qualities are important in a person? What skills do I really have? Could I survive? Also, Will Patton's storytelling ability is first rate.