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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

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Performance
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  •  
    LetsTalkNerd 12-21-15
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    "A look into what could happen."

    Due to current events in this world we live, I've recently begun looking into more preservation techniques should something catastrophic happen in the U.S.

    During my research, I came across a video discussing what the aftermath if an EMP burst entails. As a gamer, I had some prior knowledge on the subject as most shooters nowadays have some type of EMP based weapon and it always deals with knocking out electronics. So I did some more research and someone suggested this book.

    Needless to say, this book is brilliantly scary and well written as well as well narrated. I truly fill this story lays out exactly what would happen in the aftermath of an EMP based attack. Its not a matter of if it could happen but when? This technology is real and we the people are not prepared. I wont go on a rant but this book is just great. I shed some tears, my heart rate escalated, its good. Buy it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara 11-06-13
    Sara 11-06-13
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    "A terrifying story"
    Any additional comments?

    This story was harrowing. I downloaded it as the daily deal and was just checking to make sure the down load worked correctly when I found myself hooked. I listened to the whole book in a matter of days putting aside the book I was currently reading. The narrator did a great job but the story itself captured a sense of truth that made it seem terrifyingly possible. On a personal note, having survived a six day power outage with no water and no where to go after a hurricane and earthquake and flooding several years ago, the reactions of the characters rang true. The deadly aftermath of the EMP attack really made me think about being prepared for disasters in future. Thought provoking. Be warned --considerable graphic violence. Disturbing.

    76 of 89 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Spooner Loveland, OH 07-25-09
    Andy Spooner Loveland, OH 07-25-09 Member Since 2006
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    "A page-turner, no doubt, but..."

    The preaching about the dangers of relying on technology gets a little old. If it had been straight-up post-apocalyptic thriller, it would have been fine; throwing in a couple of comments about how dependent we had been on technology would have been OK, too, but the book really beats it into you. Still, I could hardly turn the audio off on this one. If you are interested in similar themes (minus the preaching), try Lucifer's Hammer (huge meteorite) or The Stand (flu pandemic).

    197 of 233 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaye 10-22-13
    Jaye 10-22-13
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    "Bummer--I should have listened to the reviews"
    Any additional comments?

    I should have listened to the reviews--if I had, I wouldn't have tried to listen to this book. The reader is fine, no problem, but... the story? I love dystopian 'end of the world' stories, whether the 'end' is via zombies, flu, nukes, whatever. I enjoy reading and thinking about how one copes with harsh new environments, trying to survive. But this book is not... that. This is a tedius, finger-wagging LECTURE, period. The protagonist is a professor (surprise, surprise!), everyone around him, after the EMP hits and destroys the U.S., endlessly asks him 'what's it all mean? And, 'what's it all about', and the professor LECTURES them (and us, alas) ad infinitum, boringly and endlessly, about our reliance on technology, til you could just keel over and die of boredom. The book pretends to have an actual story--the professor has two daughters, one of whom is diabetic, and of course, medicine is an immediate emergency, but to me anyway, the actual 'story' is thin and fake. The book is simply an excuse--an excuse for the author to lecture (endlessly!) about mankind's reliance on technology. Boring and annoying--trust me, don''t waste a credit.

    99 of 122 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 10-12-09
    Rob 10-12-09
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    "An excellent listen!"

    I really enjoyed this book!! I am very interested in history, anthropology, geopolitics and other topics. Because of my broad interests, I found this book compelling on several levels.

    Too many people are getting uptight as they are strangled by their varied perspectives to evaluate this book fairly. The fact is that it is not only plausible, it could happen today. The time line laid out was both scary and fascinating.

    I found the writing, narration, technical accuracy and of this novel to be excellent. Also, as a former infantry officer I can say the author has an impressive understanding of land warfare.

    Happy driving!!

    59 of 77 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 05-23-17
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 05-23-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Made me wann stock the basement with canned food"
    What other book might you compare One Second After to and why?

    I think this was very comparable to a Michael Crichton novel. It was a realistic situation that could happen to us at any moment in the real world.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Something about being an end of the world prepper..


    Any additional comments?

    The potential for this to be a real life situation truly had me wishing that my basement was fully stocked with food, or that I kept livestock in my yard. It was a really powerful story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 07-05-12
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 07-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Civil War Re-enactor Saves a Community?"

    I think not!

    But I get it. This is meant to be a cautionary, worst case scenario tale against doing nothing to prepare against an EMP event. If that was the goal, then I think it could have been better handled as a satire, (A Modest Proposal) because Forstchen’s portraiture of America and Americans didn’t ring true for me.

    In under a week the protagonist, John, is publicly executing looters. In less than 20 days this small town representation of America has turned into a “show me your papers, please,” East Germany, and in less than two months the author has us devolving into cannibalism. Not unlikely events, to be sure, but on that timeframe when all the buildings are still habitable, roads passable (with the dead cars out of the way), potable water and fertile land? Bear in mind, there’s been no direct nuclear devastation, no pandemic, no major natural disaster – no zombies or aliens. Power is out, communications are down and transportation is limited.

    In trying to paint this bleak picture of America, Forstchen neglects one of the ingredients that makes America, America: imagination. If we lost the use of our cars, and cell phones, and computers, and drugs we would be annoyed and frustrated – and scared, but we wouldn’t become helpless to the point of cannibalism in less than 60 days! Not our DIY, “think globally, buy locally,” live off the grid, alternative fuel, ride your bike to work day society!

    Throughout the story, too many times I caught myself thinking things like, “wait a second! You mean to tell me that a small community outside of progressive Asheville doesn’t have a co-op run organic farm or a community garden? It has horses but no mounted police? No farriers? No yuppie urbanites with $3000 dollar bicycles to form a courier system or bicycle brigade? Really?”

    This is a town made up of chain smoking college professors and ex-military, Cold War military. There appear to be no artisans, blacksmiths or gunsmiths... or carpenters, electricians, or plumbers. The youth at the local college are particularly useless and only good for training as militia. Where are the nerds – the engineers, the techno and auto geeks who would view the lack of electricity and functioning circuitry as a challenge? There are Civil War re-enactors, but no Native American folk-life demonstrators, or traditional life-ways practitioners? There are “survivalist-types,” but none with a stockpile of MREs? Really? And no one, except for the campus security guard, demonstrates any real individual leadership, not even our protagonist. He gets placed into leadership positions through circumstance.

    In the best post-apocalyptic, dystopian future novels (think Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Atwood’s A Handmaiden’s Tale, Orwell’s 1984 or King’s The Stand) the “bad thing” happens before the story and the story is about how the indomitable human spirit overcomes. In the end, One Second After is a cautionary tale against homogeneity and the loss of imagination – killers of our human spirit, for without that, whether we face a super flu epidemic, an EMP strike or the zombie apocalypse, our society is lost.

    277 of 369 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 09-20-15
    Wayne Matthews, NC 09-20-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Superb Post-Apocalyptic EMP Novel"

    Post-Apocalyptic novels, especially in the teen genre, seem the rage of the day. One Second After is not a teen book. It is about the potential damage wrought a real modern weapon called Electromagnetic Pulse or EMP. EMP is a nuclear weapon exploded in the atmosphere which would likely fry/disable virtually all electrical and electronic devices including the electrical grid, cell and land line phones services, and computers over a wide area, an area potentially as wide as most of the United States excluding only Hawaii andand parts of Alaska. The potential for such an attack is real and the results would be catastrophic. There are expensive technologies to harden electronics against EMP attack, but in the US only some military devices have been hardened.

    This book is set in western North Carolina is very much about local impact of an EMP attack, but the locale would be typical of what is happening across the country. The athor has very recently released the second book in the series titled One Year After.

    One Second After is an important book that helped to increase the attention of the executive and legislative branches of the US government to the risk of EMP weapons and the need for better preparation. It is a must read novel!

    19 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Perkins Michigan 08-31-12
    Kelli Perkins Michigan 08-31-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Like a TV Movie of the Week"
    What disappointed you about One Second After?

    The writing was depressingly shallow and none of the characters reacted as they should. Although the main character is a Colonel in the military, he is constantly shocked and surprised by the way people are reacting to what appears to be an apocalyptic emergency. Then, during a mad rush for supplies, he takes time out to explain everything from the history of EMP's to which countries have been working on strategic weapons, to a bunch of townspeople who have apparently been hiding under a rock. If the town were populated by ten year olds, I expect they'd be more educated. It is unfortunate when a novelist has to cram his entire back story into a pedantic monologue at the feet of fools.

    Surprisingly (or not surprisingly if this were a TV movie of the week which had to wrap up in 2 hours), despite heavy looting our hero is able to find just the thing he needs, untrampled and hidden all the way in the back where no other person has managed to find it.. The last bags of ice, the last candy bars, the last cans of Ensure. This guy's incredibly lucky! The rest of the town is not very persistent in their quest for survival, so they keep leaving the last of everything for him!

    For a great post-apocalyptic book which is as fresh as the day it was written, try "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank, and don't waste your money on this badly put together junk. I don't bother writing bad reviews, but I'm so disappointed that I spent money on this and I'm done assaulting my ears, so into the trash bin it goes.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The reader did a great job with a terrible script.


    184 of 258 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianna 03-27-09
    Dianna 03-27-09
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    "Sensational Eye Opener....A Must Listen."

    I have literally lost count of how many titles I have purchased on audible. In all of those-this is my first review.
    This story was incredible...poignant, heart-breaking, and shocking. All that took place in this book hit home so hard because deep down you know that it could possibly happen.
    I cried when they suffered, smiled with them, and cheered when they triumphed over daunting challenges. I highly recommend this title...All in all-A Profoundly Moving 'What If' Story. It would be awesome to have a sequel!!

    61 of 87 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Matt L.
    12/21/16
    Overall
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Peter M.
    10/19/17
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    "Heart Rendering "

    The story was both believable and heart rendering and I loved the narration .....great story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Napoleon of Dorset
    3/28/17
    "Apocalyptic tear jerker"

    A brilliant story, made all the more real by the mundane tragedy of what happens during an apocalyptic event.

    There are no Jack Reachers, superhuman fighters or all American heroes. Just a slow decline, punctuated by the tragedy of disease, starvation, banditry and war.

    In the midst of this there are some great characterisations and the way in which they cope (or not) with events is heartbreaking at times.

    Recommended to anyone interested in this genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    1/9/17
    "Shocking and thought provoking"

    Well thought out and executed. However I feel the narrator's voice and delivery was ill suited particularly for the female parts and lacked range and scope. For the European reader the American apple pie nature of the first fee chapters may grate, but once the disaster strikes the novel takes shape. Great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ray Zamfir
    9/14/16
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    "Unbelievable good."

    Full of strategies, leadership, tehnical and historical information blend into an emotional novel that will make you weep, lough and most of all will make you THINK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sarah
    9/1/16
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    "good book. recommended."

    not the best I've read but it is up there with best. different to other books like this I've read as it focuses on one place and time moves quite slowly as day to day. Didn't like how the actual war was generalised and summarised as my emotions didn't get chance to connect and Mourne as big characters died they were just mentioned as an after thought. not my favourite book but I would recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Miss Happy
    London, United Kingdom
    8/7/16
    "I'm heading down to Tesco ......."
    What did you like most about One Second After?

    I don't know about "Like" - but it was a brilliant book. YES... very Americatastic... but once you get past that - i hate to say it - but this was a book that is horribly close to the truth of what would probably happen in the event of an EMP event. Horribly realistic. FANTASTIC NARRATOR. All i can say is its a good thing that Tesco is open 24/7... i'm picking up some extra cans of beans, vitamins, water, more water, aspirin. Generator anyone?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of One Second After?

    When the main character read the story to his dying daughter.... and then went to kill the last family dog for food for his family....


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

    His accent so kept it real. Massively conveyed the finality of so many of the decisions they all had to face


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

    Yes... massively. had to stop and almost cry in many parts. Horrified by the brutality of humans. The end... so wasn't the end....


    Any additional comments?

    Prepare to be moved but if you don't like abject American patriotism... avoid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James
    7/27/16
    "A frightening possibility"

    I found this book absorbing, it gave a good insight into the more rural culture of America, the pace of life what we here in England might have referred to as village life.
    What was alarming was the speed that all of the nicety was swept aside in the name of survival.
    In the book you had strong leadership and a community for the best part worked together, this however is not mirrored by others and the horrors of war are all to real.
    This is a horrifying tale that is far to close to the true but should be read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    11/4/15
    "not for atheists"

    If you can ignore the political religious polemic the story is interesting listen. The story at times is a critique of liberal America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SnowFox
    10/25/15
    "Wow. what a fantastic listen."

    this is apocalyptic audio at its very best. well written and utterly believable. closest thing to Earth Abides that I have found. when I have finished this, I will be listening tonight again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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