- Series: Perennial Classics
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st Perennial Classics ed edition (April 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060931396
- ISBN-13: 978-0060931391
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,395 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,469,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics) Paperback – April 1, 1999
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"A warm, continuously interesting story of what can happen to a group of ordinary people in a perilous situation." -- New York Herald Tribune
"An enthralling and vivid story of the follies and failures of people, their courage and cruelty, their treachery and triumphs. Mr. Frank is a magnificent writer." -- Chicago Sunday Tribune
"Frank is successful enough in making us believe it could indeed happen here to send a small, fearful chill along our backbone." -- Saturday Review
"Frighteningly credible and exciting reading." -- Library Journal
"Ingenious...Provocative." -- -- New York Times
About the Author
"Pat Frank" was the pseudonym adopted by the American writer, newspaperman, and government consultant, Harry Hart (1907-1964), who is remembered today almost exclusively for his post-apocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon. Before the publication of his first novel Mr. Adam launched his second career as novelist and independent writer, Frank spent many years as a journalist and information handler for several newspapers, agencies, and government bureaus. His fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles made good use of his years of experience observing government and military bureaucracy and its malfunctions, and the threat of nuclear proliferation and annihilation. After the success of Alas, Babylon, Frank concentrated on writing for magazines and journals, putting his beliefs and concerns to political use, and advising various government bodies. In 1960 he served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In 1961, the year in which he received an American Heritage Foundation Award, he was consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Council. From 1963 through 1964 the Department of Defense made use of Frank's expertise and advice, and this consultancy turned out to be his last response to his country's call. His other books include Mr. Adam and Forbidden Area.
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So many typos I couldn't count. There were so many I found myself angry as I came upon each new typo. I enjoyed the original print version of the book but this kindle version is atrocious.
As much as I loved this book, I do not recommend buying the kindle edition at all. There are a LOT of errors. It looks like they used OCR to scan a paper version of this book, and the original font didn't take well. I have seen this before in other Kindle books, but this is the worst I have seen. Very distracting and confusing to have to go back and try to figure out what was said. One sentence started with "We Ye...." after reading a couple of times I realized it was probably supposed to say "We've...". Even the last sentence of the book "The engine started and Randy turned away to face die thousand-year light". "Die" should of been "the". There are so many spelling and flat out misinterpreted words it is very distracting to say the least. Really wish I had read s hard copy of this one... or better yet, that the Kindle version wasn't so overrun with errors.
Alas is more about resiliency, survival, and rebuilding following a nuclear war than the war itself. It is a good story with characters I enjoyed, and actually somewhat optimistic given the dire circumstances of a global nuclear war. I recommend it.
One word of caution: The Kindle version of Alas, Babylon is full of typos. And I mean full. It's really, really bad; probably the worst Kindle "translation" I've ever read. If I did it again I'd order in hard-copy.
Years ago I saw the 1983 movie about life after nuclear war called “The Day After.” It was terribly depressing. Things were hopeless during and at the end. Everyone was a victim. Alas, Babylon was not as depressing. There was “hope” as people found ways to survive. There was creativity, perseverance and community.
I enjoyed the characters. I learned things. It was interesting to see how modern day people adjusted to surviving without electricity, gasoline, matches, etc. The many uses and importance of salt surprised me. It’s not the kind of book I like to read. I was depressed for the few days I was reading it. But the ending was good. I require happy endings and it was happy enough for me.
When I went to the drugstore and grocery store after reading this, I felt grateful. I didn't mind things that sometimes bother me.
There was one occurrence of the n-word racial slur.
Will Patton is great! He is one of my favorite narrators. I think I would listen to almost any book he reads.
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Unabridged audiobook length: 11 hrs and 14 mins. Swearing language: none. Sexual content: none. Setting: around 1959 fictional town Fort Repose, Florida. Book copyright: 1959. Genre: apocalyptic fiction.
This is a great novel, although it's not, in many ways, constructed the way a novel would be today. Instead, we learn the backstory of all the main characters as they are introduced. Much of the story is via description - although it does a great job of driving the story forward. Most readers wouldn't notice.
Having worked in USAF SAC during the early 70's, I can attest to the general posture of nuclear weapons and delivery systems during that time - very well said, and accurate.
Lastly, our 'leaders', beginning with Bill Clinton, spouted how nuclear war was unsurvivable. This is a gross falsehood, because nuclear war is indeed survivable - unless you happen to be at ground zero.
In short, I think Mr. Frank crafted a fine novel with much truth of the 1960's era. I highly recommend this book.