Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Earth Abides Audio CD – Bargain Price, October 15, 2009
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
George Rippey Stewart (May 31, 1895 – August 22, 1980) was an American toponymist, a novelist, and a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his only science fiction novel Earth Abides (1949), a post-apocalyptic novel, for which he won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951. It was dramatized on radio's Escape and inspired Stephen King's The Stand.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
For a story that was first published in 1949, Earth Abides remains relevant now more than ever. Mass plague vectored through air travel has been featured in a number of recent films (i.e. Contagion, Outbreak), TV shows, and yes, even the news. Set between the European Black Death of the late 1600s and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s Earth Abides explores the waning hopes, hardships, and resignation of plague survivors of present-day California.
With only a tiny fraction of the world's population persisting after a catastrophic event in civilization, how would you fare? What wisdom would you pass on to those younger than you?
In George R. Stewart's post-holocaust novel, protagonist Isherwood “Ish” Williams, discovers that a virulent plague has wiped out nearly all of humanity, leaving only a handful of shell-shocked survivors in its wake. Armed with little more than a hammer and his philosophical prowess, Ish attempts to reestablish American civilization in a small suburban community overlooking San Francisco Bay. While the rest of the survivors live day-to-day and subsist on vast stockpiles of canned food, Ish strives to retain the knowledge of the past, preserving libraries, teaching his offspring—including his gifted son, Joey—all the facts and achievements of his bygone civilization. In time, Ish becomes an almost God-like figure, the "Last American" in the eyes of the younger generations, his old hammer being the symbol of his power. Uncomfortable with his deification and his near absolute authority over the tribe, Ish realizes that the people have become far too complacent and dependent upon him. When new threats emerge and the crumbling infrastructure no longer supports his community, Ish must abandon his dreams of resurrecting society and teach his people the most basic and practical skills of survival.
Ish is a very cerebral and introverted fellow—a walking Farmer’s Almanac, if you will. At times, readers may be frustrated by his constant brooding and pale, clinical views. Many may be turned off by his questioning of a mentally challenged girl’s right to reproduce. Conversely, Ish becomes a more interesting character near the novel's end whilst standing in stark contrast to his descendents, a simple hunting and gathering tribe. Primitive-like children with no concept of technology, history, literature, medicine, and all other forms of knowledge, obeying the rudimentary laws of nature; and although they’re aware that they’re living amidst the ruins of a dead civilization, they can only perceive the makers of that collapsed society as the mythical beings.
Earth Abides isn't without its shortcomings. There's not much in the way of dialogue or character development; the pacing is dawdling and sensationalist action is nowhere to be found. To its credit, the novel is a thoughtful tale of a devastated culture struggling to survive. Plodding albeit wonderfully written, Earth Abides is brilliant and thought-provoking in regards to its sober examination of not only human integrity but also the questions of what makes a civilization work, and how to reestablish one from the ruins. Readers looking for escapist literature will see this book as hard reading, but others will hopefully appreciate the book’s philosophical insight and poignant message about the human condition that remains true today.
The story is compelling and far more realistic, i.e., envisionable, than much of the current-batch of dystopian literature, not matter how fun they are to read. While telling the story of a motley crew of random "everyday" survivors of a virulent plague that kills most of the world's population in a matter of weeks, there are numerous layers for further contemplation by readers if they're so inclined, and ones that, despite the age of the work, STILL resonate with issues current today. Teachers and parents will find the alphabet/reading vs. bow-and-arrow making/hunting thread especially fascinating. Be warned, though: the over-riding theme that not only "earth" abides, but also the basics of our democratic, can-do bedrock values, always brings a few tears as the books ends. But in a TOTALLY good way!