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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 (4346 )
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  •  
    Olaf Jakarta, Indonesia 04-01-12
    Olaf Jakarta, Indonesia 04-01-12

    German by birth - cosmopolitan by conviction. A CFO enjoying dynamic and multicultural Asia. Classic car and history buff and scuba diver.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thanks to the writer and two statesmen"

    To the late Mr Frank: Thank you for writing this book in time - it may have changed history and saved lives.
    To the late President Kennedy: Thank you for reading and understanding this book and not surrendering to trigger happy contemporaries.
    To the late Secretary Khrushchev: Thank you for not insisting, being open for ratio and removing the missiles from Cuba in 1962.
    In fact a simple although terrifying subject. My greatest respect to Pat Frank for writing and publishing this novel in 1959 - it takes courage to go against the mainstream but often it is rewarded by changing direction to the better.
    The message is what makes this book important and the storytelling gives it an extra quality. I listend in two straight sessions and it will stay in my mind forever. Also great narrating by Will Patton.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PhreshMeet Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12
    PhreshMeet Greenville, SC, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Dated, which makes it more interesting"

    Written in the 1950s this book does not touch on the idea of Nuclear Winter which was hypothesized years later by Carl Sagan.

    Look past that and you will see a story about how an apocalypse would effect a technological civilization. And that's a level of technology that is laughable by today's standards. It gives you a really visceral feeling of how much more vulnerable we are now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen F 03-23-12
    Karen F 03-23-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Captivating Story"

    I took a chance on this book as it's not the type of story I usually enjoy, but I am so glad that I listened. It captured my interest from the very first chapter and held my attention to the very last word. The narration was very well done and brought the characters to life. The story itself really made me realize that although it is fiction, it could become a reality at any given time. We take a lot for granted in our lives of ease and tranquility and rarely give a passing thought to how nuclear attack could destroy our world. When money and material possesions no longer matter - our relationships with the people close to us become very precious. I would recommend that every person read or listen to this story and ponder it. Then pray that this work of fiction never turns into reality!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna New Lambton, Australia 03-22-12
    Donna New Lambton, Australia 03-22-12 Member Since 2010
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    "The characters became family to me!"
    Where does Alas, Babylon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In my top two!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved all of them. The author created real people and the narrator brought them to life. I cared for them, worried for them and cried with them. I never expected to enjoy this book as much as I did. I could not wait to get home from work to meet up with them all again and find out how they were doing!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but it wasn't possible. I exercise and do my housework whilst listening to my books and with 'Alas, Babylon' my house was never cleaner, nor my execise regime better. I couldn't stop.


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you for a beautiful book. It is a epic story of courage, hope and love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.P.S. Greeley, CO United States 03-21-12
    G.P.S. Greeley, CO United States 03-21-12 Member Since 2007

    Phil S.

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    "Alas Babylon a clasic of the Cold War"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would highly recomend this book as a fast moving


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Alas, Babylon?

    When the author describes how a small town in Florida survives in a post necular war.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The discriptions of how one individual takes charge and creates a community in the backwoods of Florida.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most definitely though time constraints may interfere.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an accurate depiction of the US military local response to attack and how the ordinary poeple survive numerous challangess . Well worth the read even seventy years after

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 03-09-12
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 03-09-12 Member Since 2010

    Auto Repair shop owner. I love Yoga, and playing my Fender Stratocaster. I Walk my dogs twice a day.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cold war good ole days"

    Since I'm a child of the duck and cover era, I understood the fear of the bomb. I played in a fall out shelter and imagined what it would be like AFTER the war.

    To take a trip back in time to relive the Cold War made me happy we tore down that wall!

    It was interesting how Pat Frank shows us how to be happy when the bomb strips away our dependent society and makes us rely on each other's skills for basic survival.

    This book offers much hope for our future and as one reviewer put it is still very relevant to our day and age.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lee Matraville, Australia 02-24-12
    lee Matraville, Australia 02-24-12
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    "A really moving and thought provoking story"

    I found myself sitting in my parked car listening to this story. I had not long finished listening to 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy before I listened to this, and was a bit concerned that maybe it would be too similar and I would switch off, but it was very different, not quite so dark. Wonderful characters placed in a post nuclear war America, their struggle to suvive and maintain humanity.
    The narrator was lovely to listen to as well, beautiful American lilt, (although his female voices all sounded a bit like Marilyn Monroe, but he can be forgiven for that, it must be difficult).
    Hard to believe it was written in 1959, could so easily be today, which is a bit frightening. A great read, highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eagle's , United States 02-08-12
    Eagle's , United States 02-08-12

    Pearl's of wisdom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Warning... may not be able to put down"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Alas, Babylon to be better than the print version?

    I really enjoyed this book whether you think it's realistic or not. The person reading did an excellent job and would look forward to listening to other books read by this guy. I have lot's audible books on my IPOD and tend to jump around a bit and may at any one time have 5 different books started at any one time, I didn't do that with this book. Once I started it, I stayed with it and really didn't want to put it down. I would highly recommend this book.


    Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't but I will.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    .


    Any additional comments?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca South Burlington, VT, United States 10-26-11
    Rebecca South Burlington, VT, United States 10-26-11 Member Since 2011
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    "My kind of apocalypse novel (a bit dated though)"

    If you are like me and, for some reason, like to imagine how you would survive an apocalypse, this will be a great read for you. It is all survival, all the time, although our main characters seem to all get super lucky on many occasions this does allow for a more complicated and thorough survival story than if they were stuck in some cave eating berries the entire time (which is probably more likely).

    It's a bit dated but still very readable.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sona Pearl River, NY, United States 10-25-11
    sona Pearl River, NY, United States 10-25-11 Member Since 2010
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    "rednecks listen up"

    This story's for you, from the monotonous, grinding narration to the slow pace, litany of minutia on gun descriptions etcetera and the protagonist's boring life and outlook. Waste of my money and can't understand how it got promoted, let alone narrated. Very dissapointing.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Tony Barker
    Lydiate england
    3/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant and believable"
    Where does Alas, Babylon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This ranks very highly. I came across this book as a recommendation having read One Second After and I was not disappointed. It was intelligent and thought provoking without being over sensationalized. It depicts ordinary people who have experienced an extraordinary event.


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

    One second after


    Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No but will look for others


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

    Small town America overcomes man made disaster


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Inerness, United Kingdom
    11/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic... Nuclear War 1950s setting."

    Very enjoyable because it is set and was written in 1950s America, rather than coming across as dated it was more like historical fiction which I enjoyed a lot. For a post apocalyptic story it is not at all as grim and gory as a modern book would be - cannibalism, slavery and the other usual depravity and gore that you expect in a more modern post apocalypse story! These things are maybe hinted at rather than really appearing in the story, apart from the odd bad guy most people are pretty decent and most behave in a relatively civilised manner. It is strangely almost a positive story, I wouldn't be too concerned about letting a younger reader / listener have this book. I have read reviews elsewhere that described it as having some racist and sexist elements to it - which there of course are going to be, it is set in Florida and was written in 1950s America! It is not as realistic in many as a more modern book would be, but I personally forgive that as it was a very enjoyable listen with interesting characters and settings. If you can credit the book for being written in more innocent times in terms of what would be acceptable amounts of horror and gore (there really is none) and enjoy it as an innocent predecessor of the modern post apocalypse book, it is very well worth a listen and very enjoyable. - I love the game Fallout 3 which has loads of 1950s styling and a post nuclear war setting, so this may have clouded my judgement a bit but I enjoyed the listen a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Clem
    LIMERICK, Ireland
    7/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing Journey into Armageddon"
    If you could sum up Alas, Babylon in three words, what would they be?

    Couldn't stop listening!


    Which character – as performed by Will Patton – was your favourite?

    The central character 'Randy' was very interesting. A reluctant hero.


    Any additional comments?

    This was just a great story. I was surprised that it was written way back in the 50's. It is so relevant to today. Great characters. Great story. Definately a must listen audio book. Will Patton speaks with a very understated passion that really sucks you into this world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    London, United Kingdom
    8/2/14
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    Performance
    Story
    "stands the test of time"

    I grew up in the shadow of the A bomb and the threat of the nuclear apocalypse but was too young to read this book when it first came out. I have been immersed in the story and the characters. Though I hope that the chances of all out nuclear war are now a thing of the past, the chance of a post apocalyptic world resulting from climate change remain very real and so the subject matter remains relevant for our current time. Well worth a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Keith S. Mason
    Bournemouth, UK
    5/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The aftermath of 1950's nuclear war"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Alas, Babylon to be better than the print version?

    I think so often I find the reader can detract from an otherwise good story but Will Patton's voice brings the characters to life in a tone that fits right in with the setting of the story. Its measured pace lets the story roll out in front of you and is a real pleasure to listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    UK
    1/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A compelling listening experience"

    Once again I am glad I didn't read any reviews or even the publisher's summary before embarking on Alas, Babylon. I find it so much more enjoyable not having any clue as to how the story might unfold, and how bleak or optimistic its outlook will be.

    I'd class this as a quick and easy listen. As an inadvertent follow-on from Neville Shute's On the Beach, it reinforced the risk of our utter dependency on electricity and on our supply-chain for food and fuel. It is the first fiction that also made me consider the value of military training and experience.

    For me, one of the main weaknesses of the book was the characterisation. The characters each fall so clearly into the Good Guy or Bad Guy camp. Perhaps because of this, or maybe just from the writing style, I felt no empathy for any of the people. They were interesting to me, definitely, but I never felt an emotional bond with any of them.

    That said, the audiobook made compelling listening and the tale gives a great sense of the values and concerns of the late 1950s in the USA. The narration enhanced the book for me; it seemed just right. Overall, I would definitely say I enjoyed Alas, Babylon and despite its weaknesses I would recommend it to others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    8/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Alas, there isn't more like it."

    It's a great listen, of course it's easier when it's a great story. A good yarn, well written, well narrated and quite frankly, all too real in it's fictional deliberations. The way things are heating up in the Middle East, perhaps we should read this more than once!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matt Watson-Power
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    5/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 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

    0 of 0 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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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