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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could This Be A Survival Manual for the Post-Apocalypse?
When I was an impressionable young girl of 14, my then boyfriend at the time insisted I read Alas, Babylon, saying that he felt a nuclear conflict was not only possible, but inevitable. Of course, this was in the late Seventies and the Cold War was still all about 'arming for peace'. Knowing there was a distinct possibility that one day I might have to face a full-on...
Published on March 1 2004

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3.0 out of 5 stars Editing required
While this is a truly wonderful book, it is simply "riddled" with typos. Considering it's a published novel the amount of typos was exceedingly disappointing. I would've expected better from this publisher.
Published 4 months ago by Chris


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could This Be A Survival Manual for the Post-Apocalypse?, March 1 2004
By A Customer
When I was an impressionable young girl of 14, my then boyfriend at the time insisted I read Alas, Babylon, saying that he felt a nuclear conflict was not only possible, but inevitable. Of course, this was in the late Seventies and the Cold War was still all about 'arming for peace'. Knowing there was a distinct possibility that one day I might have to face a full-on nuclear disaster, I found that Alas, Babylon rang so true to me that it haunted me for years. I have moved all over the country and halfway across the world, and my battered old copy of this fantastic novel has come with me. Well, my impressionable years are behind me, but the impact of Alas Babylon's vision of how folks in a small Southern town would react to a nuclear halocaust is still as strong. I read it just the other day and was again struck by it's vivid, disturbing descriptions of not only the horror of watching your world literally blowing up around you, but also the grisly task of how to survive it. Yes, it's military Cold War jargon and it's prickly talk of racism and segregation give it a slightly dated feel; but if the bomb drops tomorrow, and I'm alive, I can only hope my copy of Alas, Babylon survives with me. It may just safe my life...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, June 4 2004
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
While Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" deals with nuclear war after the fact, Pat Frank puts the reader right in the middle of the war and lets them witness firsthand the mass hysteria and carnage that would accompany the beginning and aftermath in the first few years afterwards.
The actual beginning of the nuclear war occupies only the first few chapters of the book, and the fallout, both literally and figuratively, is what makes up the rest. Having the reader in the middle of the action is what hits home the most--especially when the radio address by the new president, a woman who is about twentieth in line to succeed the president, reads a complete listing of the areas with so much fallout that people are forbidden to enter or leave them. Chills will run down your spine when you read this part and realize that you are right in the midst of one of these zones.
This book is more optimistic than Nevil Shute's, so perhaps it's less realistic. However, Frank weaves a wonderful story of people picking up the pieces of the shattered world and managing to move on together in the face of such tragedy. Definitely a worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original 1950's Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Feb. 18 2013
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
Randy Bragg is living an unspectacular late 1950's existence in well-named Fort Repose, Florida. Things begin to change when he is contacted by his brother Mark, an Air Force Colonel. Mark uses their long-standing code for trouble, a phrase from the Book of Revelations. Mark explains that war is imminent, and leaves his family with Randy for safekeeping. His predictions prove accurate. The brief nuclear exchange that follows swallows Mark and a large proportion of the country's population. It leaves Fort Repose in the middle of a radiation-free zone, safe but cut off from the outside.

Much of what follows has since become standard in "after the big war" stories. Randy and his community cope with the absence of civilization. As electricity fails, they use candles for light and fire for cooking. As canned food supplies dwindle, they rediscover fishing, hunting and planting. They learn to repair, then make simple tools like bows and arrows that are now needed to survive. Many authors have covered this ground, but Pat Frank was one of the first. And he does it well.

What sets this story apart is the focus on people. We see contrast between the town's banker, who cannot adjust to a world without money, and other Fort Repose citizens who form a working barter economy. Some former neighbors steal from each other, while others become closer--cooperating to catch fish, find a new source of salt, and even have community social gatherings. Randy emerges as a leader, organizing use of community resources, access to medical care, and defense against marauding outlaws.

The book also explores subtle currents in the relationships between its characters. Randy's sister-in-law Helen, for example, has to deal with the attachment she forms to Randy. Although this attachment is more domestic than romantic, it complicates Randy's growing romance with his neighbor, Lib McGovern. These explorations of personal and community relationships set the book apart from more traditional post-war science fiction of this time, such as Earth Abides. Readers who enjoy this human element will recognize similar themes in the darker On the Beach by Nevil Shute. There are also elements of post-disaster community-building in John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids. Pat Frank's book has a strong dose of both.

This book his highly recommended to fans of post-apocalyptic science fiction, students of 1950's opinions about surviving nuclear war, and readers who simply enjoy a good story with interesting characters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Editing required, Nov. 24 2013
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This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Kindle Edition)
While this is a truly wonderful book, it is simply "riddled" with typos. Considering it's a published novel the amount of typos was exceedingly disappointing. I would've expected better from this publisher.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you have NOT read this, BUY IT, Sept. 9 2013
By 
Brent L - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
I had not read this book since I was a teen. Somewhere along the lines I lost my copy of it and bought a new one to read it again. It was like I had never read it before. I found myself reading it with new experiences and lessons behind me, and thus appreciated it on a whole new level. The thing that struck me, reading it at my age now, was that if you were to change some of the dates and the names of some of the technologies (like the makes and models of the automobiles and such) the book could have been written about people today rather than in the 50's. Amazing read when I was a teen; stunning as an adult.

If you have an interest in politics, preparedness, human nature, the post apok genre, or anything related to these you really should read this book. It rates right up there with greats like "On the Beach", "Canticle for Liebowitz" and "Lucifer's Hammer".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, July 10 2013
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
I don't know why I hadn't read this book before. this is a great story. Pat Frank was a wonderful writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended., May 9 2013
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First read this book around 1959. Never forgot it. It is still a great yarn the second time around and 40 years later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and ahead of it's time., Jan. 27 2013
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
This was an excellent read. It's a combination of excellent writing and technical knowledge. As relevant today as it was when it was written at the height of the Cold War. (minus the impact of an EMP to current electronics).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost too good . . . ., June 12 2004
By 
Daniel Waitkoss (St. Charles, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
I read this book as a teenager and was so taken by it that I would reread it several years in a row. Its picture of life after a nuclear war is harrowing and frightening. In a sense, this is a prelude of the story that concludes with "On the Beach". The only problem is that Frank writes so well and gives such a hopeful slant to the possibility of survival that some readers might want to be there when the missles start to fall. (By the way, this much superior to that mess of a movie "The Day After"--and, oh how I wish, it would have made a splendid film. I believe it was made as a Playhouse 90 for TV in the 50s. Oh, would I love to see that!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Absurdly optimistic, Feb. 11 2004
By 
Neil Sorenson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alas Babylon (Paperback)
I would never have imagined a book about nuclear war being so insanely optimistic and upbeat (just count on your neighbors and all will be well in the end). I picked this one up after reading the infinitely superior ...(and was on a post-apocalyptic lit jag) and was greatly disappointed. The (excessive) explanations for the novel's war are rooted firmly in the 50's and offer nothing to a modern reader and aside from a lack of fresh produce, life seems to be pretty groovy for the survivors in this book.
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Alas Babylon
Alas Babylon by Pat Frank (Paperback - June 23 2005)
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