S and Canada, another takes out Japan and South Korea, and a third takes out Russia They never do find out for sure who launched them, though the obvious suspects China, North Korea, a jihadi network are all suggested.
EMPs of course are well known side effects of atomic bombs Is it possible that one well placed missile, launched from a container ship in the Atlantic to detonate high in the atmosphere over North America, could fry most electronics in the U.
S and thus cause a breakdown in civilization in a matter of weeks I am not quite convinced on that score, but it s one of the TEOTWAWKI scenarios that keeps certain breeds of survivalists and politicians awake at night Fortschen s concern is that the U.
S government has taken virtually no steps to harden critical electrical and electronic infrastructure The reason is that like so many preventative measures, it would cost a lot of money to protect against what most see as a remote, hypothetical threat.
Well, everyone has their hobby horse But ignore the EMP as the delivery mechanism There are other scenarios that might cause a SHTF event And if something happens to disrupt electricity, food, and water, for days, weeks, or months, it will get very, very ugly, and that s the convincing message this book gets across.
The main character, John Matherson, is a history professor and former Army officer Despite having almost been promoted to general, his military career was largely that of a desk jockey He is a widower living in a small town in North Carolina with two daughters and two dogs.
Then the EMP goes off Instantly, virtually every vehicle, generator, and electronic device is dead It takes them a few hours to realize it s not just a power failure despite the puzzling fact that cars stalled on the highway , a day to realize it s serious, and a few days to realize that the S has indeed HTF.
The rest of the book is a survival story Matherson becomes a leader in their small town First they have to deal with routine problems, very inconvenient and occasionally life threatening such as the fact that his daughter is a Type 1 diabetic who s going to die when the insulin runs out As the refugees start pouring in, and it becomes evident how very unprepared they are, things get progressively worse, and worse, and worse.
By the climax, in which Matherson has trained a bunch of high school and college kids into a militia which is the only thing standing against a barbarian horde known as the Posse, they ve already lost most of their population to starvation and disease They ve had to implement rationing, shoot looters and hoarders, eat their pets, perform surgery without anesthetics or antibiotics, and make hard decisions about who they re going to let starve to death.
I found this to be a compelling read because the author didn t take any dramatic artistic licenses I don t think everything would play out exactly as described in this novel it might be worse, it might be not quite as bad I do think the U.
S population being reduced to 30 million in one year is unlikely but other than the EMP scenario described as the precipitating event, nothing that followed seemed implausible.
And damn if a few of the deaths weren t tear jerkers One Second After is a book to get you thinking There are a lot of things that can disrupt modern civilization for varying lengths of time The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showed just how bad things can get for people who are unprepared, and that was localized and everyone knew order and services would be restored eventually What would you do if the power shut off right now and the trucks bringing food to the grocery store stopped running, and never resumed If you are like most people, you d be screwed in short order.
While not a prepper in any serious way, I have actually started taking this shit a little seriously lately You know, just in case There are different levels of events you can prepare yourself for Three days without power A week without being able to leave your house A month without electricity, running water, or food The complete collapse of civilization Most people cannot do much to prepare for the latter, and I live too close to what would be ground zero of any TEOTWAWKI scenario to think I d have a chance of escaping to some rural redoubt However, I do have enough food, water, and emergency supplies to shelter in place for a while And I m an NRA member You know in case of zombies.
Even if you are not seized with an impulse to go out and buy guns and 10 cans of beans, though, One Second After is a realistic novel that might inspire you to start thinking realistically Just in case.
A movie based upon the novel One Second After by William Forstchen would look a lot like Red Dawn, or Cormac McCarthy s The Road or Mel Gibson s Road Warrior An Electromagnetic Pulse is set off over the United States and all electronic chips of any and every kind are rendered inoperative The author then demonstrates in blunt and terrible fashion what this means within a few days people are starving, the seriously ill are dying and law and order has collapsed, and it just gets worse from there A quote from the end of the book sums it up, turn off the lights, stop the toilets from getting water to flush, empty the pharmacies, turn off the television and we don t know what to do Forstchen examines how reliant we all are on our infrastructure and how quickly we degenerate once that network is broken.
The book is likable and enjoyable but not as literature It is written simply, with one dimensional characterization and flat dialogue It has the tone and pace of the Left Behind series The author is conservative and pro military, so much so that theme gets tedious I m a veteran and I got tired of it What was intriguing was the ideas it presented and its harsh, realistic vision of how fragile our society may be A re occurring theme is the statement, We are still Americans and what this means when people are starving and martial law is enacted and bands of blood thirsty gangs are roaming the streets only a few weeks into the catastrophe Forstchen asks some difficult questions and requires the reader to take a serious look at who we are.
New York Times Best Selling Author William R Forstchen Now Brings Us A Story Which Can Be All Too Terrifyingly Real A Story In Which One Man Struggles To Save His Family And His Small North Carolina Town After America Loses A War, In One Second, A War That Will Send America Back To The Dark Ages A War Based Upon A Weapon, An Electro Magnetic Pulse EMP A Weapon That May Already Be In The Hands Of Our EnemiesMonths Before Publication, One Second After Has Already Been Cited On The Floor Of Congress As A Book All Americans Should Read, A Book Already Being Discussed In The Corridors Of The Pentagon As A Truly Realistic Look At A Weapon And Its Awesome Power To Destroy The Entire United States, Literally Within One Second It Is A Weapon That The Wall Street Journal Warns Could Shatter America In The Tradition Of On The Beach, Fail Safe, And Testament, This Book, Set In A Typical American Town, Is A Dire Warning Of What Might Be Our Future And Our End This book was possibly the worst book I have ever read and my objections go far beyond the story line The writing style is tedious and lazy how many times were the character s responses to a conversation what or damn But what I find most disturbing are 1 the delusions of grandeur evident in the introduction and postscript, 2 the obvious parallels between the author s real life ego and the book s protagonist, and 3 the complete lack of introspection the characters have about their actions.
How many days into the blackout did the town folk suggest that they should perform a summary execution for looting Two Seven Whatever it was, the protagonist just jumped right into the role of town executioner without the requisite inner monologue questioning the morality of the action What would have made the story interesting is a parallel track showing how the actions of one clan affected another or how two different clans had a different approach to solving problems I for one would be interested to see the truth that the kind of me against them thinking proselytized in the book affects moral judgment negatively and has far reaching implications beyond the clan But the book is completely devoid of character development and you will not identify with any of them.
As for the author s ego I would like to point out several things First, it is obvious that the author modeled the protagonist after himself That in itself seems to be in bad taste I d also like to point out that the protagonist spent zero effort in the first half of the book comforting his young diabetic child which seems to be a curious omission given that the author dedicated the book to his daughter Finally I d like to point out that the author spent a fair amount of time discussing the importance of rationing yet when the protagonist s finger cut developed a staph infection, the author decided that it would be best if the town doctor used a rare antibiotic to fight the staph rather than amputating the finger The implication I hope is obvious that the author is so busy setting the me against them scene that he predictably forgets that it would have been better to amputate the finger so that someone s life rather than a finger could have been saved instead.
If you are fond of saying but we re Americans or, shooting first and asking questions later, or believe that everyone in the world is out to get you, then this is the book for you If you are a conservative, you will love this book because it will feed you Don t worry there isn t one situation in the book that will require your introspection or make you question your beliefs.
Preachy and abrasive, I imagine this book would only appeal to hard core fans of the End of the World novel If the following bit of dialogue turns you off, please don t attempt to read this book Charlie, Americans were so damn unpreparedwe spent a helluva lot of time wringing out hands about global warming and that wasn t even true Just last week we were worried about basketball playoffs, now men are taking arms over a slice of bread It reminds me of the Civil War Also that movie, Independence Day, John interjected coldly.
Okay, no one says that, exactly But the characters are constantly saying DAMN and HELLUVA, which gets grating, and everyone starts every sentence with the first name of the person their addressing And they can t say anything without the help of an adverb Coldly, softly, angrily, tearfully, rashlypick your favorite Worse, everyone s referencing movies, books, and historical tragedies, but with no subtlety or attempt to weave the reference into the story It s like HEY THIS IS LIKE THAT TIME IN RUSSIA WHERE PEOPLE WERE STARVING AND FOOD WAS RATIONED BECAUSE NOW PEOPLE ARE STARVING AND FOOD IS RATIONED I also got tired of everyone commenting on how much life has changed JUST LAST MONTH THESE KIDS WERE STUDENTS AND NOW THEY RE AN ARMY Fair enough, if it were the only such observation EXACTLY 42 DAYS AGO THESE PEOPLE WERE EATING BURGERS AND PIZZA AND NOW THEY RE EATING PANCAKES MADE OUT OF SAWDUST Uh, okay Maybe a little about the sawdust pancakes, and what s happening to the people eating them No, melodramatic observations instead OUR BIGGEST WORRY USED TO BE THAT THE INTERNET WAS SLOW BUT NOW THERE ARE ROVING GANGS OF CANNIBALS ALSO ALL THE COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS ARE PROBABLY DEAD BECAUSE THEY NEVER PARTICIPATED IN CIVIL WAR REENACTMENTS.
But, as you ll note, I gave this two stars instead of knocking all the way down to one, which I should probably address There are parts of the book I enjoyed, such as the conference scenes, where the town leaders take turns laying out problems and discussing possible solutions With disease, shortages, unrest, and a growing influx of refugees, even the smallest, friendliest of towns has plenty to worry about And the council comes up with decent solutions from limited options how to deal with food hoarders, for example no one gets rations cards until their home has been searched for hidden food Forstchen also provides a neat little demonstration of how seemingly minor injuries, like cuts and scrapes, could become deadly in the new post medicine world Unfortunately, though, there s much telling than showing throughout the book We re told over and over again how ill prepared the United States was for the attack, how whiny and pampered all us citizens are, and how all the hippies, peaceniks, and white collar professionals are useless and sure to die soon It gets tiring.
I guess that puts this book squarely in the not recommended category, unless you still have a substantial Y2K stash that you d like to justify to yourself.
I really enjoyed this The premise seems so plausible and that was what made this so scary My poor heartstrings too, I felt so strongly for the characters I did feel a little disappointed when some of the action was skipped over and happened behind the scenes Felt a little cheated a couple of times when this happened, but overall I was really captivated.
I think that with listening to the audiobook I didn t pick up on as many grammatical errors than others did when reading the physical book Obviously with listening I m likely to zone out a tiny bit or half listen Perhaps I also didn t pick up on it because the errors often sounded like it was part of the way people sometimes speak, so it didn t sound wrong when actually spoken aloud like could of sounding similar to could ve The errors would make sense if the book was in first person, but this was written in third person.
Forstchen started with a fantastic premise, but unfortunately the book failed to live up to the idea The author apparently did not learn the lesson of Writing 101 that you need to show, not tell Perhaps it was the historian coming out, but Forstchen took amazing events battles, plagues, life and death and rather dryly recounted them He missed out on so many opportunities to really wow the audience with action and suspense Also, the characters were almost insufferable The good were too good and the bad were too bad John was described as an average Joe, but he came across like a character out of a Die Hard movie The man must be superhuman to have survived all he did relatively unscathed And his constant rhapsodizing about America and patriotism was excessive, especially since his America seemed to only refer to those who were military ex military, Republican, and men The feminist in me was livid women in the book were either 1 damsels in distress 2 nurturers and caregivers or 3 incompetent, crying weaklings And about ninety percent of them were wearing tight fitting, sweat drenched blouses What could have been a great cautionary tale turned into a reactionary one, in which Forstchen waxed nostalgic for the America of the pre Civil War South where men were men, war was the height of masculinity, and racism, xenophobia and sexism were de rigueur I m glad I now know a little about EMPs, but otherwise, this book was a loss Other post apocalyptic books do a far better job of imagining a future reality and tapping into the humanity or lack thereof in an annihilated society see The Road.
Do you rate a book only on the quality of the writing or on how it makes you think after you finish This gets 5 stars for provoking serious thought while the writing itself was just okay Short recap one spring day, 3 nuclear weapons are exploded over the US, generating an Electro Magnetic Pulse EMP , frying everything digital One second everyone is living in the digital wonderland of today and the next they are back in The Middle Ages, although that will take some time to become clear to everyone There is no warning, no preparation for the attack, in the blink of an eye all things digital go out of existence Do not read this book if you are seeking a pleasant read to pass the time It is truly frightening to contemplate how life would change should this occur And it is completely feasible for an attack like this to happen with absolutely no warning We are so dependent now on computers and digital machines, we simply have no conception of life without There were holes and gaps in the story, and I really wanted a better battle scene when the Posse appears I also wanted better feel for the community and the people He sketches very broadly This is a book that will make you wonder how you would handle things if it happens I just know I am not going to sell my 1964 Chevrolet C 10 pickup, not after reading this book.
It s too bad this book is so poorly written, because the premise is pretty cool The slipshod editing you may think you re saying must of because that s what it sometimes sounds like, but you re actually saying must ve and any editor with an actual job should know this The ridiculous characters most of all, John, the hero who has it all He s a professor, a doctor, a colonel, owns one of the only running cars left in America that the mayor apologises for asking to borrow, has a little bit o hippie in him, and is the only person who gets to talk for than a sentence at a time The preposterous outcomes say what you like about lazy, dependent Americans, but I refuse to believe that a power outage, even on a national scale, would cause this kind of devastation in such a short amount of time Fifteen thousand people in one town really would starve to death in less than two months I m sure there are people in the world who would love to get 1200 calories a day.
At some point, the lady character who s there to be a sexual foil for our boy John tells him, I feel like I m in some bad novel In my library copy someone wrote an asterisk next to this at the bottom of the page wrote You are Note do not write in your library book.
Oddly, the premise of this book an EMP electro magnetic pulse shutting down the world s grid came to my reality when all the high power solar flares were coming towards earth in early March 2012 Solar flares can cause the same reaction as EMPs, crazy how that works The book then goes on to describe life after society falls apart Coming off a 20 year stint as a far left liberal with a narrow tolerance for the right, I really appreciated an inside look William Forstchen is an authentic and thoughtful conservative presenting the reader with a realistic view of this mindset As I find myself looking for a balanced approach to politics, economics, and larger understandings, it s clear to me the left side including my former self, are as narrow as we believe the right to be This book opened my eyes and presented me with an inside look at the conservative camp It s not so bad Mr Forstchen even addresses the far right Christian sticklers in a not so good light This personal look into conservative lives is a nice byproduct of why I picked up One Second After, but not the main reason Mainly, I wanted to see a vision of collapse All empires come to an end and America is doing its level best to be next.
I purposely read this book to learn how life without a centralized structure may look Max Kaiser, Jim Rogers, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad author, Robert Kiyosaki amongst other economists, are all coming out and warning us that economic collapse is imminent The dollar will lose its clout and hyperinflation and or depression will set in I felt One Second After may offer a glimpse of what this could look like and what to expect After researching the history of other countries who faced collapse like Argentina, Zimbabwe, Soviet Union, and even as far back as Germany, it s clear America is on the same track So, what now With the popularity of National Geographic s Doomsday Preppers it appears and people are becoming aware of how wrapped up and entwined their dependent lives are on others How much can we really do for ourselves Our food, electricity, transportation, and health are very much dependent upon resources outside our immediate ability What if those shut off This book presents an idea of how that may play out Ultimately, a sound belief in abundance and the ability to create my reality from choice awareness trumps all fear I am so very thankful for William R Forstchen and all authors who write down their point of view in novels, so I may take out and use what works for me I am thankful that I have the capacity to observe, ponder, and stay curious rather than rush to judgment And what if that s all we are required to do Trust our own knowing and extrapolate the parts that fit us.
I m going back to my happy place now knowing that collective belief, prayer, and or meditation whatever your belief system allows for is what works best for my reality I am aware of all evil lurking out there and I m not scared Not one lick I am aware and I am grinning.