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EARTH ABIDES Mass Market Paperback – Aug 12 1981


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Mass Market Paperback, Aug 12 1981
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett (Aug. 12 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449232522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449232521
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,678,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 24 2010
Format: Paperback
Earth Abides, written in 1949, tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its "rebirth". It is actually three books in one: the disintegration of the world, the establishment of a new collective culture, and the moral weights of leadership. I initially read it as a post-apocalyptic novel and was rewarded with a philosophical treatise on the loss of a way of life and the dangers of man oversimplifying himself. The development of the tiny band's subsequent generations is more terrifying than a plague wiping out the planet. It is a story of 'what man wrought' but not in the way one anticipates. Originally classified a "science fiction" novel, now, with time, it must be categorized as literature.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written by a great writer. Best of the genre. I was glad to see that there were several more printings after my first encounter with this fascinating story.
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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 18 2013
Format: Paperback
Isherwood Williams is away in the mountains pursuing his graduate field studies in geology. In our iPhone, instant connectivity world it is hard to imagine the isolation this kind of trip entailed in the 1950's when George Stewart wrote his book. Recovering from a snake bite, Ish stumbles back from the hills to find most of humanity wiped out by disease. We follow Ish through the remainder of his life as he comes to terms with a changing Earth--an Earth on which humanity is a barely noticeable presence.

The absence of humanity is not only a stark fact, but is emphasized by the author's writing style. Ish is a clear introvert and we experience much of the Earth's change through his internal monologue. Even when he encounters, interacts with, and teams up with other people, this produces very little dialogue. This style underscores the aloneness of the book's characters. It's not loneliness, in the emotional sense, but a continuing reminder that other people no longer play a significant role in the world.

The Earth itself becomes an evolving character in the book. We experience the successive rise and fall in populations of insects, rats, dogs and other species as seasons in the Earth's changing life. The diminishing resources scavenged by human beings from cities and storehouses are important to their survival, but also serve as markers of change as the Earth sheds the thin layers of Man's influence. This change is not progress, nor is it overly mourned as decline. It is thoroughly described and documented as inevitable change. Ish observes it and reacts to it. But neither he nor the other characters influence its path or pace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent story. Perhaps my favorite post-apocalyptic novel. Very sad at times, uplifting other times. Interesting political, social, and religious commentary within some episodes and chapters. I strongly recommend this book to anybody. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this novel before.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Krypter on May 1 2007
Format: Paperback
Earth Abides is not a typical post-apocalyptic novel. It doesn't present a world of mutants, giant cockroaches or bands of marauders. It simply shows the slow and inevitable decay of man and all his works, in the teeth of attempts by the protagonist to restore the old ways of civilization. In that it succeeds beautifully and shows us the grandeur of our world and the majesty of what we have wrought...then compares it to the greater majesty of nature and the eternal gaze of time. The novel works best as a family drama, more Swiss Family Robinson than Mad Max, and has no sensational adventures to offer other than the daily tribulations of life. For man may be a great creature, but he is still small and the world doesn't really need him at all...

Earth Abides is the most meditative and serene post-apocalyptic novel I've ever read, and it's recommended for more thoughtful readers who won't be easily bored.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony M. on Feb. 16 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book back in 1967. At that time I was a kid and the whole story seemed to be nothing but "science fiction." I read about the way Ish went through his life, with a disbelief that it could ever happen here and now.
However, today I look at the possibility that civilization could be shattered by the loss of what we have come to consider the essential necessities of life - electricity, water, gas, gasoline, telephone, computers, drug stores and grocery stores. Now when I read Earth Abides, I realize that this story could actually happen to us. The problems that Ish had to deal with are now possible. As I read this story, I found myself wondering how I would handle dwindling supplies, the threats of animals and disease, the decreasing availability of items that spoil or evaporate, the social interaction with people, both good and bad. I wondered how I would deal with the lack of food, water, and medicine? Would I be able to survive in a deserted city with no electricity? With terrorists threatening to destroy our way of life, this book could be a survival guide for the modern man.
I especially found the greatest distress in this book was the way knowledge was lost. First Ish wanted to read and then it became less important and then the books fell apart. Ish became an antique with knowledge of things that meant nothing to the younger generation that was growing up around him. This book should be used to teach us all a lesson - that we must keep the flame of knowledge burning all the time or we could lose it so very fast.
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