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One Second After Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Forstchen examines the effect of an attack on the U.S.A. using an EMP(or rather three EMPs). The electro magnetic pulse ruins most electrical gadgets; computers and anything controlled by them, data storage, modern vehicles and planes, electricity generators,water supply, medical equipment, phones and radios.
The small town in which the story is set reverts to a barter economy and its shops soon run out of food and medicines. Local law enforcement has to cope with increasingly desperate local citizens,stranded motorists, and refugees from the big cities hoping to find food and shelter.
Forstchen examines the big issues mainly by looking at the impact on one family. This approach works well, and the reader is drawn in, wondering "what would I do in that situation?"
The reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5 may sound trivial. Every single "could have, should have, would have, might have" in the book is written as "could of, should of" etc.After reading several dozen of these I almost ended up shouting at the book. I guess I'm getting old.
The book follows what happens to an American community after and EMP attack is visited on our country. EMP occurs when a nuclear bomb is detonated above the atmosphere, causing every single thing in it's range containing anything electronic to fail. Cars, planes, pacemakers, electricity, you name it, it's gone forever. The country is immediately plunged into the dark ages, the population far too large to be supported by 18th century technology. Different parts of the country fare better or worse depending on their locations to urban areas. Gangs roam the land, bringing death and destruction to any remaining survivors.
What is frightening about this book is the fact that it is a very real possibility. The government is currently studying EMP attacks, as it is probably a more real threat than the thermonuclear attack we have always been raised to fear. If you ever had a thought of having your home prepared for a disaster, you will be propelled into action after reading the horrors entailed here for anyone who does not.
The day after reading I could not help but realize how fully dependent we are on electronics and technology. I found myself cataloging each thing I did during the day. How long can you last with the food in your pantry and maybe a week's worth of water before it becomes contaminated and cholera, dysentery, and thyphoid break out?
You may not have ever imagined America as a third-world country. This book will force you to.
By the way, if you have a project due or deadline, finish it before you pick this book up. It sucks you right in and you are compelled to finish it instead of doing anything else. I really came to love and care about the characters. It was hard to "watch" as the worst befell them.
The EMP event he describes might presently be improbable, but is certainly possible. Nicholas Taleb would undoubtedly recognize it as a "Black Swan" event: something that lies outside the range of normal experience, but that has a catastrophic impact. Taleb pointed out that humans have a tendency to excessively discount and underestimate Black Swans, so I would encourage readers to be careful not to dismiss Forstchen's book just because the scenario he paints is improbable. Furthermore, an EMP attack is hardly the only thing that might result in the substantial or total collapse of the economy and civilization; there are a range of possible scenarios, and the practical effect of living through them and their aftermath might not differ all that much from what Forstchen describes.
Some might be tempted to feel depressed after reading "One Second After", or to consider Forstchen's outlook to be excessively pessimistic. On the contrary, I consider his to actually be a rather optimistic view. Importantly, his story line assumes that the townspeople DO come together and cooperate with each other; the town government does hold together, and the town leaders do lead. The town does not devolve into "every person for themselves" anarchy, as so many other post-apocalyptic visions presume. It is also optimistic in that the townspeople do actually win in a horrific battle against a nightmarish roving gang. It is optimistic in that the protagonist and the other characters do succeed in the struggle to maintain their humanity and deepest held values.
So, read the book. But then what?Read more ›
Given the above, one would imagine I'd be among the vanguard in extolling this novel. For reasons great and small though, I was ultimately disappointed. In my opinion the story's biggest flaw is its implicit assumption that EMP would render irrevocably inoperable any integrated-circuit based device -- i.e., anything more advanced than wires, coils, and vacuum tubes -- and by extension anything that depended upon such devices (your modern automobile, for example). My readings so far of the findings of the ongoing EMP Commission (in particular April 2008, see empcommission.org) suggest that this is a gross exaggeration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a total surprise as I had never thought of the implications of no technology nor electricity and communication. Very interesting book! Read morePublished 5 hours ago by Wendy Chazarreta
Had to stop at 41%, as I could no longer stomach the gruesome gratuitous gore, and pervasive profanity. All the men sounded alike. Just a mind-numbing, extremely bleak read.Published 22 hours ago by C. Hall
Found this book to be very interesting. The content was enlightening and gave me a lot to think about things we take for granted din day to day life. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by SkyRiderAZ
I read books to either learn something or be entertained. This book did both. After the book I studied up on EMPs. In 1962 the U.S. detonated a relatively small 1. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
I am more of a reader than a writer, don't expect too much from my review.
I enjoyed the book, and its portrayal of an apocalyptic breakdown of society. Read more
Book will scare the SHT out of you, when you realize how dependent we are to the electrical grid.
Makes you consider some situations you may not even realize could happen when... Read more
This book should be required reading for every voter(and high school student in America). I would say every politician also, but even after it was recommended on the floor of... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Pappy
Most so called preppers or survivalist types probably haven't given the main concept of this book serious thought. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer