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One Second After | [William R. Forstchen]

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

4.2 (6607 )
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4.4 (4494 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Craig Barden Ridge, AK, USA 03-29-09
    Craig Barden Ridge, AK, USA 03-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "Best AudioBook I have listened to."

    I found this audiobook absolutely riveting and terrifying. I couldn't stop listening to it, and lost lots of sleep as a result. The narrator absolutely brought this book to life, and did a great job conveying the emotions of the characters. Now that I have finished the audibook, I can't stop thinking of how horrific this potential scenario would be.


    27 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie-Ann Norristown, PA, United States 09-18-12
    Bonnie-Ann Norristown, PA, United States 09-18-12 Member Since 2008

    bakesq

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Worthy Read"

    This book is a "what if" nightmare but told in a very non-threatening way. Many doomsday books have an aura of scariness or horror as a backdrop. This book does not. It's a character and community study of what would happen to Society if all of our gadgets suddenly went off.

    The story is one that is not only worth reading because it is so well-written and narrated, but because the idea of an electromagnetic pulse as a weapon is not really science fiction -- it's a real possibility. The lead character is a widowed father of two girls, retired military, living in a small Southern town and teaching at a local college. The point of view, although not first person, is through his eyes and his emotions. The human emotions and fear felt by the townspeople and others is real but not the star feature of the novel. Instead, the novel is in some ways a practical survival guide; how would food be organized, how would a town deal with non-townspeople, how would our old and our sick survive (or not). Despite the practicality aspects of the storytelling, the flow of the novel never fails to invite the reader (listener) to care about the people.

    This is not a "how to survive the zombie apocalypse" guide -- far from it. It's a story about people, dealing with day-to-day details of a lifestyle that they never expected and for which they are unprepared. There is sadness and joy. Mostly, there is a real story to be told.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Newby1994 10-19-09
    Newby1994 10-19-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the Scariest Books I have Ever Read!"

    After 9/11 Americans have been made aware of the many different ways the United States could be attacked and how these attacks could disrupt our way of life. One Second After describes in chilling detail how one such method could be carried out and how in a blink of an eye our way life, culture and nation would change forever. What makes this book so frightening is how easy it would be for such an attack to occur and what the result would mean for my family's future. It is simply too scary to think about!

    20 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jannali 03-12-15
    Jannali 03-12-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Disappointing"

    I thought the concept for this book was really interesting and the first few chapters set the story up well. Unfortunate the book then descends into big slabs of conversation about things that could happen and things that might happen. Basically people sitting around talking so that the author can somehow insert his research into the book. It became very boring, so many missed opportunities to actually explore those scenarios. Here is a great example of how the author needs to 'show don't tell'. The references to movies throughout also irked me, the author would describe a scene and then compare it to a movie scene. Completely unnecessary. There were about 10 instances of this and the author should have just trusted that the readers would understand what he was trying to convey through his description alone which most of the time was sufficient. The movie references were unnecessary and tiresome. I also thought the climax scene could have been much more exciting, but lost of it takes place in a passive voice and skipping over the action. Only thing that kept me going was the narrators great performance, but I feel someone else could do a better job with this very intriguing concept.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew S Cleveland Ohio 03-07-15
    Matthew S Cleveland Ohio 03-07-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
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    "Kept hoping the story would lead somewhere"

    Utterly predictable, no twists, heavy on the hero worship. Not well written, unfortunate waste of a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven 02-16-15
    steven 02-16-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Merica! F*** Yeah!"

    Almost more lecture and propaganda then story. overly dramatic, had me rolling my eyes on numerous occasions. but still an interesting listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary N. Bucklew Delaware Seashore 12-14-14
    Mary N. Bucklew Delaware Seashore 12-14-14

    HeartSleeve

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "About what you'd expect from a Newt Fan"

    I hope this books leaves with Newt Gingrich when he and his wife colonize Mars. What a heap of doomsday trash.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skye Washington State 10-31-14
    Skye Washington State 10-31-14 Member Since 2015

    Rural Mail Carrier

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A Warmongers Dream"
    Any additional comments?

    Obedience without question and Just Following Orders are well supported in this book.

    If you support 'Military Law' or 'Justifiable Homicide' and/or 'Government Sanctioned Killing' and 'Executions' then this book is for you! Hooah! Semper Fi!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pandora Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 10-13-14
    Pandora Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 10-13-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable, Interesting, Intriguing, Melodramatic"

    Enjoyable listen!

    I was happy to read about a scientific phenomenon, the EMP, so rarely discussed. The scenario depicted in the book, the collapse of our technological infrastructures, is a real danger that we expose ourselves to increasingly everyday, and one I have often found myself thinking about.

    My only complaint is that the melodrama did seem buttered on pretty thick at times. While those in need of special medication would indeed be imperilled, I simple can't quite buy that the tragedy would be a societal devastation on a greater order than a Black Plague. A little heavy handed, a little sappy, caught myself saying "Oh brother..." once or twice, but it was kind of part of the fun. Would have to agree with a fellow reviewer on the TV movie of the week feel.

    As a hopeless, helpless, unrepentant addict of every technology, device, and media, I know I'd go out of my mind in seventy-two hours. So on that, and many other levels, it was indeed an effectively frightening tale.

    1 of 1 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
    132
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    "One Second After"

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

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jason Smith
    12/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic book for shtf"
    What made the experience of listening to One Second After the most enjoyable?

    This is one of the few books that has made me cry, I mean really cry, yet it's rugged style and intelligent views of a real threat of a shtf moment and how that impacts a small comunity


    What did you like best about this story?

    Its a very open honest practical possible near future but unlike alot of shtf books the characters are well developed, I have a real feel the author loves the area the book is set. The issues with rights of the individual are more organic and honest than you would normaly expect


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favourite?

    the dogs, listen to the book and you will see what I mean


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

    Yes, though I can't say anything about the 4 poignant moments without spoiling the book


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to the book and start preparing

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • kate
    Stirling, Australia
    7/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my genre, but it grabbed me"
    What disappointed you about One Second After?

    I reached the end!


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

    Can't think of anything. It's a very realistic, plausible, post-apocolyptic


    Any additional comments?

    Brilliant. Disconcerting. Thought provoking. Made my husband read it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    London
    7/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unflinching"
    Where does One Second After rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's not great literature, but I did find it compelling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Like is not really the word, but I appreciated the realism of what you would have to do if all modern facilities disappeared. For example, the fact that healthy adults can die from a scratch that becomes infected. Burying the bodies and rationing food. And the fact that you can't be sure anything will ever get better.


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

    Excellent reading from Joe Barrett. Different voices and a beautiful delivery generally. I care very much about the narrator of audiobooks and he is top rate.


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

    I thought the moment with the dog was slightly contrived.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the actual writing more than I thought I would, as I was expecting something more didactic. However, I didn't care about the whole EMP idea, as I think the principle is the same whatever is the problem that derails modern civilisation - here it was a nuclear bomb, but it could just as well have been sunspots or a computer virus. So if there was a political message, I didn't care. Also, not being an American, I was unmoved by the whole appeal to US patriotism theme. Though I was pleased it was the British who came to their aid in the end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. A. J. H. Jackson
    London, UK.
    5/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A gripping listen..."
    Any additional comments?

    This was my first EMP novel and a very enjoyable listen. Well written with 0 standout mistakes/issues/inconsistencies. Apparently there is a second novel in the pipeline and I will definitely be looking out for it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pete
    BUILTH WELLS, United Kingdom
    10/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The end of the world as we know it."
    If you could sum up One Second After in three words, what would they be?

    Civilisation calapses. Endure........


    What did you like best about this story?

    The drama and the potential that it is feasible.


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

    Great representation of characters.


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

    Eating his dog...I was gutted


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyable, and will make you think.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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