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)
Very plausable book. Considering the ineptness of Congress and Washington DC's political scene...there is a case our government needs to explore EMP's potential danger to Amercia
I was riveted and finished this book in record time. It was really detailed and described what life would be like for a small town given those circumstances. Very sad at times also. If you enjoy the apocalyptic type of stories this is a really great one. I enjoyed the characters and especially the development of the main character John through out the book. I hope there could be a follow-up novel at some point!
It gives you an idea about what skills you need to hone - just in case our comfortable way of life should change.
As a part of the medical profession...we have forgotten how much medical technology has impacted on our lives and on our longevity.
I have even purchased the paperback to share with others
Since this is a speculative work, 'most enjoyable' takes on a bit of a different meaning - I'll call it 'most valuable.' Two elements stand out for me.
1. The author has really done his research and presents issues you would not imagine and yet there is no doubt the scenario would play out at least as bad as described, possibly worse. These problems span all disciplines and specializations, come from every angle, and give absolutely no quarter.
2. This was written by an author, as a story, with characters you come to know and care about. I hear you saying "Huh? Of course it is" but what I mean is this. The object of this piece is to drive home the real dangers posed by an EMP attack on a modern nation. It's a story, of a family, in a small town mostly removed from the horror of a major metropolitan area in such an event. You're not in a front row seat but living it with the family - the town becomes your town, the children, pets, relatives your own. The effect is chilling and far more powerful than an academic primer or a field manual full of descriptions, numbers, charts, or diagrams could ever be. What would you do? What could you do?
Ab-so-lutely! As I've said, the author masterfully pulls the reader into the thick of it as the world goes to hell in a hand basket. No punches are pulled and you realize quickly that nobody is safe - and that of course is the point. This combined with excellent research and pacing build tension and anxiety that never really abates, even afterwards. You will be thinking about this for some time after reading/listening and you'll see things in a new light.
Joe Barrett's performance was excellent. The only caveat is that it would be improved by a second voice actor for the females parts. That said, there is no issue telling various characters apart - and there are many. It's also overshadowed by how well he achieves the protagonist - exactly as I would expect a well-educated, retired Army Colonel to sound from accent to cadence, inflection, even a certain gravelly aspect.
As society breaks down, the people are forced to re-examine or abandon many tenets of civility, humanity, even taboos. Without giving anything away, certain scenes with animals and children gave me chills where grappling with 'outsiders' did not. Also, if you put stock in what it means to be an American, it's hard not to feel something when nationalism resurfaces from time to time.
I'm torn. I'm inclined to advocate having a hard copy to revisit periodically, to lend out (awareness being the author's goal), and fittingly, in case the power ever does go out. And yet... the audio performance was so compelling and moving that not having that experience would be a loss. Consider the audio book initially and maybe hop over to Amazon.com and grab a used copy of the paperback on the cheap if you're similarly moved.
After proof-reading this review I feel compelled to note, if it sounds like I may be one of those alarmist, doomsday types - I most definitely am not, I actually grabbed this on a whim when I got a bonus credit. I'm stunned by the paranoia that drives them to such lengths but I think I can understand that anxiety a little bit better now - though I still have no plans to stockpile goods in a bunker.
The reader was authentic without being overly dramatic
On the Beach
Civilization is a thin veneer
Terrific book about a genuine threat, well-told and effectively grim.
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
If ever there was a book that says, "WAKE UP" it's this one. I heard about this book while based in Iraq and got it for my Kindle. But with the little time I had to "Read" I decided to get it through Audible. WOW. AWESOME book. I liked it so much I called my Mom and had her download it to her Kindle, we still talk about it from time to time. Since reading this book we, as a family have gotten things together just in case.
the story line and the great narration by Joe Barrett.
the death and burial of the second dog.
his voice variations of the characters.
I didn't fall asleep listening to this book.
Yes, It educates you about EMPs and makes you think what you would do in this situation.
The expression in his voice really helped me imagine the characters.
Have seen the play 6 times and can't wait to see the film!
This book made me get a 5 gallon jug of water and more.
I heart mysteries, political non-fiction, and memoirs, especially all in one book.
If you can get over the narrator's horrible impression of the female's voices, this book has a lot to offer. The author is clearly Republican leaning, though moderate in his take of the new world that is created by an EMP blast. The story is realistic, with quite a bit of history of war thrown in. The characters are more or less believable, the action scenes credible and the cautionary tips about being prepared for anything are useful. Plus, the forward by Newt Gingrich is solid (this coming from a bleeding heart liberal).
This was a nonstop scare because it is much, much too possible. If you've ever lost power for a day, a week or months you'll have some idea of what could happen. This is a look at what happens to good people in bad times. Highly recommend.
"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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