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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 (5155 )
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  •  
    Mary Scotia, NY, United States 12-12-12
    Mary Scotia, NY, United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
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    "Sorry to get to the end."

    One of the best post-apocalyptic stories I've read. Nice to have one without zombies. Good cast of well-drawn characters. A very human story that loses nothing over the decades since it was written. And Will Patton's narration is perfect. This one goes on my list of books that get a second and maybe a third listen. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Pittsburgh, PA, United States 12-05-12
    Robert Pittsburgh, PA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This book has it all!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Alas, Babylon to be better than the print version?

    I loved this audio book! It combined a really interesting idea - nuclear war, with great characters and a love story! Also, the narration is great!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 12-01-12
    Amazon Customer United States 12-01-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "It was so bad, I had trouble listening"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I can't imagine who would enjoy it in this format.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    N/A - I'd read it years ago


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I only got audible because this old book was no longer available in print. I knew it was dated. That said, the narrator's voice was so annoying, I could hardly listen. He made every character sound like some racist, sexist dream of the 1950s, only more so (and I lived through that decade). If this is an example of audible books, I will never listen to another. I have no idea who would enjoy it.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The actual book captured some of the fears of the early atomic age. Unfortunately, this narrative did not.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron CARLSBAD, CA, United States 11-30-12
    Aaron CARLSBAD, CA, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I couldn't stop listening."
    What did you love best about Alas, Babylon?

    Will Patton brings this book to life. The beauty of the town, the people who come together to help each other was very moving.


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

    I love Patton as the narrator. This book read would not have the same impact without Patton and his passion.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    julia SARASOTA, FL, United States 11-24-12
    julia SARASOTA, FL, United States 11-24-12 Member Since 2013

    Me? ....... Capable of many moods, and enjoying a vast range of literature. Incapable of uploading a picture and realized none of the Avatars are ......appropriate. That pretty much "tells" it all.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WORLD WITHOUT END ALMOST!"

    Great read! Best book in this End Times category for me. My husband and I listened to this together and we live 60 miles from Tampa and 115 miles from Orlando so it really made us think . This actually is a book that everyone should either read or listen to. The writing is great. He makes you feel like you are right there in the picture all the time. He also gets you to understand the characters and their feelings. That isn't easy to do unless you are a great writer. This book stays with you. Glad that it is great fiction and not true facts. Hurray for Pat Frank. Will read anything he decides to write. He is like John D MacDonald on steroids and I LOVE John D. I highly recommend this audiobook. Buy it and I guarantee you will get knots in your tummy and sit on the edge of your seat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris SPOKANE VALLEY, WA, United States 11-05-12
    Chris SPOKANE VALLEY, WA, United States 11-05-12
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    "Apocalypse dated"

    It was very dated but I had bought it so was going to hear it through. Ended up I was mildly entertained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgina Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico 10-28-12
    Georgina Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico 10-28-12 Member Since 2015

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I like Will Patton"

    The only good thing I can say about this book is regarding Will Patytton performance.
    the book is forgetable, but Patton performance, as always is worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley United States 10-22-12
    Ashley United States 10-22-12
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    "A well-written story with modern relevancy"
    If you could sum up Alas, Babylon in three words, what would they be?

    Relevant, engrossing, informative


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

    I enjoyed "witnessing" the adaptations of the community of characters from a life of modern conveniences to resourcefulness and frugal use of natural resources.


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

    Probably the doctor


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

    Not in an emotional way. The book was more moving intellectually--causing me to think and ponder.


    Any additional comments?

    It's easy to imagine several scenarios in our current political climate that could lead to our having to adjust to a post-apocalyptic world like the characters in Alas, Babylon. This book does a good job of immersing you into that world and showing you several possible outcomes. While the characters aren't really the main point of the book, I did find them to be real and relatable enough that I stayed engaged throughout the story. As a side note, I never felt that the book was dark, dismal, or depressing and remained hopeful in the midst of social upheaval.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Crider Kansas City, MO, United States 10-12-12
    S. Crider Kansas City, MO, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2012

    lost in words

    ratings
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    7
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    "Alas Babylon is an eye opening experience"
    If you could sum up Alas, Babylon in three words, what would they be?

    wake up notice. When you read this book you can't help but think about what would you do to survive and do you start now or wait till it is too late.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Randy told Ben Franklin how it is to be a man.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Evans Dallas, TX, USA 10-12-12
    Robert Evans Dallas, TX, USA 10-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding"
    What did you love best about Alas, Babylon?

    Everything.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Grippingly real.


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

    Great character differentiation in voices.


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

    Yes. Alas, I could not.


    Any additional comments?

    Do not let the publication date deter you. This book could have been written yesterday except for some very minor details (no Internet mentioned, tube radios, etc.). A great listen.

    0 of 0 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

    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Margaret
    2/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great!"

    Great story and narration. Hearing parts of it gave me chills. An enjoyable and engrossing listen. I would recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • alexander
    Dublin 12, Ireland
    1/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Alas, Babylon to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The well crafted characters. I could almost hear the river passing through the story.


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

    Not knowingly, but he was good. One was not conscious of his breathing, his tempo was steady all the way through.


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

    Nature or Nurture. Discover the true American hero.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dominic
    1/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book"

    50 years old but still could be written yesterday
    Give it a go. Post apocalyptic without the modern twist. Yes

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    London, United Kingdom
    8/2/14
    Overall
    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.

    1 of 1 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.


    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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