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One Second After [Hardcover]

William R. Forstchen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 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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Review

"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

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but cliched 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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5 of 6 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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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Informative research paper. Terrible novel. Sept. 21 2009
By crazybatcow TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
You know how a book is "supposed" to have something in the first few pages, or, at least, in the first chapter that grabs you and keeps you reading? Well, this book does not have that. If it wasn't for the fact that you already know what the book is about, and that this event must eventually be interesting/exciting/gripping, you'd be bored to tears with how the author TELLS you everything (no showing here folks, it's all neatly explained, word by word). So If you have never heard about what an EMP is/does, don't worry, you'll be well-versed after the 10th time it's explained in the book.

If you tend to forget what items are run by electricity/computer chips, don't worry, the author will remind you that your coffee maker won't work and your car and your cell phone and your water pump and - well, pretty much every single "powered" item you might use is identified at some point...

The main character roams from scene to scene (town hall, new town, campus, store, etc) and meets other men and they have a confrontation which is resolved by either a) his superior military training and intelligence b) sharing cigarettes (yes, I'm serious, one of the main threads in the book is how important cigarettes are as a "friend-making" tool)

I know there are a lot of reviews calling this a right-wing political book. This didn't deter me from buying it. If anyone had mentioned the lack of characterization, the abundance of clichés and stereotypes, the complete lack of women (other than nurses or sex interests), and the very dominant "strong white male as savior" theme, I would have saved my money.

As a informative research paper on the outcome of an EMP, this is a 4 star. Unfortunately, I was expecting to read a novel, not a research paper... so 2 stars it is.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 1 month 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 1 month ago by casper
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 1 month 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 1 month 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 3 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 5 months ago by David Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Apocalypse
I am not a doomsday prep person by any means, but this book actually made me think about stocking my cupboards, buying a short-wave radio and making meeting-place arrangements with... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Christin Petra Bux
3.0 out of 5 stars Service and Such Was Great
The service and such from the seller was awesome. The quality of the product, shipping, everything. They were great.

The book, not so much. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Brent L
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
Great from start to finish. It is scary to have a clear picture painted on the breakdown of society and to think that the biggest threat to the human race is us.
Published 11 months ago by Sandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
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. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Punishment
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