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Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Left Behind #1) Paperback – 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 3,245 customer reviews
Book 1 of 13 in the Left Behind Series

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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Pilot Rayford Steele is flying his 747 to London and contemplating whether or not to commit adultery when a flight attendant gives him some frightening news. Some of their passengers have disappeared into thin air, leaving only their clothing as a sign that they ever existed. After the flight crew does a head count, they realize more than 100 people are missing. One passenger still on the plane is reporter Buck Williams, whose recent experiences and witnessing of some strange events in Israel have led him to rethink his own lack of religious faith. As word comes that the entire world is suffering from disappearances, as well as horrifying natural disasters, Steele and Williams soon realize they, and the rest of the world, are experiencing the "Rapture of the Saints." This biblical story foretells that true believers will be taken into heaven, while sinners and nonbelievers must remain on earth as punishment for their lack of faith. The two men join to form the Tribulation Force, a group of those left behind who are dedicated to fighting the antichrist. While the book is riddled with cardboard characterizations and creaky dialog, those flaws are less apparent in the audio version. Jack Sondericker's smooth narration and calm inflection make the novel's often over-the-top message seem much more believable. Recommended for fans of this popular series.AMelissa Hudak, Centegra Health Syst., McHenry, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Left Behind (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Living Books (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842342702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842342704
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,667,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
To cover all the problems with continuity, logic, theology, geography and plain common sense in _Left Behind_ would take a whole book. One hardly knows where to start.

Perhaps it is too early to assess the damage that will be done to Christian religion by this trashy novel. As such, it isn't even a decent trashy novel; instead of steamy sex scenes, we get sanctimonious sermonizing. Worse than that, what the authors have done is to turn the powerful imagery of the Bible into a cheap comic book, ignoring its spiritual messages in favor of promoting a self-centered preoccupation with getting a ticket to heaven before it's too late.

The comic book aspect can not be overemphasized. Even if you suspend disbelief enough to accept the rapture scenario (an idea with virtually no scriptural support), little in the characters' actions, thought processes or dialog rings true. One gets the impression that the book was hastily thrown together by a junior high school student. God ends up looking like the ultimate villain, demanding that you hurry up and get yourself and your friends on his side Or Else.

Whatever happened to the inspiring Christian writers of yesteryear? Who is the present-day equivalent of C. S. Lewis, or Catherine Marshall, and why aren't they getting more attention? These were writers who actually made you THINK. LaHaye and Jenkins seem to believe that thinking is the last thing God wants us to be doing; they hardly miss a chance to put down anyone with any hint of intelligence or independent thought. They show no interest in answering the sort of hard questions that surviving non-believers in such a world might ask. One wonders if they have ever met a non-believer at all, or witnessed the aftermath of a disaster for that matter.
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