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.
"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)
I was intrigued by the story but also by the fact that it was written in that same time-period (1959) by a respected journalist, and reflects the attitudes and fears of that era. I would love to read his non-fiction,' How to Survive and the H Bomb and Why'. Aside from any historical value, this is a great story and it is read by one of the great narrators. Bring back more Pat Frank, please, Audible!
I read the book many years ago so it's unfair to compare the two now. But I did thoroughly enjoy the audible version of this classic.
No I haven't, but I definitely will now!
Hope it never happens. survival of the most prepared.
descriptions of the attack, where and what targets were hit and those that were not.
return to the dark ages
I had never heard of this book,which was first published when i was 10. It is an amazing work which holds up extremely well and is relevant to what is happening in the world today. The narration is mostly very good and the
occasional mispronounced word adds a bit of unintended humor.
I enjoyed this very vivid description of how people who survived a nuclear war in an rural area could have created new lives and moved forward. This is significant since I think in those days so much attention to paid to how many megatons of bombs each side had that survival after the war was not a seriously researched subject. The characters are well rounded in a 1950s style (heroic men, women who cooked and cleaned) and the performance is very good.
Love my family...along with guitars, road bikes, cameras, and a good book!
I have read a lot of books that deal with the "end of days" scenario. Book upon book about zombies, nuclear destruction, and virus after virus that annihilates the human race. I like them all, to some degree or another, and so the fact that I enjoyed this one is not surprising.
There are a few notable differences in this book, however. First of all, this book takes a very realistic approach. The author tried to put forth this story in a way of how this kind of situation could really go down. That is very enjoyable. Second, this book was written in 1959!! Man, I had no idea. This author was way ahead of their time! At the very beginning of the cold war, and not even close to the apocalypse craze that has hit us today. You also didn't have to worry about how this scenario effected technology, because there wasn't any! That left the story able to focus on the people. How they interacted, and reacted, to what was happening to them. LOVED that angle. So much cleaner!
Lastly, I have to say how much I LOVED Will Patton's narration. I am a huge believer that the narrator makes up as much of the enjoyment of the audible book as the writer, and Will Patton may be my new favorite. I have listened to 3 books narrated by him now, and each time I am simply blown away. This is his best, so far, in my opinion. It just couldn't have been narrated any better. BRAVO!!
Meh. It was ok but I wouldn't rush out and recommend it to people I like. But you might like it.
Loved every aspect of this book. Great story, character, and narration. Will Patton is one of my favorites!!
I hate to speak disparagingly about writers because, as someone who wants to be one myself, I understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into producing a single sentence of good prose. The WRITING was excellent. The story and the pacing, however, just didn't work for me. Far too slow and I couldn't really understand the greater picture. I love anything post-apocalyptic but I don't know... this just dragged and didn't work for me. At all. The writing was really delicious, though.
I hate this question.
Helen, probably... she was useless and annoying.
"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.
"Brilliant and believable"
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.
One second after
No but will look for others
Small town America overcomes man made disaster
"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.
"Amazing Journey into Armageddon"
Couldn't stop listening!
The central character 'Randy' was very interesting. A reluctant hero.
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.
Great story and narration. Hearing parts of it gave me chills. An enjoyable and engrossing listen. I would recommend it.
Yes, thanks mainly to the narrator. I found that I was hungry for the the next chapter to be read to me while I was driving, in fact I was sitting in my car listening as the story had captivated me. A paperback would still be in one of my jacket pockets in a wardrobe somewhere.
The well crafted characters. I could almost hear the river passing through the story.
Not knowingly, but he was good. One was not conscious of his breathing, his tempo was steady all the way through.
Nature or Nurture. Discover the true American hero.
It is a pity that the author has not written anything else, Pat Frank really knows how to breath life into his well defined characters.
50 years old but still could be written yesterday
Give it a go. Post apocalyptic without the modern twist. Yes
"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.
"The aftermath of 1950's nuclear war"
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.
"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!
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