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Level 7 (Library of American Fiction) Paperback – June 24, 2004
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"Eventually, I believe, Roshwald’s remorseless apocalypse will be recognized as one of the masterpieces of anti-utopian literature."—H. Bruce Franklin
"In some ways this story gives the most realistic picture of nuclear war that I have read in any work of fiction."—Linus Pauling
From the Publisher
1959 hardcover, William Heinemann, Ltd.
1989 paperback, Lawrence Hill Books
Top Customer Reviews
"Level 7" is a reference to the deepest level of underground shelters that humanity will be sequestered in should this horrible kind of war come to pass. The perceived importance of the people housed in the respective levels increases with each successive level. Level 1 is simply ordinary citizens who will receive minimal shielding from the bombs. Level 5 has the government and military planners, while Level 6 houses the soldiers who will be in charge of defensive countermeasures during the war, and Level 7 houses those whose horrific (and one-time) task will be to fire the offensive nuclear missiles at the enemy. Level 7 is several thousand feet underground. It is seemingly impervious to the effects of a nuclear attack and is a self-sufficient living environment designed to sustain the survivors (and their offspring) until such time as the surface becomes safe to return to. Those selected for the Level 7 assignment have passed a rigorous set of psychological tests that require said soldiers to not be afraid of firing missiles that can end mankind, to not be concerned with being cut off from humanity, and to be prepared to do what is necessary to ensure humanity's survival.Read more ›
Well, eventually it gets to a point where a war breaks out. There are not descriptions of nuclear explosions, or firey death raining down on the populace's heads. Instead the author portrays the war through the eyes of radar technicians and button pushers who only see blips on radar screens and are told via a loudspeaker on what buttons to push.
After the war, which is totally destructive. Radiation spreads and wipes out life on the surface. A clautrophobic life in a bunker becomes stiffeling for X-127 has he watches and listens to his fellow soliders start to loose it in a "not so" hermetically sealed bunker.
This story is very sad, and chilling. The last paragraph of the story has to be the most riveting paragraph I've ever read.
Chosen for their ability to follow orders and to withstand the confines of the facility, X-127 and his fellow officers must now come to grips with the fact that they may, in fact, never leave. The surface of the Earth has been transformed into a radiological wasteland, but those in the facility -- some of whom represent a "continuity of government" operation -- will be safe.
Or so it seems. Reports of radiation poisoning begin to filter in from the higher levels of the facility. With a gripping, impending sense of doom, Roshwald takes us into a journey into the true meaning of mutually assured destruction.
I first read this book upwards of 30 years ago. It has never left me. Was it because I was young? Impressionable? I don't know, but the book certainly left an indelible footprint in my mind that few, if any, other work can match. Whatever Roshwald constructed in Level 7 was utterly unique and memorable beyond description.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
read this in high school.. now 35 years later bought it for my son. tried to read it myself again.. but the print is too small and my eye's are too old. Read morePublished 2 months ago by stumpedI
A very interesting take on an apocalyptic story. Easy and quick read.Published 7 months ago by Greg
I was 'educated' in England back in the '50's and had a very poor English Teachers. The best teacher I had was an American exchange teacher. Read morePublished 10 months ago by feedback
One of the best books on the cold war. Stuck underground on level 7 in a bunker, the main character is in charge of the "button" pushing. Riveting and rather short.Published 12 months ago by Hollywood8675309
Ugh. I read this book when it first came out and bought it out of nostalgia. I should have saved my money because it was SO dated
that it was.laughable. Oh, well.
The free sample is only an introduction! It does not even have the first chapter, paragraph, or sentence! How can I know how good the book is/is not?Published 14 months ago by soo-soo