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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 (7236 )
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  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-25-12
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-25-12 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More Please"

    I am extremely impatient and when listening to most books even if well written, I am anticipating the end shortly after the half way mark. This was one of those rare occasions, where I was sorry for it to end. This story is well thought out, very plausible, and though written in 1959, very accurate for today. The characters are well developed and interesting and seem true to life.

    I was hesitant to buy this, since it was written in 1959 and it was held to much the same hub bub as Earth Abides by George Stewart. While Earth Abides was alright, it was long and I got impatient with it. Audible had this on sale, so I took the chance. It was well worth full price and now I am interested if Pat Frank's other books are anywhere as good as this.

    The first half is mostly about the events that lead up to war. I believe anyone who likes military books, well enjoy this part especially. The U.S. is tricked into starting the war in an event that was surprising, yet I can see it happening today. The first half ends with the bombs falling, a very scary sight.

    The second half is after the bombs fall and how one town deals with it. The characters are very 1950's, but this adds to the charm of the book.

    Will Patton, the narrator, does an excellent job and adds to the pleasure of listening to the book. I have not read the book, but I got to believe this recording is better then reading the book. In the future if I see, Patton is narrating, it will help me decide to buy that recording.

    16 of 20 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
  •  
    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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Kelli Perkins Michigan 08-31-12
    Kelli Perkins Michigan 08-31-12 Member Since 2015

    Author of Stitch Alchemy

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    "Doesn't Seem Possible that This Is 1959!"
    What did you love best about Alas, Babylon?

    I was resistant to trying this title because I always pick up on outdated technologies in a book and they don't ring true. I needn't have worried. This book is stunning and never for one second did I even realize that this wasn't present day America. Frank sticks to human nature as he explores a post-apocalyptic future, and human nature is the same generation to generation.


    What other book might you compare Alas, Babylon to and why?

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy is another view of a civilization gone awry, but with a different conclusion. Frank's account relies on the strength of human goodness to build a brighter outcome. We don't known which vision will ultimately be more realistic until the time comes.


    What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved the narration of this book. Will Patton's everyman style of delivery was a perfect fit for the setting--small town USA. The characters came alive.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt deeply for the characters and looked forward to a conclusion which would bring them some relief from the unknown.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm still impressed that I read this fifty years after it was written and it was as fresh and insightful as if it had been written yesterday. That's the best compliment I can give an author. A timeless work of fiction that will leave you thinking about the past and the future and what your reaction would be to a similar emergency. A hopeful read.

    6 of 8 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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 01-06-11
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 01-06-11 Member Since 2016

    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
  •  
    Dean Fargo, ND 12-10-16
    Dean Fargo, ND 12-10-16 Member Since 2016

    Motovader72

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    "Mediocre"

    Will Patton's usually exceptional performance could not save this drab and unexciting story. It's not horrible but it's far from good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 12-15-13
    Dennis 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.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
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  • Matt Watson-Power
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    5/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
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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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