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Alas, Babylon | [Pat Frank]

Alas, Babylon

This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Pat Frank's post-apocalyptic novel about a cold war that's finally boiled over into a nuclear doomsday over is over 50 years old, but it still feels entirely fresh. The post -apocalyptic world asks: Without our job, our social status, and our possessions what would we have left? Alas, Babylon answers unequivocally: our sense of duty to our fellow man, our bonds of love with family and friends, and, above all, our will to survive. Will Patton is electrifying as narrator, and his thunderous delivery of the novel's titular cry will remain with you long after you finish. — Michael

Publisher's Summary

This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly.

But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. Will Patton's narration paints this classic tale as an ominous picture of the terrible possibilites of the nuclear age.

©1959 Harry Hart Frank (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Fiction, 2012

"An enthralling and vivid story of the follies and failures of people, their courage and cruelty, their treachery and triumphs. Mr. Frank is a magnificent writer." (Chicago Sunday Tribune)

"A warm, continuously interesting story of what can happen to a group of ordinary people in a perilous situation." (New York Herald Tribune)

“Will Patton is a calm and steady narrator whose quiet intensity wraps around this post-apocalyptic saga...He reflects the tones of deference of women to men, nonwhites to whites, and children to adults. In a conversational tone, he quietly brings the characters and their relationships to life.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (4166 )
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  •  
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 12-30-10
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 12-30-10 Member Since 2005

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The possibilities of survival - 1959 -- Today?"

    I really enjoyed the book set in central Florida after a Russian nuke attack. Miami, Tampa, Homestead, Orlando and Jacksonville are all gone and millions more are dead throughout the rest of the country. Is survival possible? The most seemingly, insignificant day-to-day uses such as toothpaste, salt, toiletries, aspirin, etc, become luxuries in this post nuclear war event. Money becomes worthless and the rich and poor are now equals. Could you handle it?

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda P-C The Tropics 01-05-11
    Linda P-C The Tropics 01-05-11

    Linda P-C

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    "Loved it, wished there were more of it"

    This book is well written, well narrated and just very, very interesting. I've read other books on this general topic and some may be more specific in detail, pack more of an anti-nuke sermon, or describe a greater spectrum of the challenges to be faced in an event such as this, but this book was very satisfying and just a darned good read. I believe it's important to keep in mind the fact that the year is 1959 when judging the actions/reactions of the characters, and think the author did a great job with creating the feel of the times. I wish it had been longer, but a sequel would most likely be anticlimactic, and the ending leaves the reader with enough material to spend some idle hours imagining where the folks of this little Florida town will take their lives from here on. Highly recommended.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 01-07-14
    Lesley Seattle, WA, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2005

    From Austen to zombies!

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    "One apocalypse--hold the zombies"

    I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction in the last few years. Usually zombies show up, or vampires, or else it's like Mad Max where bands of yahoos roam the wasted countryside, bringing destruction and disorder. Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon" brings us a different scenario--for a dystopia, this is pretty utopian.

    Randy Bragg is a lawyer in Fort Repose, Florida. He's kind of mooching along and drinking too much. Then the bombs fall. The world changes, and Randy changes with it as he finds himself responsible for leading a group of friends and family. Together, they work to survive in the Contaminated Zone. They're lucky--Fort Repose was too far away from the blast zones to get much radiation. With the help of a strong wind on The Day, as they call it, crops and water are spared. It's a matter of working with what they have left.

    It's here that the book's original publication year (1959) becomes evident. Blacks and whites are suddenly desegregated--the significance of that may be a puzzle for younger readers, who may not know of awful stuff like "Colored" drinking fountains. They use the CONELRAD system for getting their information--horribly flawed, CONELRAD was replaced in 1963.

    Perhaps strangest of all, people seem awfully polite. Fights are few, and the Fort Reposians immediately begin to help each other out in a town-picnic, chore-wheel kind of way. Drama is infrequent. Even the yahoos (who do eventually show up) don't use the f-word. I've heard of worse circumstances in a modern-day high school.

    The main lessons of the book are still useful, however. One is, prepare for disaster--physically and mentally; don't expect your hair dryer to work! Another: just because the world changes, it doesn't mean you can't change yourself for the better. And, perhaps most important: stick together and show each other kindness; friends and family are all you really have, especially when the world is a mess.

    I can imagine that this book was pretty scary for the Mad Men-era people who read it first. But as I listened to Will Patton's comfortable Carolina accent describing the fear and devastation, I realized why Pat Frank wrote this book--the Fort Repose survivors aren't scientists or world leaders. They're just regular small-town people, and they make it. You can, too.

    Recommended for anyone interested in history--whether alternate or real.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Mazama, WA, United States 12-15-13
    Dennis Mazama, WA, United States 12-15-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Sets the standard for the genre - period."

    This book popped up on my radar from time to time but because of some of the descriptions it never made it into my cart until a reviewer I follow mentioned it, so, needing something to download I half-heartedly put it in my cart. I have never been so surprised by a story in all the audio books I have listened to, it is simply wonderful.
    A lot, or overwhelmingly most, of the books that delve into this subject matter are not written all that well, some contain important messages, like One Second After, which it turns out the author of which was influenced by this book, but by and large the writing is not the strong point of the books in this category. This book is a game changer, it is written with brilliance - the dialog, the characters, the plot and circumstance encompassed within the covers of this book are excellent, it set a standard for literature that has not been met since in this genre, and I like and read a lot of stories in this genre. This is an exciting well laid out story with a message everyone should be exposed to, as even though it was written in the '50's it is still as relevant today as it was then, maybe even more so.
    The narration is also excellent, it does not get better as a match and enhanced the experience I am sure.
    Highly, Highly recommended. I should have listened to this book a long time ago.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 05-02-11
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 05-02-11
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    "Timeless"

    The book was written in the late 1950's, so some of the things they refer to (like Western Union telegrams) seem knid of quaint, but it's a good story and keeps your interest.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HiWoo Saint Marys Georgia 03-06-11
    HiWoo Saint Marys Georgia 03-06-11 Member Since 2007

    Dr Woo

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    "Excellent Book / Excellent Presentation !"

    First I am so impressed with the narration talent of Will Patton. I admire him as an actor but I was amazed at the art he puts into narrating this story. Thank you Mr. Patton! You made the story come to life for us. This book was required reading when I was in middle school (a very long time ago). The story is still very intriquing and keeps you hooked. It's hard to stop listening. My wife finished it in 2 days - because she couldn't turn it off. I was so disappointed when it was over. Excellent writing / excellent performance. Bravo Mr. Frank & Mr. Patton!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 01-06-11
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 01-06-11 Member Since 2008

    Audiobook addict.

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    "Wonderful"

    I have to add my voice to the other positive reviews of this audiobook. I found it very engrossing. Considering how long ago it was written, it has really stood the test of time. One of my all time favourite post-apocalyptic novels.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marci portland, OR, United States 05-14-13
    Marci portland, OR, United States 05-14-13
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    "Perfection"

    I only listened to this book because Will Patton was the narrator. I didn't know anything about the book or Pat Frank. Wow, what a great surprise. This book is perfect, just perfect. I've listened to it twice and recommended it to all my friends. You love and root for all the characters. And in the current world of zombie and end-of-the-world books being "in," Frank writes a believable story that captures the human side. All of the trendy stories out right now wish they could capture this story line as well as Frank did--he was ahead of his time.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NColville Tucson, AZ 02-27-13
    NColville Tucson, AZ 02-27-13 Member Since 2012

    Nancy

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    "WOW! WOW! WOW!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd recommend this book to a friend of either sex. The story enrobes you and carries you inside its pocket. You can't get out, even after you've stopped listening for the day, and then it will stay with you long after the story ends.


    What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

    I've listened to many audiobbooks narrated by Will Patton - if he's reading, I just know I'll enjoy the book. But this time...he simply nails it, and it sucks you in - it feels like he IS the character he's speaking for. Even the women in the story sound realistic and don't distract. That's a very hard thing to pull off, in my experience with audiobooks.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story is such a personal one to any of us growing up in the 50's and 60's - Nuclear War's entry into our innocent minds and lives, and the scare that just the possibility of a nuclear bomb's potential put into all of us. It took me right back to that time; worried about who would launch the first bombs and where they would land...the devastation they could cause, the millions of people they could kill - and the impact something like this would have on all of us. Would we even survive it?


    Any additional comments?

    Please listen to this - you will not regret it. This one's the total package - beautiful, thoughtful writing, believable characters and story development - and an unforgettable performance by Will Patton. It just doesn't get any better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pennalie Texaco Flats 02-10-13
    Pennalie Texaco Flats 02-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Delicious Narration!"

    Will Patton nails the narration with the kind of southern drawl that lets you close you eyes in the coldest February night and blieve you're sipping lemonade in a 1950s hot Florida summer afternoon, So wonderful is this gossiping drawl to lay out the horror that comes quickly as the cold war takes a chilling turn.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • christian
    POISSY, France
    9/26/11
    Overall
    "Excellent post-apocalyptic book"

    Amazing to think this was written back in 1959, a year after I was born. It's very modern in its tone and style, and I loved it, and the narrator. A great read, a great writer, a very poetic style, this is a classic apparently and I can understand why...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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