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)
Engaging, Thought provoking, life changing
I felt like I knew the characters.
I would have loved to listen to this book all at one time. I found myself finding time anywhere to listen. I am married with 2 young kids, so time for me is rare (not complaining) would have rather listen to book than watch TV
If you liked Alas Babylon, (which I gave five stars to all the way across) then you will enjoy this book. The introduction and Epilogue are quite disturbing... The story is solid and decently written and the reader does a good job. Worth adding to your audio collection.
The opening prologue from Newt Gingrinch made it fairly clear where the story was going as a "warning" so it lacked a certain amount of mystery that makes a book compelling for me. Overall it was well written, the reading excellent and I was even moved at points, but more often than not it tended to drag through the details of the downward spiral.
This book had so much potential, but I found it falling flat on its face again and again. The problem is, it feels more like a PSA then a story. In the forward they even come right out and say that was one of the main reasons this book was written. If you imagine everything your weirdest friend said about the Y2K bug, that is exactly what this book is. Doom and gloom. The main protagonist is just there to provide historical context to what is going on. The story doesn't so much arch as it does slowly descend into madness.
If you have ever read any other end of the world type books you will find this one lacking. I kept being reminded of The Stand by Steven King, and I think its a good book to contrast this one with. In The Stand, the characters drive the book, they are varied, interesting, sometimes crazy, sometimes logical, emotional, likable. That is what makes that book good. In One Second After there is really only one character in one location who is okay, but not very dynamic. It is such a missed opportunity to show what was really going on. The main character thinks (guesses) what is happening around the country, but we never get a glimpse outside of the little world the protagonist finds himself trying to create and protect. It quickly gets boring. People die every few minutes that we have no emotional connection to so it looses all impact. Every big plot point is telegraphed so far in advanced you are never surprised when something happens.
Joe Barrett does do a good job at narration and its not all together a waste of a credit. There are parts that are enjoyable and it is fun to play the "what if" game along with the book trying to think of what you would do, how you would survive. Just don't expect the kind of magic you would normally get from a character driven novel.
Also, if you really want to have fun with this book, I thought of a great drinking game for this book. Every time someone says "I can't believe its come to this", take a drink. Drink twice if you get the added bonus of "and is just X days/weeks." The bottle will be empty before chapter 4.
truck driving audio book freak
In a country obsessed with fears of ciggarettes, gay mariage, nail files on airplanes and hundreds of other unfounded concerns, this story (this reality) is laying in wait.
From the forward from Newt Gingrich through to the end, this book grabs you by the shirt and slaps you into realization. It is gripping and fast paced. Heart stopping and heart breaking.
I only hope we won't be foolish enough to ignore the message. Our electrical grid can be protected at a cost of just a few billion. I don't want to ask myself afterwards "what were we thinking?"
Listen and then act.
The author created such emotional attachment that I had to care.
I like a good apocalypse story line as much as the next person but at some point this book lost me in all the efforts to convince me of ...well everything. I guess my "agenda o'meter" was going off, soon after the forward by Newt Gingrich. It just felt like the book should have had more story and real character development. Instead most of the character interaction was used as a means to string together avenues for introducing facts about our country and how easily we would fall to ruin. From how dependent we are on food transport, medicine, and electronics...to how ill prepared our local, state and federal governments are. Which don't get me wrong, we probably are, but I wasn't really looking for someone's dissertation / doctoral thesis converted into story format with a little dialogue mixed in to grease the wheels. I even consider myself to be slightly leaning toward the "prepper" mentality, and in that regard this book has a few good take aways. Although if that's what you are looking for, then check out the book Patriots. It has a lot better info and honestly is more helpful as a cookbook for that sort of thing.There are some touching moments between the main character and his daughters, but even those moments were slightly ruined as I felt bludgeoned over the head with explainations about statistically speaking this is how things go and practically speaking we've seen this happen before in major wars.On the light side I did feel the narrator did a good job and helped me stick with the book until the end.
Say something about yourself!
The author identifies with the reader, playing off our humanity, to open our eyes to the possibility of an EMP attack and illustrates what our technology-based lives would be like if the lights went out.
The break-in at the professor's house.
O - yes! He is an awesome reader. Great job on all of the character voices. Good reading speed and great emotion!
Yes, but the story is pretty intense. I had to listen in sessions
Yes. Kept me thinking about what I'd do.
He captures the characters well, even the female characters.
My reaction is eagerness to take action.
Very disturbing story and so easily believable.
Made me think about how I would handle such a situation considering I live in Florida.
Listen to the book - kind of sobering and well worth the time.
Elizabeth, Artist, Alaska...
This is a great addition to the genre. I have already listened to this book twice. Great narration with a clear voice and solid pace. Just enough voice inflection for the different characters. The story itself is very detailed, tangible and sincerely awful---we are dealing with the end of civilization as we know it in this novel. An excellent listen.
"Disturbing and Very Irritating"
I selected this audio book because the post-apocalyptic nature of the story appealed to me (saddo that I am...)
However it has a number of genuine challenges - which very nearly led to me throwing the towel in the first few hours of listening (frankly this was not helped by a foreword from Newt Gingrich).
- The narrative is peppered with endless patriotic "God Bless America", "America is the best", "we will endure because we are Americans" comments. These might be heart warning to Americans - for me, their frequency really irritated. And it comes across as slightly smug - from a nation that, whatever they might think, do not have a monopoly on freedom and democracy.
- There are constant references to soldiers, veterans, the military. I don't mean in a "grab a gun, the zombies are coming (they aren't)" sort of way. I mean in a "The American military and vets in particular are wonderful and we all owe them so much". I'm not saying they are not and that they (Americans) don't owe them. But be prepared to listen to a lot of it.
- The book is sort of like a report on the consequences of "the event which happens in the story" converted into a novel - but still sounding somewhat like a report.
What I will say in its favour is that it really does punch home some of the real day to day issues that almost certainly would be endured by people facing this sort of scenario. It has made me consider buying a lot of food in bulk and hiding at the end of my garage waiting for the world to collapse.
I don't think the book is well written in terms of the characters and the narrative framework - it is somewhat disjointed - the author is certainly no Stephen King.
In summary - this IS a post-apocalyptic story. It does go on and on about how wonderful America is. It's really just a warning about what might happen if America doesn't prepare for the worst.
If you want an atmospheric end of the world read - I would say this probably should not be top of your list (try Station 11 if you've not read that).
"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.
"Are you prepared?"
I love this genre but this was my first EMP novel and I wasn't disappointed it has loads of detail about the breakdown of civilisation that makes the scenario so much more real. My only complaint is that the author felt they had to add in the America forever strap lines which left me cold but overall a very good read if you like this sort of thing
"First audio book and I really enjoyed it."
Believable story with decent characters. One of the best post apocalyptic readings I have ever enjoyed.
"A shocking look at how fragile our civilisation is"
If all of our modern conveniences were taken away in a split second how long would it take our society to unravel? How long would it take civilisation to revert to savagery?
This book is a disturbing what if scenario which could become reality all too easily if not though EMP as depicted in this work then by other means such as economic collapse.
A truly riveting story which is shocking and disturbing along which some devastatingly heart-breaking moments.
This book will definitely leave you thinking, if not change your outlook on our times.
A Five Star Listen
This book really does well at demonstrating how dependent we have become on our electrical devices and gives an impression of how life would be if they were all suddenly taken away. If you enjoyed watching Jericho (or any other apocalyptic fiction) you will love this. Parts of this book will excite you, others will depress you, death is inevitable throughout.
"Best of the Genre"
I have listened to a few in this genre and this is the first that has managed to stir my emotions. Great story, well narrated and frighteningly easy to put yourself and your family in the story. Superb.
"Thought provoking storyline"
The book explores our modern dependency on technology and how vulnerable we become without it. The difficulties caused by an electronic meltdown were well explored, even down to areas such as those who are medication dependant as well as the more obvious issues such as food, water and power.
The book revolves very much around the lead character his family and their town so in that respect, tends not to compare to other books of the genre I have read. This book explores the disaster at the local level. If it were to happen, we would all experience the same issues.
I loved this narrator for his soft accent, good diction and measured pace.
The book does tug at the heart strings but would have done so much more with less schmaltz and a big lid on the patriotic We are Americans stuff. I understood what the author was trying to say with it but it was too heavy handed especially as the people causing all the trouble were also Americans too!
I enjoyed the book but felt that it missed the opportunity to be taken a bit more seriously and that is a shame. As with so many books today, I felt some of the story and the writing was sacrificed for the movie the author was hoping for.
"Pray it never happens"
Best book I've listened to for a while. Perhaps ever.
This book must've been good as I found myself talking about its scenarios over dinner, wondering to myself what *I* would do in a similar situation and getting emotional more than once as the story progressed. I guess it's really immersive - perhaps more so as an audio book, aided partly by the narrator's performance, which never pulled me out of the story once.
Pray it never happens
I've seen reviews of the paper book criticising the grammar. But as a 'read' book I never noticed any of this so I'm glad that I listened to it!
Enthralling! Thought Provoking!
John - a normal, caring individual
Makes John come to life.
Several moving moments - found myself crying as I drove
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