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One Second After Audiobook

One Second After

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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

4.4 (14705 )
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4.4 (11996 )
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4.5 (11974 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Victor Williamsville, NY, United States 10-05-16
    Victor Williamsville, NY, United States 10-05-16 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How was this terrible? Let me count the ways..."
    What was most disappointing about William R. Forstchen’s story?

    1) The basic premise is totally inaccurate. The book assumed that an EMP would knock out ever single electronic device manufactured after the 1960's without exception. That's simply not true. In fact, the commission on EMP talked about in the epilog of the book says that 10% of cell phone calls will go through 2-days after such an attack even directly under the detonation (where the pulse is the strongest). In other words, cell phones will not be destroyed - just most, but not all, of the tower. Most computers and even most radio equipment, especially of not connected to an antenna and many vehicles would survive. However, it is accurate that most of the power grid and telephone will be taken out but some parts would survive and most spare parts in storage would still be good. <br/><br/>2) The book claims that cults of cannibalistic satanists, some numbering over 10,000 strong will form all over the country and will wipe out (and eat) whole communities. Really? Most people are good - and even many of the bad ones would never eat human flesh no matter how hungry they get. There would be some that would if hungry enough (Leningrad) but then join satanic cult on top of it? Not even remotely plausible. Are there "bad people" out there? Psychopaths? criminal? Absolutely, but I believe that in a time of crisis, these people are quickly "taken out" by the many more people that have a solid moral compass. <br/><br/>3) The book claims it would take this community in North Carolina over a year to get any form of help from the government. Yes, the government is not known for fast, efficient service but a full year? Really? How long does it take to fill a cargo plane and fly it over a community and drop supplies? Yes, there will be cargo planes available, even if you buy that all planes on US soil were disabled - this is a big planet and the US has resources all over it that can be mobilized.<br/><br/>4) The book claims it takes months for the government to get any kind of radio broadcast to the public and then only from a carrier off the coast. Totally BS. Setting up a transmitter is simple and getting them even simpler, even if the government has to strap a few to the passenger seat of a jet fighter and fly them in from the far reaches of the planet. Low Power AM transmitters are small, cheap and can transmit signals for hundreds of miles. It would take days to put together a simple nation wide repeater network, even if it had to be built from scratch. <br/><br/>5) The politics of this book are pervasive and extremely annoying. This book was clearly written from a neo-conservative, "if you aren't with us, you are against us", misogynistic, anti-"bleeding heart liberal", racist point of view but it also tries really hard to pretend not to be any of those things which makes it come across as being even more disingenuous. This is written with a world view that evil is always lurking just under the surface ready to take over at the first sign of weakness, that only the strong can possibly survive in a time of crisis and that violence is the only way to maintain order. Also total BS.<br/><br/>6) The story claims that the city of New York, a coastal city of 20 million people, was reduced to only 25,000 savages. Really? How hard would it be to send a ship filled with supplies into the city? Far easier than almost anywhere else in the country so why does he think New York would be doomed? Too many "got-damn liberals"?<br/><br/>There are more reasons why this book is terrible but I think that's enough to make my point. To be fair, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it. I kept listening, mostly to hear what outrage would be uttered next...


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was OK but there were times when it was pretty bad and it made me cringe.


    44 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.K. 09-22-16
    G.K. 09-22-16
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    "The first Audible refund I've ever requested"

    Did the tobacco lobby fund the publishing of this book? Granted, I'm a smoker, but it started to seem that every chapter had to mention the joy of cigarettes, or how many the protagonist had left in his pack at any given moment. It became distracting. Added to the comically one dimensional characters I found I could not take it anymore by the half way point. As much as I enjoy a good disaster yarn, I was unable to make it through this clunker.

    19 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W G Lynwood, WA, Australia 07-09-09
    W G Lynwood, WA, Australia 07-09-09
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    "Amazing"

    This was an amazing book. I was aware of the threat of EMP's before reading this book, but after reading this book it makes that already known threat seem even more plausible. The concept can make for a very interesting conversation with a friend. The narration felt as if he was really in the situation. Great book and easy to follow.

    42 of 61 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 04-25-13
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 04-25-13 Member Since 2015

    Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Riveting and way to realistic to ignore!m"

    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.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana 03-29-09
    Dana 03-29-09 Member Since 2015
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    "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.

    44 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LTC R. 06-11-17
    LTC R. 06-11-17 Member Since 2013
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    "NOW THIS IS A GOOD READ!"
    What made the experience of listening to One Second After the most enjoyable?

    Being a retired Military Officer, I even said "OH CRAP! Why didn't our leaders think of this and plan for it?" I even recommend it to the young leaders I mentored and said "you might want to think about this".


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heather 05-03-17
    heather 05-03-17 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wake Up People!"

    Very well written, lots of research with a great story line. The only draw back, the voices of the daughters. One too many "Daddy" for me! The girls sounded too whiney!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt Schwoppe Alexandria, VA United States 03-02-17
    Kurt Schwoppe Alexandria, VA United States 03-02-17 Member Since 2015

    My rating scheme: 3 stars - give it a try, 4 stars - well written & entertaining, 5 stars - best in genre.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Realistic Worst Nightmare"

    Do NOT let the negative comments sway you; this is an EXCELLENT book. Maybe the impact regarding EMP is a bit overblown, but who cares!? It’s not about EMP, it’s about what happens to a modern society when it suddenly isn’t modern. The results are terrifying. Bill Forstchen’s conclusions may be extreme, but they are well thought out and certainly possible. While the story does continuously harp about our reliance on modern technology, that’s exactly what the characters are realizing as their modern day conveniences disappear nearly leading them to the point of utter despair. Some may also be put off by a political tone associated with religion and nationalism, but Forstchen supports this societal tendency by weaving in enlightening historical references as seen through the eyes of the main character. This is a fascinating book that holds your attention, smacks you across the face a few times, and hopefully makes you appreciate that iPhone you are currently taking for granted. Finally, Joe Barrett’s narration is also one of the best I’ve ever heard for an Audible book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aztex Desert Southwest 01-25-17
    Aztex Desert Southwest 01-25-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great Listen But...."

    Hi,

    Over all I enjoyed the story. Narration top notch, couldn't hope for more.

    Story misses wide a few times. If you're even semi-serious about prepping (I'm not hardly at all but have played a couple scenarios and have some essentials but would struggle after a week or two under One Sec. After scenario) you'll find serious holes in the story.

    It seems to me a lot of people who would play a central role under such circumstances would be larger character as opposed to those thrust into it.

    A couple passages are agonizing sad and long.

    While a work of fiction it should get you thinking. Makes you look around the house and at least not be waiting till you're almost out of essentials.

    Debating if I'll continue with the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ohio Reader 01-11-17
    Ohio Reader 01-11-17

    Elderly, bookish person, omnivorous reader, only bothers to review books she considered worth reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "best dystopian trilogy ever"
    Any additional comments?

    I've read many a dystopian novel & trilogy in my 80 years, but never one so well written as this by a master storyteller, read by a narrator who so richly conveyed the various characters, and a cast of characters to care about. This story brought me to tears several times, but is far from maudlin. Again, the very best dystopian story ever. Read all three books. They're well worth the time.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    Chinnor, United Kingdom
    1/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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).

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • BillyBlackBear
    South Wales
    3/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Ryan
    Galway, Ireland
    8/9/11
    Overall
    "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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • M. Wilson
    5/26/11
    Overall
    "Startling"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Inerness, United Kingdom
    7/1/10
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Miko
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    6/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Matt L.
    12/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Book"

    This is a great book. Well written, well paced and with strong characters you evolve throughout the book.

    Ignore the reviews which mention an overdose of American patriotism - the book is set in an area where there are a lot of patriots and with a strong christian background. If these weren't in the book then it wouldn't be a true representation of the area or the people.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary
    Bembridge, United Kingdom
    10/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking storyline"
    What did you like most about One Second After?

    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.


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

    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.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    I loved this narrator for his soft accent, good diction and measured pace.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs Mac
    Scotland
    2/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pray it never happens"
    Where does One Second After rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best book I've listened to for a while. Perhaps ever.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Pray it never happens


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kathy McD London
    London, England
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb listen!"
    If you could sum up One Second After in three words, what would they be?

    Enthralling! Thought Provoking!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John - a normal, caring individual


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

    Makes John come to life.


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

    Several moving moments - found myself crying as I drove


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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