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One Second After Hardcover – Mar 17 2009

51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (March 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317582
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Civilization slides into the abyss of a new dark age in this horrifying apocalyptic novel. Forstchen has put Bin Laden's wet dream on paper and, in the process, taken civilization straight to the rack.” ―Stephen Coonts, author of The Assassin

“The only thing more terrifying than this masterfully crafted story is the possibility of it actually happening―and not a damn thing being done to protect us.” ―W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV

“Forstchen's work has flair and power.” ―Joel Rosenberg, author of The Sleeping Dragon

“One of the most intriguing writers today in the field of historical and military science fiction.” ―Harry Turtledove, author of Guns of the South

“Good storytelling consists very simply of creating characters so believable that the reader forms a deep bond. Forstchen did such a damned fine job with One Second After that shortly after the first page, I had been reeled in hook, line, and sinker.” ―David Hagberg, author of Dance with the Dragon

About the Author

William R. Forstchen is the author of We Look Like Men of War, among numerous other books in diverse subjects ranging from history to science fiction. He has co-authored several books with Newt Gingrich, including Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, Days of Infamy, To Try Men's Souls and Valley Forge. Forstchen holds a Ph.D. in History from Purdue University, with specializations in military history and the history of technology. He is currently a Faculty Fellow and Professor of History at Montreat College, near Asheville North Carolina. He is a pilot and flies an original WWII recon "warbird." He resides near Asheville with his daughter Meghan.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michel on June 3 2011
Format: Paperback
1 week ago I picked up this book and didn't set it down until tears ran down my face! There is a part that tore out my heart and I just could not go on. Sorry no spoilers!!!

This is a story about a small town coping with WWIII after the US is hit by EMP. I live in a small town so I can relate.

The author did a fabulous job of touching many subjects most forget. I have read most of the Deathlands series - it doesn't come close to this. If this happens, food runs out, friends turn against each other, no electricty, no computers, no communication and no medication.

There are parts that put you to sleep, around page 300 when the main characters talks to a professor.... blah blah blah

Also, this should have been made into a triology. 500 pages was not enough. It felt as the author rushed the last 200 pages.

If you want something that hits home, that is more then reality read this!


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Friesen on Jan. 20 2010
Format: Paperback
I have liked other works by Forstchen, and its post-apocalyptic premise was intriguing.

Basically the premise is that a rogue nation/terrorist group sets off a couple of nuclear weapons at a high altitude over the continental US causing an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) to fry electronics all across the US. Society goes from the Information Age to Middle Ages "One Second After".

Having read lots of other post-apocalyptic fiction (Alas Babylon is one of the best BTW), this novel had promise. A mix of fairly interesting characters caught in a situation not of their making. A need to rebuild society from the ground up, and so on

Regrettably, the book doesn't live up to its promise. It follows the fairly typical plot line of most post-apocalyptic works - disaster, starvation, adaptation and finally conflict with some 'bad' people (usually outlaw bikers or such) and for this reason, I felt disappointed. It would have been nice to see something unexpected happen. Instead, the barbarian outlaw biker gang appears and threatens their idyllic little community. The stereotypes are IMHO, the worst, painting city people as fat and lazy (for the most part), and rural dwellers as smart, savvy, salt of the earth types who must rescue their inept urban neighbours from themselves. Cliched characters, like the stern retired military officer and inept bureaucrats are liberally sprinkled throughout the book.

It's not a bad book (like Levar Burton's Aftermath was), but it's not a great book, and doesn't really add anything new to the genre. On the other hand, John Birmingham's "Without Warning", takes the genre in new and exciting ways and is highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Punishment on April 12 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I took the book to work, figured I'd read it over the work week.
What can I say, it's quiet at work (hotel, night shift) ...and I read the entire book in two nights.
Excellent read. Really gives you an idea of what it would be like if someone shut off the lights forever.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Tetreault on May 25 2009
Format: Hardcover
I started this book with a great deal of excitement, and I was not disappointed. I enjoy 'The End of the World as We Know it' Genre to start with. The book starts out like most introducing our characters, in this case a retired military man and history professor who is suddenly thrust into a world where nothing works like we have become accustomed to.

The book takes us through the slow and steady decline of a small town that has to deal with the sudden effects of an EMP on the Continental United States, and some other areas of the world. While they begin to feel the effects of the sudden lack of technology, you will realize that your own life (yes you in reality) is also precariously balanced on the technological edge of civilization. Things like 'just in time delivery' while a boon to the business efficiency community, takes away a safety barrier of a having a little on hand 'just in case'.

Back to the book, as the town starts to come to the realization that help is not in fact coming it must deal with the construction of a army, raiders, and a arrogant public safety chief of a neighboring town. The main character also has to deal with several personal tragedies.

In my opinion this is a great read, but the main character given his previous position in the US Military should have gotten many of the plans they had later in the book, up and running much sooner. It is an eye opener with respect to the consequences of the loss of technology.

Overall a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leiah TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 17 2015
"Unfortunately, the cyber threat to 'the grid' is only one means of eviscerating the soft underbelly of American society. Another which has been getting increasing attention could be delivered via the kind of nuclear-armed ballistic missile that Iran and North Korea have been developing: a strategic electro-magnetic pulse attack." -Frank Gaffney

It starts out as a normal day.

Then, a high-altitude nuclear bomb of uncertain origin explodes over the United States. And suddenly, there will never again be a 'normal day'.

Retired army colonel John Matherson teaches college, raises two daughters, and grieves the loss of his wife to cancer. Now, John must do everything he can to save his family as society begins to fail around them. John rushes to the drug store immediately. After all, his type-one diabetic 12-year-old will desperately need her insulin – and with the highways jammed with vehicles that no longer run, pharmaceutical companies that can no longer produce drugs, getting the insulin will be imperative. But there is only so much available – and after that?

Deaths start with heart attacks and eventually escalate alarmingly. Food becomes scarce, and societal breakdown proceeds with inevitable violence; towns burn, people are murdered for supplies, and roving gangs begin terrorizing towns where people have come together to help one another survive.

One Second After may not really be the "best book I have ever read" for its literary merit. Yes, it is well written, well scripted, and realistic in tone and writing style. What makes it the "best" is how REAL it is. America is, as is readily admitted by our government and military, NOT ready for an EMP.
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