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Alas, Babylon Audiobook

Alas, Babylon

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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 (6866 )
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  •  
    Jefferson 10-18-11
    Jefferson 10-18-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How We Got Along After the Day???"

    When Randy Bragg, an aimless Korean war vet who has developed a taste for bourbon in his coffee while living in his hometown, Fort Repose, Florida, gets a telegram from his older brother Mark, a Colonel for Strategic Air Command, that closes with ???Alas, Babylon,??? Randy realizes that hydrogen bombs are about to start flying between the USSR and the USA. The rest of Pat Frank???s novel, Alas, Babylon (1959), depicts how Randy and his Fort Repose neighbors survive after ???the Day??? on which the bombs fell. Frank convincingly imagines the geo-politics that could lead to such a war, as well as the social and inter-personal dynamics of survival that would likely follow it.

    Frank???s novel is a post-holocaust communal Robinsoniad, with key things (like an uncontaminated river, an ancestor???s journal, an unlimited source of salt, and even a well-equipped attic) in retrospect a little too convenient for ???island??? Fort Repose. But I let that pass because I respect and care so much for Frank???s characters as they are pushed to their limits to find ways to survive physically and emotionally, and the main thrust of his novel is to test his characters to see which ones will survive with humanity intact and which will not.

    I like Frank???s attempt at a progressive vision of race (for its time and southern setting), but George Stewart???s earlier novel Earth Abides (1949) may be more radical in that respect. In general, Earth Abides is more philosophical, cyclical, beautiful, and moving than Alas, Babylon, which is more political, tactical, exciting, and martial. Alas, Babylon is an anti-nuclear war novel that nevertheless valorizes the heroic American male soldier/leader.

    Will Patton???s reading of the novel is fine; his voice is appropriately manly and dry with undercurrents of emotion that bring the story to life.

    27 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Wallace 05-29-14
    G Wallace 05-29-14 Member Since 2010

    I love me some audiobooks

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    "A Prepper's Classic"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    I thought the story would be very outdated and irrelevant. I was surprised! Though technology has certainly changed, it wasn't a distracting issue.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    I believe nuclear war is still a reality and any serious prepper/survivalist should understand the nature of that threat.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    Apocalyptic thrillers and survivalist stories, minus the zombies, are my favorite genre. This novel provides a well written story with what was a realistic and plausible scenario 50 years ago. With the rise of EMP warfare and decline of the cold war much of our fears of a nuclear holocaust have been pushed aside, along with that type of storyline. I assume most modern authors of prepping/survival novels don't want to tackle radiation sickness and mass contamination in their efforts to glamorize bugging out and living off the grid. This story brings to life the fears many people felt a few decades ago, and could once again. It portrays provocative ideas that are still worth considering.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Nothing. His tone and cadence was very suitable to a story set back in 1960.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    Worth the credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 04-17-14
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 04-17-14 Member Since 2009

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

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    "And in the End, is there an End?"

    A story of nuclear war. A story of the apocalypse by humankind. A story that could have occurred in 1959; and a story of living in the aftermath of wide spread annihilation. I profoundly remember seeing a Playhouse 90 adaptation of the tale in a 1960 episode. The story, simple in its telling, has prophetic pronouncements of human fashioned horror and of human resiliency; at least now in retrospect having spent 50 years in human interaction.

    The story never left my mind and I have used the title Alas Babylon dozens of times to explain a world suffering holocaust. (And usually those around me never understood what I was talking about.) The other night my cousin (also and Audible devotee) told me he was listening to a great story – Alas Babylon.

    I had just the prior week downloaded the story to listen to. I went right to the listen and am not disappointed. It is a book of human triumph notwithstanding hominoid demoniacs. It is a book one wants to read (listen to) in one sitting.

    By the way, Playhouse 90, Omnibus and of course, the Twilight Zone, have left me with tale after story after literary portrayal that have echoed in my memory all my 67 years. Wish we had them still. The Playhouse 90 stars were Burt Reynolds and the GREAT Rita Moreno (who I earlier saw in my first Broadway Play; By By Birdie.) Memory Lane.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Washington, DC, United States 10-21-11
    Catherine Washington, DC, United States 10-21-11 Member Since 2005
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    "a good listen"

    This book is a reflection of the time in which it was written, particularly when it comes to how women and minority people are depicted. This limited my enjoyment of it, but I did enjoy following the author's imagining of what it would be like for the survivors of a nuclear holocaust. Overall I would recommend it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marla Lakewood, CA, United States 01-21-11
    Marla Lakewood, CA, United States 01-21-11
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    "Very Good Listen"

    First I must say that if I could rate the Narration alone I would give it 5+ stars. His skills are the best part of the audio production. I wish I could rate this a 4.5 stars because while it was a very good listen that kept me wanting to hear more, it dragged a tiny bit at times.. I will only give a 5 out of 5 when I am foced to stop listening because I MUST get some sleep. So this is well worth the credit - Very well written characters and plot, it is a little slow at times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 12-30-10
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 12-30-10 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

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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 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer The Tropics 01-05-11
    Kindle Customer The Tropics 01-05-11 Member Since 2016

    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 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Cornwinkle 10-19-12 Member Since 2015

    !!!

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    "A period piece yes, but remarkably"

    fresh. It is one of the more hopeful and realistic post-apocalypse novels. I particularly like that it does not make anachronistic predictions about the future -either before or after the event.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 05-29-12
    Jan 05-29-12 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

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    "This is why we had bomb drills in grade school..."

    and worried so much about not having a bomb shelter in the back yard. I enjoyed The Road and The Second After, perhaps a little bit more than this one. However, it was interesting reading this theme in the 50-60's setting. I asked my husband how many bullets he has at 2 AM the night I was listening... and let him know he needs more... and a hand crank radio too.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Woo Space Coast FL 03-06-11
    Dr Woo Space Coast FL 03-06-11 Member Since 2007

    W H

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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
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  • Matt Watson-Power
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    5/3/13
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    "Amazing, gripping, so real"

    From the outset I was gripped by this book. A fascinating 'what if' with some very plausible answers. Great story - ingenuity, terror, war, tech - and it's an incredible snapshot of the late 1950s. Well worth a listen - I don't normal listen to American accents, but this guy has a great voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • edel
    county clare, Ireland
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "loving this so far"

    I am really enjoying this one...the voices are great, very atmospheric...



    Loving it to the point that I am buying extra food, more flour..more canned goods!...feckin' apocalyptic novels, they always haunt my nightmares

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • chloe
    Pillac, France
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Perfect for Doomsday Preppers"

    I'm not sure how I came to find this book as I discovered, after I listened to it, that it had been written in the 50's. The story is the world after USA and Soviet Union have attacked each other with nuclear warheads. The perspective is a small town Florida lawyer who gets 24 hours avance warning from his brother of the impending attacks. Our hero then prepares himself and works with his immediate neighbours to survive the chaos. Written with believable gusto, the story takes the characters through 18 months or so, during which time, they learn to survive and adjust to a new world. I was gripped by the narrative and wanted to find out what happens to them. Some of the incidental characters are rather one-dimensional - the venal banker, the superficial socialite mother, but you feel empathy for others who have to adapt. I also loved Will Patton's voice. He captures the gritty American determination to survive - he has the voice of a rather world weary cowboy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 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...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sarahtermite
    12/4/15
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    "An old book that has really stood the test of time"
    What did you like most about Alas, Babylon?

    I do like a post apocalyptic drama, and this one was unusual in the amount of time spent setting up the community before the apocalypse. As a result, you had a much better feel for how this town collapsed and then rebuilt itself in the aftermath. Entirely believable, and the fact that it was written more than 50 years ago doesn't really affect the essential human drama.


    Any additional comments?

    You have to give it a bit of leeway, in that it was written so long ago, and there are aspects of racism and sexism that simply aren't acceptable today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. D. Thompson
    leeds
    12/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "feels unfinished "

    I enjoyed the book overall, but it feels unfinished. there were lots of interesting points but often some actions or stories were dealt with very quickly when they could have been explored further. it's like the opposite of Stephen King.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. P. D. Selman
    Kent, U.K.
    4/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's the end of the world as we know it..."
    What did you like most about Alas, Babylon?

    Hands down, it was Will Patton's superb narration. I can't imagine a more perfect choice to read this book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Payton Bragg. A sweet little girl with the grit to do anything to help her family. She takes a lickin' but keeps on kickin'.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    'Welcome to the apocalypse... It's not as bad as you thought it might be, apparently.'


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this book. Set in a 1950s American South just as a nuclear war begins, this story focuses on the Bragg family as they pick themselves up and try to repair their lives and their community after The Day (when the bombs drop). My only problem with the book is that, well... is it just me or would a post-nuclear holocaust world not be significantly worse than the world portrayed in this book? I think the author's intention was to show the horrors of nuclear war but the message he actually ends up getting across seems to be: Nuclear war? OK, it's BAD, but you'll be all right if you just show a little gumption and pull together'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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