Alas, Babylon (Harper Perennial Olive Edition) Reissue Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 371 pages
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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|Kindle Book, June 4, 2013||
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The story certainly has its weak points. For example, it is completely plot-driven with very little character growth. The protagonist, Randy, is a hero straight out of a 1959 movie. Strong, resolute, and always right. Still, it is a great read and in many ways was the progenitor of apocalypse fiction.
Also, I should mention that the story is a bit racist and sexist when viewed with today's mores. The reader must keep in mind that for a book written by a white male southerner, set in the South of its day, the book really is rather enlightened. The black family is definitely deferential to Randy but they are also very resourceful and treated respectfully by the author. Two of the female characters, Rita and Lib, are depicted as strong women who are in control of their bodies and have had adult relationships with multiple men. So, yes, there's some latent white supremacy and sexism in the story, but for its day this must have been rather a enlightened book.
All in all, this was a welcome return to one of my beloved books of my early teen aged years. Highly recommend.
The result is a well thought out and well presented story of survivors in a small Florida town. The depredations they face and the courage they have to face the inevitable lawlessness that can follow when government and social networking fails is so realistic. There is love and grief and all the emotions that goes along with the story line.
The idea of the survivors of nuclear war not just surviving, but thriving, is well, stretching it. That aside, this is still worth the read, if for no other reason, than for insight into changing attitudes about all sorts of things, nuclear war perhaps least among them. This isn't surprising; this book was written in the 1950's, and there are few, if any, societal outlooks that haven't undergone a sea-change in the intervening years.
However the characters remain, on the whole, likeable and engaging. Their motivations remain understandable even if some actions and reactions might be less likely today. And I think you will still be engaged enough to want to find out the ending.
This, along with "On the Beach" remains a classic of the genre: a stark warning about the foolishness of the arms race, and it's quite possibly inevitable outcome. If you've never read it, it's well worth your time. If you have read, but it's been years (like me), revisit it. You won't be disappointed.
The book is not about atomic war. It is about how we would deal with each other if there were no socio-economic barriers that keep us apart. The blue collar workers who were "kept down" and worked with their hands have a great advantage...they are closer to the "ground" than those economically above them, so they know how to live off the land not by the grocery store. The rich are reduced to having to work with those who previously they would never have had anything to do with.
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Published in 1959 Alas, Babylon is one of the earliest novels to...Read more