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One Second After Audiobook

One Second After

Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.
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Publisher's Summary

In a small North Carolina town, one man struggles to save his family after America loses a war that will send it back to the Dark Ages.

Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.

This book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future and our end.

©2009 William R. Forstchen; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[An] entertaining apocalyptic thriller....fans of such classics as Alas, Babylon and On the Beach will have a good time as Forstchen tackles the obvious and some not-so-obvious questions the apocalypse tends to raise." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (9706 )
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4.4 (7385 )
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4.4 (7353 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Dana 03-29-09
    Dana 03-29-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    183
    10
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    Overall
    "Very thought provoking"

    I'm very glad that I listened to this book. I actually had to take a day off from it at one point, because I found parts of the story very disturbing. Even if you don't think the premise is credible (a position I would find naive)- it is interesting to think about what the consequences would be of losing the communication, the flow of information, and the conveniences that we rely on daily.

    43 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Sandy, OR, US 01-13-16
    Amazon Customer Sandy, OR, US 01-13-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
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    0
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    Story
    "Great idea for a novel poorly executed."

    The idea for the book is a good one. What would happen if we lost electricity in all its forms, suddenly and without notice.

    Unfortunately, as the author notes, this novel was written by someone with a political purpose in mind, rather than a literary one.

    What results is a polemic, with unidimentional , bloodless characters, barely concealed right wing politics and a very stilted and xenophobic vision of the world. Sort of a Tom Clancy without the writing skills. The action scenes are trite, the relationships more suitable for Mayberry than a novel, and a cast of characters so predictable that the end of the book comes as a relief, rather than a surprise. Imagine an apocalyptic novel written by a 1880s school marm, and you won't be far from the mark.

    I should have been warned when I head the introduction by none other than Newt Gingrich.
    I tried to like this book, I really did. It was a good idea for a novel, and at least some decent research went into it.

    I have no idea how it made it to print without being heavily edited, or ghosted to make it more readable.

    Give this one a pass, your time and money will be better spent elsewhere.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg 01-03-16
    Greg 01-03-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    8
    5
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    "Interesting Concept - Weak, Partisan Vehicle"

    I submit that if, as suggested in Newt Gingrich's forward, Forstchen wanted to educate the public about an under appreciated threat he should have written a technical paper. The vehicle for communication here is a weak and tedious story with dialog that "reads" like a string of sophomoric cliches.

    Overlooking the weak prose would be possible if it weren't for the pervasive partisan themes that fill every scene. Good, conservative, religious, military vs the bad, liberal, hippie, weak, immoral, shaved-headed, tattooed, other. This is a simplistic tale of the author's view of good vs bad that quickly becomes painful.

    Why should we believe the information presented in this book when the protagonist (and I suspect the author) doesn't believe in human caused global warming? This is probably the biggest failure for me as his credibility is shot. The author should read the U.S. DoD's Quadrennial Defense Review on the subject.

    On a positive note the audio performance was good in terms of quality and use of different, distinct voices.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 10-19-15
    John S MA 10-19-15 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1290
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    192
    189
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    112
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way too violent"

    I listened to first in this series. I liked it. This is way too violent. Kill, Kill, Kill; that is subject matter. Stop after first. This is a waste of time.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Modesto, CA, United States 10-11-14
    W. Modesto, CA, United States 10-11-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
    ratings
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    255
    51
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    "One Second After"

    This book is absolutely chilling!! Simply because the possibilities are too close to the truth.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clyde O. Stephens Borger, TX 08-12-10
    Clyde O. Stephens Borger, TX 08-12-10 Member Since 2000

    Member since 2000,685 rated,1055 in library,52 bought in 2015

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "After my third reading of One Second After."

    We know that our antagonist are currently testing the missiles capable of delivering this type of weapon. We are told that acquiring a nuclear device is most likely possible. So this scenario is entirely possible if not probable. On the other hand our antagonist can just wait a few years for a catastrophic collapse of our infrastructure.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Sullivan Southampton, MA 01-22-10
    D. Sullivan Southampton, MA 01-22-10 Listener Since 2009

    I'm That Guy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    13
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    3
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    "Intensely emotional"

    The story was slow to start which concerned me for the first 45 minutes or so, but then picked up from there. Once it started rolling, it was an incredible, thought provoking ride. My second favorite book I've downloaded from Audible out of about 80 or so books. and to think this could actually happen!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leiah Golden, CO, USA 12-10-09
    Leiah Golden, CO, USA 12-10-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    86
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    8
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    "Deeply disturbing in it's believability"

    This is a book everyone in America should read. It should be required reading in schools... and the house and senate. This could actually happen, and the thought is terrifying.

    Extremely well written and well narrated, this book kept me up well past the time when sensible people are asleep.

    A highly recommended read, well worth the credits. And well worth paying attention to!

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Somerset, NJ, USA 07-03-09
    Patricia Somerset, NJ, USA 07-03-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
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    34
    3
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    "Horrifyingly haunting, Excellent narration."

    This book has left me haunted by the possibility that this could really happen to us and will leave you wondering how you would fare. I disagree with many of the previous reviews and think this is a must read. The narrator does a brilliant job with the different characters. In fact, there wasn't anything I didn't like about this book. Get it.

    21 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Layton, Ut, United States 05-04-09
    John Layton, Ut, United States 05-04-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    3
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    1
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    "Not Just Another Doomsday"

    This book should be required reading by every member of congress and all Presidents of the U.S. Shame on the Politicians that bicker and backstab each other for political gain while taking no action to defend the last best hope for man. This is a well written account of what could befall our great county. This book will disturb and numb liberal and conservatives alike. It made me pace the floor choke with emotion and prey to a god that I never ask much of. It is not just another doomsday book.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Wzl
    East London, South Africa
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought Provoking"

    An excellent book which I have recommended to many friends. The manner in which modern life rapidly collapses is thought provoking to say the least!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. M. S. Hazell
    Gloucester, UK
    10/24/10
    Overall
    "This should be a wake up call to everyone."

    Think of everything in life your that runs on electricity or that has an electronic circuit of any kind from home appliances to hospital equipment to vehicles. everything in our lives now depends upon something with a circuit. NOW THINK WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE LOSE EVERYTHING WE DEPEND ON.

    This novel is what the above scenario is about. This novel is nothing short of a wake up to call to everyone, government's especially, as to what would happen in the event of a terrorist (or rogue state) using Electro-Magnetic Pulse as a weapon. EMP IS NOT Science Fiction. It is real and has been proven. But no country is prepared.

    This novel revolves around a small mountain town in Carolina, which is cut off, like all other towns and cities, when a nuclear device is set off at high altitude over the USA destroying everything electronic throughout the north american continent. It is the story of how the town has only itself and it's limited resources to rely on. How the town suffers agonising losses and has to make heartbreaking decisions in order to survive. It shows how life without the technology we depend upon will throw us back to the dark ages.

    This is as thought provoking as it is shocking and everyone, from the ordinary man or women to high ranking politicians, should read this.

    This may be a work of fiction but it is a very real possibility.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    11/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not for atheists"

    If you can ignore the political religious polemic the story is interesting listen. The story at times is a critique of liberal America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SnowFox
    10/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow. what a fantastic listen."

    this is apocalyptic audio at its very best. well written and utterly believable. closest thing to Earth Abides that I have found. when I have finished this, I will be listening tonight again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ADW
    10/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A truly moving & terrifying listen."

    A fantast listen but also very moving. utterly depressing and desperate this book paints a world I hope no one ever sees.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J A M
    England
    10/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One-dimensional Republican propaganda"

    I'm American and the level of pro-USA patriotism in this book made me feel embarrassed. I should have guessed the instant I heard the foreward by...ich...Newt Gingrich.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Simon G Bell
    10/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Only in America?"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A real story with depth and breadth of character and narrative.


    What was most disappointing about William R. Forstchen’s story?

    Where to begin? Well, at the beginning. When Newt gets us going with his introduction we should guess a right wing, Republican agenda at work. Sure enough, early on there is a cheap swing at climate change and from then on the book swings into True Grit meets World War Z without the Z .. just insert North Korea or Iran or some such un-American, godless place. The book is risible in the characters of men and women. It is insulting and anti-feminist but not I think misogynist. Well not knowingly anyway. We find ourselves with good old boys who love the country, the flag, God, cars, guns and the way of life and feel constantly the loss of all of this. They can kill people without a pause but get all chocked up over the dog. Infantile children (too old for the role as played surely?) obey, revere and call plaintively to ‘Daddy’. Women husk up to the lunks seeking to ingratiate in the only way a ‘gal can’. Is this a good or accurate or even plausible message? Maybe it is and maybe that is why I managed to get through unlike many other reader/ listeners. I found it an intriguing introduction to a Republican view of apocalypse and the value structure of some Americans .. from the authors point of view of course. I had not gone to this head-space before and it was strange, alien and interesting enough to get me over the awful, gulpy, emotion-dripping delivery of the narrator and the wafer thin plausibility of the character development. If this is the Republican end of the world .. I definitely prefer that of Max Brooks of even J L Bourne but I did find the read interesting.
    In the end I got to the end via gritted teeth and the occasional ripping off of headphones and shouts of "Oh come ON".


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Barrett?

    Not much to offer here. I am not qualified to guide.


    What character would you cut from One Second After?

    Start with John and replace him with a young woman?


    Any additional comments?

    I am rarely moved to write my thoughts in this place, but I wanted to share on this one.
    This is not a totally terrible book but it does try to be.
    Lets be positive. Saving points in no particular order: first, a neat idea of a recoverable apocalypse – well, it is tempting to think it might be. This is a new genre and I found it refreshing. Zombie holocaust, plague more generally or nuclear Armageddon are all ‘the end’. Here we have something a bit more nuanced. Secondly, there is a grueling description of gradual fall - dealing with some of the minutiae of the long descent from the paper-thin veneer of civilization to .. whatever. Thirdly, maybe a sense of a present threat which hides in the light of the everyday. This is a form of apocalypse we don't really have with Zombie/ plague forms of the genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. Murphy
    London, UK
    9/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Harrowing and thought provoking."

    I listen to / read many books around the dystopian / post apocalyptic area but this one really touched a nerve with me. I almost listened to it all the way through it caught me that much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andy Russell
    New Pitsligo
    9/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great scenario, dreadful novel"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The backdrop for this story is right up my street, I do like a good apocalyptic novel. However we're forced to spend the story with an incredibly unlikable lead character. The book clearly wants you to root for this guy John but he's a self centered, ungrateful, self entitled moron - yet he's portrayed as a real hero. I'd be quite happy with a real baddie as the lead or someone gruff but with a heart of gold, but no - we're truly meant to like him.


    Has One Second After put you off other books in this genre?

    Not at all, the genre is great but this book could have been too.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator is ok but for the 12 year old girl he puts on the voice of a 3 year old that makes you want to hurl your listening device at the ground.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Complete disappointment, gave up half way through. Just couldn't connect with the lead character at all.


    Any additional comments?

    I was really disappointed with this , the story could have been great. I see there's now a sequel and I imagine John is ruining that too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R
    Carlisle, United Kingdom
    3/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brutal, minimal"
    What made the experience of listening to One Second After the most enjoyable?

    The book is supremely well researched. It is written in a no-fuss, no drama way. The main character is a little fuddy-duddy in the first chapter but when events unroll his solid logic is welcome. The events are described so starkly and so realistically, with no page-turner drama - just brutal and logical, that you are drawn in to this book in a clever, unpretentious way.
    It is not a poorly-written documentary type of book ,nor a massive hyped-up page turner, rather a great compromise. I thoroughly recommend as a moving and informative read, plus a lesson in how to write a book where the facts are strong enough in themselves to carry things.


    What other book might you compare One Second After to, and why?

    I have read nothing else that compares to this in its thorough examination of the smallest and most shockingly telling facts about an apocalypse in a 1st world country. I suppose there are some parallels to Stephen King's Under The Dome.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    It was great. Suited the story style well


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

    The dog


    Any additional comments?

    This should be taught in any country that prescribes medication for depression

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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