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The Stand by [King, Stephen]
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The Stand Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 3,125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookstores and beg them not to buy it.

The Stand is like that. You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil.

"I love to burn things up," King says. "It's the werewolf in me, I guess.... The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man, it was fun! ... Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while I worked on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining an entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke."

There is much to admire in The Stand: the vivid thumbnail sketches with which King populates a whole landscape with dozens of believable characters; the deep sense of nostalgia for things left behind; the way it subverts our sense of reality by showing us a world we find familiar, then flipping it over to reveal the darkness underneath. Anyone who wants to know, or claims to know, the heart of the American experience needs to read this book. --Fiona Webster

From Publishers Weekly

In its 1978 incarnation, The Stand was a healthy, hefty 823-pager. Now, King and Doubleday are republishing The Stand in the gigantic version in which, according to King, it was originally written. Not true . The same excellent tale of the walking dude, the chemical warfare weapon called superflu and the confrontation between its survivors has been updated to 1990, so references to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Reagan years, Roger Rabbit and AIDS are unnecessarily forced into the mouths of King's late-'70s characters. That said, the extra 400 or so pages of subplots, character development, conversation, interior dialogue, spiritual soul-searching, blood, bone and gristle make King's best novel better still. A new beginning adds verisimilitude to an already frighteningly believable story, while a new ending opens up possibilities for a sequel. Sheer size makes an Everest of the whole deal. BOMC selection, QPB main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5694 KB
  • Print Length: 1348 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 24, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001C4NXKM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,486 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before I get to the meat of my review, I feel I should provide a little bit of perspective. First, I am not a die-hard Stephen King fan. In fact, aside from "The Stand", I have only read collections of his short stories, so I can assure you my review isn't the rabid defense of an overly loyal admirer. Second, I am not a fan of horror and I wouldn't classify "The Stand" as such. Finally, I am a big fan of the "apocalyptic fiction" genre, and I believe I have a pretty good basis for my evaluation of this novel.
That said, "The Stand" is an incredible novel; perhaps one of the best I have ever read, by any author or in any genre. The story is predicated on the accidental release of a "super-flu" that wipes out 99% of the humans on the planet. The survivors find themselves drawn into a battle between good and evil that will determine the future of the entire planet.
As one might expect, a novel with such an ambitious plot and of such prodigious length touches upon numerous themes. In order to simplify my review, I am going to break down the novel's strengths into the following categories, and then consider them one at a time: world-building, plot, characters and themes.
First is world-building. In most apocalyptic fiction, one (if not both) of two things will be true: 1. The characters stay in one place or 2. The action picks up after the disaster. An example of the first is "Earth Abides" and of the latter "On the Beach". There's nothing wrong with either plot device, but in "The Stand" King injects a remarkable level of detail into his novel by covering the super-flu from start to finish. The novel starts at the very beginning of the outbreak, and many key plot lines are developed before the epidemic ever rears its head.
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Format: Hardcover
The Stand, in my opinion, marks Stephen King's progression from horror to literature. Consistently voted fans' favorite King novel ever since its initial publication in 1978 (although I personally consider the novel It his finest work), The Stand delivers an archetypal conflict pitting good against evil against a backdrop of civilization itself. In this extraordinary novel, King fully unleashes the horrors previously contained in the microcosms of an extraordinary person (Carrie), a single town ('Salem's Lot), and a haunted hotel far removed from civilization (The Shining).

This is how the world ends: with a human-engineered superflu which escapes containment in the form of a terrified guard who unwittingly spreads death over a wide swath of southwestern America in his bid to escape infection. Captain Trips, they call it - until they die, and people die in droves within a matter of days. In almost no time at all, well over 99% of the American population have suffered an agonizing death. Those that are left all alone begin to dream: comforting visions of an ancient black lady called Mother Abigail in Nebraska rising up alongside nightmares of a faceless man out west. Many find their way to Las Vegas to serve under Randall Flag, the Walking Dude of their night visions, but many others flock to Mother Abigail in Nebraska and eventually Boulder, Colorado. As the citizens of the Boulder Free Zone attempt to reform society and make a new life for themselves, they are forced to come to terms with the fact that they are caught up in a struggle defined by their spiritual leader in religious terms. They must destroy Flagg or be destroyed by him - in a word, they must make their stand.
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Format: Hardcover
The Stand, Stephen King's apocalyptic novel that mixes science fiction with horror (think of it as a realistic merging of The Andromeda Strain and The Final Conflict), was a runaway best-seller when it first hit bookstores in the late 1970s and is still regarded as one of King's best works, at least by his millions of fans. Its scenario of an accidental outbreak of a government-created strain of the flu -- which has a mortality rate of over 90 percent -- that wipes out most of mankind and sets the stage for a final showdown between good and evil makes for compelling reading.
What many readers did not know was that King was asked by the accounting department of his publisher to trim his already huge novel by several hundred pages to keep costs down and to make the hardcover's price affordable ($12.95 in 1978). Given the choice of doing the edits himself or letting the in-house editors do the cutting, King chose the former. As a result, most -- but not all -- the characters and situations appeared reasonably whole, although King remarks in the Preface that pyromaniac Trashcan Man's westward trek from the Midwest to Nevada has the most scars from the literary surgery he performed.
By 1989, though, King had enough clout -- and reader support -- to get Doubleday to publish The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition. Released in hardcover in 1990, the book sold very well and was later adapted by King as a miniseries for ABC-TV.
So what are the differences between the two versions of The Stand, besides the heavier weight and higher price? (Remember that
$12.95 retail price from 1978? In 1990 this had nearly doubled to $24.95!) Well, the novel's tale remains the same -- nefarious U.S. military creates a deadly strain of the flu...
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