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One Second After [Hardcover]

William R. Forstchen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 17 2009
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 enemies.
Months 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.

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"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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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but cliched Jan. 20 2010
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Second After a Review May 25 2009
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One Second After, by William Fortschen Nov. 18 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is inriguing technically and the plot moves fast enough which kept me reading. Still there was this right-wing tone evoking in my mind the Mel Gibson vehicle "We Were Soldiers". Here the good guys are all ex-mil and the bad guys are just bad: druggies, gangs etc.

Examples were lines like that alluding to global warming which "may be a threat", or "...Don't insult me Tom (or was it Charlie?), you know my politics", when it was suggested to the protagonist that sharing supplies equally among townsfolk was communism (read "socialism" now the Red Scare has fizzled). What's the dramatic purpose of that? How is it necessary to advance the plot?

Then there's family values: the protagonist's new girlfriend, nurse Makala, has no kids, but he reassures himself that if she did she'd "claw her way back to Charlotte". Women, except the mayor of Black Mountain, are nurses or homemakers, proud and strong though they are.

Then of course everyone has and is adroit with a gun. I could go on.

I'm a Canuck, and as such even at our most right we're still slightly left of Clinton or Obama. In US terms I'd fall under the pinko label, but I do cherish and applaud the rule of law, a strong and uncorrupted military, and the sanctity of home and private property so often cited in this book. I'm just too spoiled by government-paid medical care to not notice the subliminal language of wild-west heroism, fierce individuality and survival of the most armed and dangerous.

The story line is arresting (especially to a some-time physics devotee like me) and keeps one interested, but there were too many distracting ideologic reminders for me to digest it unimpeded.

My first clue should have been the fore-word by Newt Gingrich, the author's good friend.

Jon A.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling...and Excellent! Feb. 5 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was hooked from the first page and suddenly looked up a couple hours later and found myself one-third of the way through this book and scared as hell! This could happen, it's not farfetched, it's entirely plausible, and it's extremely thought provoking. What would happen if suddenly everything - I mean everything - we rely on no longer works? Well, Dr. Forstchen imagined that, wrote about it and the result is this novel which we can pray and hope will never come true.

He imagines a small rural east coast US town suddenly plunged back to the early 19th century (essentially) when all electrical power is wiped out in one second. Seem implausible? Nope, it could really happen and may not be all that hard to do yet nothing (at least that the general public can see) is being done to prevent it; instead, our security is all focused on making sure travelers take their shoes off, don't carry liquids or basically anything else on planes, etc., etc. Yet the plot of this book shows there is something far more dangerous and chilling that could happen - and have much more far-reaching consequences - than one jetliner blowing up, as tragic as that would be.

As a rural family physician (and I'm doing this review during a lull in the ER) I found the medical stuff most intriguing and scary. How many people rely on modern medications or equipment to live; how many would soon die without it. Even all the public health problems that would come up are real - and that makes the story even more nightmarish. Food, at least in my local area, hopefully wouldn't be as big a problem but still everything that Forstchen postulates is believable.

Read this book - and be scared. Then think about little things you can do to help yourself, your family, your neighbours in the very real likelihood an event like this could happen.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think
Thought provoking. Funny how things fall apart so fast
Published 3 months ago by Rob ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening but real
I wouldn't buy them if I didn't want them. Always good. Especially this author. I need to add more words so. There.
Published 4 months ago by Paul Mayall
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and informative
This book is very well written, while informing us of things that will work and things that will not work if we ever did have to experience a solar flare or an EMP. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lois Schurek
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story - Terrible editing
Overall I enjoyed the story but had some difficulty with the erratic flow of some sections. Sentences and paragraphs sometimes just did not seem to flow together cohesively. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J Michael Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
This book was as informative as it was entertaining.
I highly recommend this book to any preppers or people like me who enjoy apocalyptic stories.
Published 7 months ago by Ben Linzel
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
terrifyingly true story waiting to happen. can anyone truly prepare for something like this? physically, and materially but emotionally, only a few will survive
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a jeremiad
Basically an all-right enough novel, also basically a right-wing all-right novel, warning of a possible threat to America which complacency and bean-counting mentality doesn't take... Read more
Published 7 months ago by demarion
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary, because it could happen.
I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second. The first half was an eye-opener to how dependent we all are on how the world runs dependent on electricity, computers,... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Leslie
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardly worth the purchase.
This book came highly recommended. I can only conclude the person who recommended has not ever read any really outstanding literature.
Published 9 months ago by Irene
4.0 out of 5 stars A scary thought and possible glimpse of the future.
Never have I read a book of the horrendous possibilities and trials our civilization may endure in a case such as this one. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David Reid
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