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One Second After Hardcover – Mar 17 2009

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CDN$ 16.88 CDN$ 5.98 First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (March 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317582
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon Archibald on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Winston Smith on Nov. 24 2012
Format: Hardcover
I didn't enjoy this book at all. It was easy enough to read, but huge sections of the book seemed to be dedicated to the protagonist explaining things to the other, poorly defined characters. It was almost like reading a briefing note, or an informative pamphlet. It was entirely “tell” instead of “show.”

Second: the protagonist was a HUGE hypocrite. This would be fine, but at no point in the novel does he, or anyone else, ever realize that he has this character flaw. On multiple occasions throughout the story he makes, “the tough decisions” regarding rationing of food, medicine and luxuries like running vehicles, but only after he has managed to take, steal or bribe someone so that he has more then his fair share. Again, this would be fine, if it was written as a flaw that he recognizes and feels guilty about, or as something that those around him notice, but on the one occasion that he is actually confronted with his hypocrisy, the person who brings it up ends up apologizing for suggesting that he follow the rule that he himself is proposing. Also, he has apparently made sacrifices for his family in the past, but you'd never know it by reading this novel. Life as they know it is obliterated and we get, maybe, three scenes in the entire book where the guy actually sits down to see how his kids are doing with the apocalypse.

Third: Other then the protagonist, no other character in the book seems to have any personality or opinions of their own. When they do have an opinion its a complete straw-man argument, presented so that the main character can explain to the individual how stupid they are. Very, “thank heavens that we don't have to argue about liberal vs. conservative issues anymore, now that we know the conservatives were right all along.
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1 of 1 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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6 of 7 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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