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Left Behind: A Novel of the Earths Last Days [Paperback]

Tim LaHaye
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,971 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Feb. 12 1996 --  
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Book Description

Feb. 12 1996 Left Behind Series (Book 1)
In one cataclysmic moment, millions around the world disappear. Vehicles, suddenly unmanned, careen out of control. People are terror stricken as loved ones vanish before their eyes. In the midst of global chaos, airline captain Rayford Steele must search for his family, for answers, for truth. As devastating as the disappearances have been, the darkest days may lie ahead.

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Piloting his 747, Rayford Steele is musing about his wife Irene's irritating religiosity and contemplating the charms of his "drop-dead gorgeous" flight attendant, Hattie. First Irene was into Amway, then Tupperware, and now it's the Rapture of the Saints--the scary last story in the Bible in which Christians are swept to heaven and unbelievers are left behind to endure the Antichrist's Tribulation. Steele believes he'll put the plane on autopilot and go visit Hattie. But Hattie's in a panic: some of the passengers have disappeared! The Rapture has happened, abruptly driverless cars are crashing all over, and the slick, sinister Romanian Nicolae Carpathia plans to use the UN to establish one world government and religion. Resembling "a young Robert Redford" and silver-tongued in nine languages, Carpathia is named People's "Sexiest Man Alive." (This reviewer, a former People writer, finds this plot twist plausible.) Meanwhile, Steele teams up with Buck Williams, a buck-the-system newshound, to form the Tribulation Force, an underground of left-behind penitents battling the Antichrist.

Ex-presidential candidate Pat Robertson briefly outsold Michael Crichton with his apocalypse novel The End of the Age (now available on audiocassette), and the similar The Third Millennium sells well, but the Left Behind series is the absolute champion in the race to make the Book of Revelation into racy thriller reading. --Tim Appelo

From Library Journal

On a flight from Chicago to London, several passengers aboard Capt. Rayford Steele's plane suddenly and mysteriously disappear. When Steele radios to London to report the situation, he discovers that the incident on his plane is not an isolated phenomenon but a worldwide occurrence. As Steele begins his search for answers, he learns that the Christ has come to take the faithful with Him in preparation for the coming apocalyptic battle between good and evil and that those who have been left behind must face seven dark and chaotic years in which they must decide to join the forces of Christ or the forces of Anti-Christ. Jenkins, writer-in-residence at Moody Press, and LaHaye (A Nation Without a Conscience, Tyndale, 1994) have written a gripping thriller that captures the anxiety and fear that interpretations of Revelation often inspire. For most libraries.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)
So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit, talent, and grammatical skill of overly enthusiastic six-year-olds. Dame Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, you get the idea. Why should Christian fiction be any different?, I wondered. But despite all that, I dove into it.
Expecting the worst may not have been enough. To call the book naïve would be, perhaps, too kind. It uses the conventions of satire without being in any way satiric, treats its readership like total idiots, has all the spelling and grammar mistakes one could possibly want from a mass-produced piece of claptrap, and various other things, all of which I will attempt to make sound as tactful as possible below. But the bottom line, for those who would rather stop reading now, is this: plot's not bad, but execution is some of the worst I have seen outside self-publishing. Ever.
Without getting into the theological aspects of the book, it is impossible to write a comprehensive review of Left Behind without at least glossing over some of the more interesting (and less Biblical) assertions made by the authors, the most notable being the Rapturing (for lack of a better term) of everyone under the age of puberty. Hmmmmm. Including the ones in juvenile detention for murder? Okay, we'll drop the point. After all, our society is based (wrongly) on the idea that people can't make up their minds until they reach the magic age of eighteen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Left Behind in the Ratings June 22 2004
I read this book quite some time ago, and managed to struggle through the second and part of the third in the series. I find it incredibly preachy and poorly written. The plot was sketchy, the characters were weak (especially the women, who seemed incapable of anything but emotional displays and never were adequately developed as characters).
Additionally I have a problem with many of the rather doomsday, narrow interpretations of Biblical eschatology that seem to be circulating among the evangelical community these days. I find these views exceedingly narrow and sometimes disturbing: how about trying to solve some of our problems here on earth? At its best, the church (even today) has promoted charitable efforts and positive societal change (witness the Quaker and Abolitionist stances on slavery, for instance). A Rome-based charitable organization has successfully brokered peace deals in Mozambique and Guatemala. To me, anyway, these people are fulfilling the true and noble calling of faith to help others. By contrast, I find the trends in eschatology and prophetic interpretation alternately absurd, scarist, conspiratorial, and disturbing.
My conclusion: save your money. At the risk of over-generalizing allow me to say that the entire genre of Eschatological literature is useless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Left Behind and the 11 sequels are really just one long novel. It is possible, though not satisfying to read only the first one. I really enjoyed the first novel, Left Behind (well enough to read the next 11), although I actually stopped reading it for a while because the focus on the disbelievers was maddening. Millions of people all over the world disappear at once (coicidentally the die-hard Christians), and there is some question about what has happened? I suppose LeHaye and Jenkins were trying to convey just how ridiculous the non-Christians must seem to the Christians, but it was a bit overboard and actually a little boring. Anyway, our heroes finally accept Christ and the rest of the novels were action packed page turners. Of course, the Antichrist takes over rule of the world using the UN and the promise of world peace. I actually laughed out loud when the Antichrist was promising peace and extolling the exact sentiments you hear in the average Hillary Clinton speech (coincidence?). The novels read just an epic disaster novel and were just as fun. I would warn people who are anti-religion that the preaching is a little thick, but I enjoyed it and it was necessary to set the proper tone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn. June 20 2004
Is it fair to review a book I didn't finish reading? Sure, in hopes of saving someone else the money of buying it. Why didn't I finish reading it? Perhaps it was the:
1. Horrid logic. At the beginning, we learn that two events have already happened. A scientist has invented a chemical fertilizer for making the deserts bloom in Israel, which solves all of Israel's problems --even though Israel's problems are not generally considered to be agricultural in nature. And a nuclear attack on Israel by Russia is thwarted when the bombs explode over Israel without hitting the ground-- hardly much use when you consider the radiation that such bombs would have released.
2. Bad writing. If I ever hire a ghost writer, I'm gonna pick a guy who can write.
3. Stupid characters. By the time I threw the book across the room in disgust (around page 39), roughly 40 had been introduced, if you don't count the women. And you can't count the women, because all they do is act stupid and clingy and hang around waiting for the men to protect them, which the men do with the same consideration and kindness one might exhibit toward a wounded and exceptionally stupid sheep.
But perhaps I didn't give the series a fair shake. I couldn't. Nausea had set in. I will say this for it-- it has gotten a segment of the population reading that normally doesn't read much.
Unfortunately, it also promotes the belief that we won't be needing the world much longer, which has extremely unfortunate ramifications for the environment, public health, and international relations.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
This book made me stop and think "Would I be left behind?" Some reflecting going on. Good writing and easy to follow the storyline. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Good book really well written.
Published 2 months ago by Ron C. Samson
3.0 out of 5 stars school prject
Did not like it the book, jumps around too much, seems like one story dosn't finish everything before another story starts.
Published 19 months ago by Brian Speich
3.0 out of 5 stars Left behind
The only thing I did not like was how they just left you hanging at the end. Is there another book?
Published 20 months ago by Barb
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly exciting
The story opens over the Atlantic, on a 747 enroute to London. The pilot, Rayford Steele, is daydreaming about pretty flight attendant Hattie, and rationalizing the end of his... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2006 by Kona
5.0 out of 5 stars The rapture is GONNA happen people!
The Left Behind Series is fiction....yes....But they are based on the prophecies of the bible. They are warnings. They are wakeup calls. The rapture WILL happen. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2005
1.0 out of 5 stars Forgive me
Until this book was published, I never realized just how un-Christian I was in my belief that the Prince of Peace really wanted to bring peace to the world. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Angela Hugghins
1.0 out of 5 stars All who think this is good writing need to be taken by God..
I have read some bad books before, but this is quite possible the worst one I have had the misfortune to pick up. I could not make it past page 75. Read more
Published on July 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast moving read!
I would have to say that most people know about this book. Its a fictional story from biblical events from the book Revelation. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by "johancornelius"
2.0 out of 5 stars Scapegoating?
Is the Left Behind series an exercise in scapegoating non-believers in Tim LaHaye's definition of Christianity? Read more
Published on July 12 2004
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