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Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Left Behind No. 1) Paperback – April, 1996

3,151 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Piloting his 747, Rayford Steele is musing about his wife Irene's irritating religiosity and contemplating the charms of his "drop-dead gorgeous" flight attendant, Hattie. First Irene was into Amway, then Tupperware, and now it's the Rapture of the Saints--the scary last story in the Bible in which Christians are swept to heaven and unbelievers are left behind to endure the Antichrist's Tribulation. Steele believes he'll put the plane on autopilot and go visit Hattie. But Hattie's in a panic: some of the passengers have disappeared! The Rapture has happened, abruptly driverless cars are crashing all over, and the slick, sinister Romanian Nicolae Carpathia plans to use the UN to establish one world government and religion. Resembling "a young Robert Redford" and silver-tongued in nine languages, Carpathia is named People's "Sexiest Man Alive." (This reviewer, a former People writer, finds this plot twist plausible.) Meanwhile, Steele teams up with Buck Williams, a buck-the-system newshound, to form the Tribulation Force, an underground of left-behind penitents battling the Antichrist.

Ex-presidential candidate Pat Robertson briefly outsold Michael Crichton with his apocalypse novel The End of the Age (now available on audiocassette), and the similar The Third Millennium sells well, but the Left Behind series is the absolute champion in the race to make the Book of Revelation into racy thriller reading. --Tim Appelo

From Library Journal

On a flight from Chicago to London, several passengers aboard Capt. Rayford Steele's plane suddenly and mysteriously disappear. When Steele radios to London to report the situation, he discovers that the incident on his plane is not an isolated phenomenon but a worldwide occurrence. As Steele begins his search for answers, he learns that the Christ has come to take the faithful with Him in preparation for the coming apocalyptic battle between good and evil and that those who have been left behind must face seven dark and chaotic years in which they must decide to join the forces of Christ or the forces of Anti-Christ. Jenkins, writer-in-residence at Moody Press, and LaHaye (A Nation Without a Conscience, Tyndale, 1994) have written a gripping thriller that captures the anxiety and fear that interpretations of Revelation often inspire. For most libraries.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Left Behind (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers; 1 edition (April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0-8423-2912-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842329125
  • ASIN: 0842329129
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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369 of 424 people found the following review helpful By I. Hsieh on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
The idea of the book is great, though done before. The way this book is written though, basically, chronicals the events that take place in the "end-times" as described in the Bible.
The book revolves around some central characters. They all are involved with the church in one way or another. Eventually you see most of them "converted" into Christians. As they are they feel that their "mission" is to convert others. There also is some romantic "tension" thrown into the mix. The characters aren't all developed too well but I still felt a connection with them.
I enjoyed this book and think that many others will too. Although this book, I feel, was written mainly for Christians. There is no subtlety in the message. Everything is taken almost verbatim from the Bible. It doesn't give you a lot of "food for thought". For that I recommend James BeauSeigneur's "The Christ Clone Trilogy". "Left Behind" is pretty straight forward and a great beginning to the series. Highly recommended for Christians.
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192 of 220 people found the following review helpful By J. Creamer on December 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I tend to side with those reviewers who found the book rather light. With the exception of Rayford Steele, most of the characterizations lack depth and consistency. The authors occasionally drop off into mini-sermons that clash otherwise with the flow of the story. And as the events of Revelation unfold, the good and bad become too transparent, too black and white, and too obvious. As suggested by another reader, I read the first of the Christ Clone Trilogy and was much more impressed. In the end, Left Behind comes across as the basis for a television miniseries than a fully fleshed novel. I'm not as harsh as some critics, so I give it three stars for being readable, not too preachy, and interesting in its way.
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559 of 663 people found the following review helpful By chris on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first in a very long (I think there a 10 so far!!) series of books that tell of the end of the world as foretold in the book 'Revelations' of the bible.
If you took the bible's apocalyptic prophecy. Put an unimaginitve spin on it. Added some 2 dimensional characterizations and truely ridiculous plot lines, (the russians launch an all out nuclear attack against israel because the israelis have developed a means to fertilize deserts, does that make sense to you?) then add some thinly veiled preaching and you have this book.
Having said that I found my curiosity helped me through this book. I was ignorant of the book of Revelations predictions. I was curious enough to see how events would unfold to keep reading thru the 1st 3 books. But the scenario unfolds painfully slowly if you find the characters dull and unbelievable.
In the 3rd book many pages are devoted to explaining things that I had already read in the previous books, that was very tedious. After the 3rd book my curiousity about the prophecies was not enough to overcome my boredom.
I have found "The Christ Clone Trilogy" much more enjoyable.
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414 of 491 people found the following review helpful By mathilde de gardin on December 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Christians believe that as the End Time comes, God will gather all the real Christians around his throne in Heaven, body and soul.
This book centers on those 'left behind' on earth. It shows the chaos that emerges as millions of people disappear, how people try to figure out what happend, how some re-find their fate in God, and how the Anti-Christ emerges. It's a well structured, swift paced book that focusses on world events as well as on personal experiences of people. I could not put it down, even though I wanted to.
The downside of the book is that (though cleverly hidden behind all the action) it still will be felt by the non-believer, that the authors are hoping to persuade people to their Christian believes. That spoils some of the uncomplicated fun of reading this. On the upside: for those who DO believe in Christ this will make the book a warm bath that will strengthen their beliefs.
On the whole I liked Beauseigneur's Christ Clone Trilogy better, because it offered more food for the mind, appeared better researched in worldly matters such as the United Nations politics, and didn't seem so focussed on the conversion of people in the book and outside of it.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Verna on January 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read all but two of the books in this series but I'm not sure why I keep reading. They are so so at best. If you have a lot of time on your hands or you drive a lot and can get the tapes at the library, great. They are no where near as good as the Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigneur.
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91 of 106 people found the following review helpful By bh on September 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a completely nonreligious person, this series is an unlikely choice of reading material for me. However, a good friend who shares many of my ideas picked up the first book thinking it was about something different, and is making his way through the series, and he recommended them. We share Stephen King and Sharyn McCrumb books among others.
When he told me a little about what they were about, I made a face and said, no, seriously, tell me what the stories are. He said they were very interesting and explained a lot of things in ways he'd never heard them explained before, and he hadn't expected to like them once he realized what they were, but to give it a try. So, ok.
Briefly, the series is about what the world would be like if we were nearing "the end times" according to the bible and the prophecies and stuff in Revelations.
The first book starts off with the "rapture" of the church, where millions of people all over the world spontaneously disappear at the same exact instant from whatever they happened to be doing--driving, riding in a plane, sleeping, whatever. All kids and all babies and some teens (that part made sense) disappear. There are lots of theories on what happened, but we know from reading the end flap of the book that it was Christ bringing all true Christians to heaven. All NOT true Christians and non-Christians are Left Behind.
I was hoping the series would be something like Stephen King's "The Stand", where a flu wipes out gazillions of people and leaves the world totally and bizarrely changed and the book explores what things might be like after that. Or that as the prophecies of the bible are explained maybe it'd be as interesting as like Nostradamus's prophecies are.
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