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.
"[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)
An eye opening, "page turner" listen about what could happen if Americans had to survive long term without electricity or technology, the impacts to our society and the horrible choices that might have to be made. It also illustrates the current vulnerability of our electrical grid and technology to electro magnetic pulse weapons.
It can be a real downer so I wouldn't recommend it if you are in a vulnerable place in your life.
At the end I wanted to run out and buy a pre-1980s car, build a home underground, buy a generator, and store away enough supplies for 5 years. Logic prevailed and I called my Senator/Congressman and asked them if they understood how vulnerable we are. If enough Americans start asking the question - we may collectively address the risk before it is too late. Although I wouldn't argue against buying extra canned food, fuel, bottled water and storing it away. If someone offered me a great deal on a pre-1980s Volvo 240................
A better author able to tell a story without resorting to out of place flag waving. There is no emotional depth to any characters, and no connection to them.
I listened to One Bullet Away, a much more poignant reflection of patriotism without the schlockiness.
The narrator was ok.
I was disappointed. The book had a lot of hype, and the story about the threat was interesting. But the author just isn't a very good storyteller. This book clearly was published due to the author's connections to powerful people, not due to the quality of the story.
Science Fiction fan
This book has a thinly veiled conservative agenda, is overly melodramatic and the characters are wooden. I'm not sure why this got good reviews. The EMP angle is new, but otherwise, if you want to read about the degradation of society, read Steven King's "The Stand" or Nevil Shute's "On the Beach". I am sorry I wasted 11 hours of my life listening to this overly patriotic Fox News broadcast in narrative form.
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.
The dialogue and interactions between characters were analogous to a bad comic book. The main character was an EMP expert who took way too long to figure out that an event occurred! You think he would have known long before he discovered the only working appliance he had was his gas grill. The breakdown of society appeared to be depicted from the author's own imaginings rather than from any research into actual catastrophes caused by nature, man, or war. It was just not believable.
Yes, he is not to blame for this poorly written book.
I love well written, well thought out, post apocalyptic fiction that has no agenda. This was none of those things. Newt actually states in the introduction that this was written specifically to "inform" people of the dangers of EMP, one of the recent political tools. I won't get into the reasons why EMP is a fairly unlikely scenario, I can accept zombies so I could accept EMP as a catalyst, but what unfolds after the "event" is just goofy and comes right out of the paranoid dreams of some urban basement arm chair survivalist. EMP destroys nothing but delicate electronics, if that, and yet suddenly everyone is helpless...even in small towns in rural NC? Nobody seems to have a garden, an ATV (generally very basic electronics on these), a ham radio (many ham sets are tough old tube sets not likely to be affected by EMP), a old farm tractor or any of the many other modern technologies not viulnerable to EMP. 3 cars in a NC college town ... the kind of town that has classic car rallies a couple times a year...and that's it? And no farms? In rural NC? And there are hardly any bikes or horses...seriously?
I also find that one key characteristic of Americans, self centered, marshmallow soft dopes that we can be, is mostly ignored in this biased account: we do pull together in a crisis, we do help each other even when otherwise we might not give each other the time of day. Sure, that might eventually degrade if things got really bad, but it never even blooms here. Not only is that a cynical perspective but a poor plot plan since it is the conversion under adverse conditions of the characters that usually makes such fiction believable. This is not believable.
Anyway, with all this, the two dimensional, non-sympathetic characters, and obvious political agenda make this a sadly disappointing entry in the post apocalyptic genre. If you want a really good, haunting tale in this genre try "Earth Abides"
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
After listening to this book I did some research and found the threats represented in the story are not only credible but probable. At least now we have been warned!
The narration is excellent, he nails the southern accents of North Carolina and small town NC as well.
The story is riveting, gut wrenching and frightening. It's not a feel good story, but don't let that turn you away. It is an important book to read!
All throughout the adventure I tried to imagine how I would act under the circumstances laid out by Fortschen. Perhaps this is why I am so moved by his work. I'd love to think I'd survive, but I simply can't imagine that would be the case.
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!
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.
This book scared me. I did my own research to see how plausible this kind of attack was. I found that it could be very easily accomplished. The story was compelling and I could not stop listening. It smacks the rose colored glasses off your face. I would highly recommend this book.
"Not my genre, but it grabbed me"
I reached the end!
Can't think of anything. It's a very realistic, plausible, post-apocolyptic
Brilliant. Disconcerting. Thought provoking. Made my husband read it!
It's not great literature, but I did find it compelling.
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.
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.
I thought the moment with the dog was slightly contrived.
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!
"Assumptions and American Superpatriotism"
I'm afraid my opinion of this book differs greatly from so many of the other reviewers - I found myself annoyed throughout. The author obviously did his research on certain topics, but others he completely neglected and important parts of the story were based on weak assumptions. That added to the intense American nationalism and Deep South Republican attitude just left me shaking my head. I'll be taking Audible up on their lovely return policy and this is the first book I'll ever have returned based on pure dislike. The only good thing I can say for it is the narrator was fine.
"A gripping listen..."
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!
"The end of the world as we know it."
Civilisation calapses. Endure........
The drama and the potential that it is feasible.
Great representation of characters.
Eating his dog...I was gutted
Enjoyable, and will make you think.
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