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After America [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

John Birmingham , Kevin Foley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 24 2010
March 14, 2003, was the day the world changed forever. A wave of energy slammed into North America and devastated the continent. The U.S. military, poised to invade Baghdad, was left without a commander in chief. Global order spiraled into chaos. Now, three years later, a skeleton U.S. government headquartered in Seattle directs the reconstruction of an entire nation—and the battle for New York City has begun.

Pirates and foreign militias are swarming the East Coast, taking everything they can. The president comes to the Declared Security Zone of New York and barely survives the visit. The enemy—whoever they are—controls Manhattan's concrete canyons and the abandoned flatlands of Long Island. The U.S. military, struggling with sketchy communications and a lack of supplies, is mired in a nightmare of urban combat.

Caught up in the violence is a Polish-born sergeant who watches the carnage through the eyes of an intellectual and with the heart of a warrior. Two smugglers, the highborn Lady Julianne Balwyn and her brawny partner, Rhino, search for a treasure whose key lies inside an Upper East Side Manhattan apartment. Thousands of miles away, a rogue general leads the secession of Texas and a brutal campaign against immigrants, while Miguel Pieraro, a Mexican-born rancher, fights back. And in England, a U.S. special ops agent is called into a violent shadow war against an enemy that has come after her and her family.

The president is a stranger to the military mindset, but now this mild-mannered city engineer from the Pacific Northwest needs to make a soldier's choice. With New York clutched in the grip of thousands of heavily armed predators, is an all-out attack on the city the only way to save it?

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Review

“Birmingham’s inspired speculation is ingenious and engrossing.”—Publishers Weekly

“Interesting geopolitics, incredible action, and pirate battles make this a perfect end-of-summer read.”—io9

“John Birmingham’s ability to seamlessly merge the gritty realism of Tom Clancy with the raw speculation of Michael Crichton is like nothing else I’ve ever read.”—James Rollins, author of The Doomsday Key, on Without Warning


From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Birmingham is the author of Without Warning, Final Impact, Designated Targets, Weapons of Choice, How to Be a Man, and Leviathan, which won the National Award for Nonfiction at Australia's Adelaide Festival of the Arts.

Kevin Foley has over thirty years' experience in radio and television broadcasting, commercial voice-overs, and audiobook narration. He has recorded over 150 audiobooks, and he won an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine for his narration of Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Only half way through... May 13 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once again, I got the product faster than promised.
I'm only half way through the book, but I would recommend reading this one AFTER you've read "WITHOUT WARNING"...
Both are good books that have helped me through quiet nights at work.

Shhhh... don't tell my boss.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Entry Loses Some Pace Sept. 6 2010
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Birmingham's first entry into his three book series called Without Warning was tons of fun largely due to the premise and pace. And it ended with an exciting cliffhanger that is only partly capitalized on in After America. This second book picks up the action in 2006 following an event that largely took out the people of North America three years earlier. We learn that the parts that were impacted can now be re-settled and they have become hotly contested which produces the majority of the action.

The author has tied up some plot mess and loose ends created in the first effort while focusing on the more developed and enjoyable characters. But for me the best parts of the book involve the battles to reclaim the Declared Security Zone of New York which provides amazing images of conflict on Manhattan. I work on Madison Avenue so it was incredibly interesting to imagine the war zone Birmingham has created. Several other plot lines continue but they are not really developing or are as interesting. And I am having a hard time with The Echelon 'super agent' - the character seems unnecessary to this point.

Overall one has to hand it to Birmingham, he has created a complicated and scary new world that is intriguing to witness. I only ask that he focus even more in the third installment and keep the action coming along with some explanation of the original event.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
76 of 92 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Middle Book Syndrome Aug. 23 2010
By Brian Schaeflein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, Birmingham fell into the same trap that so many authors before him have. After an excellent start to the series, in Without Warning, Birmingham has created a second part to the series that effectively does nothing other than move the main characters around, in preparation for what I presume will be the finale.

The main events of the book occurred within the first couple of chapters, and nothing was resolved. The rest of the book was devoted entirely to a journey to nowhere. None of the characters accomplished anything of note, once the setting was in place. The book read like filler, something to bridge a gap to the next installment.

Caitlin's story was entirely pointless after the attack at the beginning. Jules and Rhino accomplished absolutely nothing, other than meeting other main characters. Kipper's story was one of angst and indecision the entire book, affecting the story in no discernible way for this book. Milosz at least had some action, though once again, meaningless action that did not advance the story, other than to push him towards further action. Miguel's story also peaked at the beginning, and like Caitlin's was just a matter of movement through space and time. The only happening of consequence at the end of the book revolved around a new character introduced this book, and even then, he was a disposable character.

Also, I would gladly give up the line after line of intricate detail about the color of the carpets in a hotel, the specs of a weapon, or the specific military designations of disposable characters and units in exchange for actual story, which was oddly missing, or truncated in this book. It was as though he depended too much on whoever was doing his research, rather than on his own story-telling ability.

Overall, I am hugely disappointed in Mr Birmingham, because I loved the Axis of Time series and the first book of this series, Without Warning. My thought, as I closed the book on the last page was, "I waited two years for this?"
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting.... Sept. 8 2010
By James Tepper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I waited with great anticipation for this book, the first sequel to the outstanding "Without Warning" , that I rated at 4 stars. Unfortunately for me, this middle of a planned trilogy just didn't do it. Whereas the first book introduced a large number of really intriguing situations, this follow-up didn't follow up on most of them. There was lots of action in the sense of military mayhem in Manhattan and vigilante violence in Texas, but not very much at all in the sense of advancing the story line itself. And be forewarned - one really has to have read "Without Warning" to make any sense of this one. Overall, 2.5 stars.

Lady Julianne and Rhino are in Manhattan on a treasure hunt that never really made much sense. With the world population decreased by 33% (I know America is important, but I'm not sure that I buy 2 billion deaths resulting from its immediate absence from the world stage), I wouldn't think that oil leases would be that valuable. I was very interested in what exactly was the upshot of Israel's nuking most of the Arab world, seemingly without reprisal, but I still don't know because it's barely mentioned in this sequel.

The president, Kipper, seems lost most of the time, barely a shadow of the take charge, don't mess with me city engineer we met in "Without Warning", and super Echelon agent Caitlin's character seems wasted running around from England to Germany and finally to Manhattan on a semi-personal vendetta.

Of all the principal characters, the only one who seemed to have grown significantly in stature and depth since the first book was Miguel. He faces a horrible personal tragedy in the beginning of the book and turns out to be a powerful, well written character with a lot of depth. His story, and that of the socio-political problems in Texas were by far the most interesting to me of everything in the book.

I was not put off, like some others who have commented, that there was no further discussion (as there was almost none in the first book) as to the nature and/or cause of the Wave. I would be perfectly happy if author Birmingham simply intended to use that as a plot device to ask what would happen if the US suddenly disappeared, and never attempted any explanation. It might be irrelevant to the story. That being said, however, I was still struck by the maps of the area affected by the Wave in both books. I would have expected that almost any natural (or unnatural) phenomenon that might have caused the effect would have exerted its effect in a spherical area. But affected area is not circular and the maps point towards a potential point source somewhere in the North Atlantic, as if someone (The Russians or Chinese, perhaps, both of whom who seem surprisingly absent from the book) set of some kind of device there. Could be just a red herring, but having read the fantastic "Axis of Time" trilogy, I know Birmingham to be an outstanding plotter, not given to emphasizing useless facts. I'lll just have to wait and see.

So IMHO, After America wasn't bad, it just wasn't nearly as great as the first in the series or any of the three parts of the Axis of Time trilogy.

So, another couple of years for the final entry. I'm still waiting.

J.M. Tepper
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars anticlimactic is an understatement Sept. 4 2010
By Joseph Plumb Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first book, Without Warning, in this series of, it seems, two books was an excellent read. It ended abruptly, leaving all the characters in limbo. The catch was a second book, After America, which would be released mid 2010. A "little hidden "Got'cha!" as we used to say at homebrew computer club"
OK, finally After America was released so I re-read the first book so as to transition into the second with the first book fresh in my mind. Ahh, but a resolution was not to be had. I won't bore you with the details, I will just say that this second book leaves the reader unfulfilled and hanging, much like a looter hanging from a lamp-post, swinging gently in the wind.
anticlimactic is the word. Look it up if you are unfamiliar with this word because after a fairly good read, BAM! the book ends leaving the characters in limbo, an unfinished tale of about a dozen very interesting characters.
The author needs his knuckles "rapped" with a ruler and to be sent back to finish the story.
4 stars since its a great book, very entertaining, but unfinished!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply terrible- not what its supposed to be Sept. 17 2010
By Gene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The premise of this series was what would happen if america simply vanished and what whould happen to the world. The first book was ok. This one is a disaster. The authur simply skipped 4 years in this book post america's disappearance. He skipped the entire story and situation that justified this series entire reason for existance in the first place. The entire fallout, civil wars, survival of isolated left over american cities-now city states, politics of various parts of the world in reaction-all skipped over !!!
Instead all we get is a book about some left over USA military fighting looters in Manhatten 4 years after the event? Who cares. Why would seattle 3000 miles away even care given that manhatten no longer has any real value apart from salvage- no one lives there- and no one needs the ports.
We are told that all the major countries have collapsed into internal strife but he skipped over even general details.
What is canada doing? taking over center of america? what about mexico and the millions of people they have that may want to move up--- nothing is covered.
totally worthless read. Not even interesting in what he chose to write about. I had though Birmingham was a good authur and enjoyed his alt. history series--but this is just garbage.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy writing Sept. 23 2010
By William - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed Without Warning and anxiously awaited the sequel. Bought it the day it was released. What a disappointment. It reads like the first chapter of the sequel, not the sequel. It is incomplete, doesn't do a good job of transitioning from Without Warning, and just ends, mid-story. Kind of like Birmingham lost interest, or just got tired of writing. Needless to say, I'm not anxiously awaiting the next book.
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