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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book...VERY Depressing
A great, simple book very well written and poignant. What's interesting about it is that as we enter the story, the nuclear war that will eventually doom the characters in the story has already occurred and is over. They are simply awaiting the lethal radioactive cloud to move down to the southern hemisphere and begin to kill everyone off. The people carry on their...
Published on July 15 2004 by C. Connolly

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A chore to read
Mr. Shute had a wonderful scenerio for the end of the world in his book. Now if only he had given the idea to an author who knew how to write. This novel moved excrusiatingly slow and his repetitve australian dialect added nothing to help; if not hurt it. Out of all the books I have read, I would have to say that this one ranks among the top 10 worst in language usauge...
Published on Jan. 21 2000 by Robert lucas


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book...VERY Depressing, July 15 2004
By 
C. Connolly (Fair Lawn, New Jersey USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
A great, simple book very well written and poignant. What's interesting about it is that as we enter the story, the nuclear war that will eventually doom the characters in the story has already occurred and is over. They are simply awaiting the lethal radioactive cloud to move down to the southern hemisphere and begin to kill everyone off. The people carry on their daily lives as if nothing has happened. But we see in several key scenes early in the book how painfully, heartbreakingly aware they really are. And that's the key power to the story. These people know they're doomed but what choice do they have except to continue on with their lives. The most painful scene I found in the book was how the young couple with the baby begin to plan out their garden for the next year knowing full well that they are not going to be around to see it. They're fooling themselves, obviously, but how else to cope with the inevitable.
In the end, the book has the same effect as a movie called "Testament" with Jane Alexander. You'll be depressed and feeling a little scared and hopeless.
This is not light reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My only friend is darkness, Sept. 17 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: On the Beach (Paperback)
The basic story is that Albania sends a plane with another country's markings to bomb the U.S. and we retaliate. However this is not a pacifist (don't build bombs book). This is not a sci-fi book. It could be a speculative fiction or just speculative.

The story begins after the war is completed and radiation is now covering the world. Australia is the last place to be covered. You read how different people are about to meat their end, some with hope, others with reckless abandon. Still there are those like the US sub commander Dwight Towers is loyal to his country to the end by not allowing U.S. property in the end to fall into the hands of the Aussies.

The book was written in the Cold War Era environment. So many people think that it is about countries and war; others think this story is some anti war story. The reality is that it is a study of people meeting a sure end and how they react. Other readers will balk at the actions of the people in this story; yet when they meet the same situation we will see how realistic the characters are. Still others will balk at the predictability of the characters. Still this is how many people get over a crisis by being predictable. It is these characteristics that make this novel timeless. Someone else must think so or they would not have made an updated version for our not too distant future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A chore to read, Jan. 21 2000
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
Mr. Shute had a wonderful scenerio for the end of the world in his book. Now if only he had given the idea to an author who knew how to write. This novel moved excrusiatingly slow and his repetitve australian dialect added nothing to help; if not hurt it. Out of all the books I have read, I would have to say that this one ranks among the top 10 worst in language usauge and sentence structure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More to "On the Beach" than Nuclear War, April 12 2014
This review is from: On the Beach (Paperback)
"On the Beach" is both a book and a movie from 1957 and 1959 respectively. A well crafted movie ideally should be complimentary to the original book, and Stanley Kramer's movie is certainly complimentary. Although this is a book review, it is appropriate in this case however, that a review of the book and the movie together makes any reflection on the ideas within the story richer.
The main story line of "On the Beach" is about the end of all life on earth as a result of radiation poisoning after a disastrous nuclear war in 1964. The obvious message is the folly of nations, armed with weapons that they dare not use and the consequences of using them. The movie pursues that populist angle with the final scene being of a large banner strung over a public square stating "There is still time...brother." The final message that there was still time to address the concerns over nuclear war in the 1950s and 60s is the one that initially received the most publicity.

But, "On the Beach" is more than the threat of nuclear weapons.The story takes place in Melbourne, Australia as a deadly radiation moves slowly, over many months, from the northern hemisphere to the southern, providing time for us to know the characters as they wrestle with the idea of their individual and collective demise. The underlying meanings of "On the Beach" however, are more subtle and timeless than the obvious folly of nuclear war. The title is a metaphor for the good memories the characters take away when reflecting on the final meaning of their lives. Towards the end of the movie there is a scene where one smiling young couple reflects over how they first met on the beach and the joys of love, marriage and parenthood that came from that meeting. Some character's lives are complete, others fall short of their dreams and aspirations, but life is not about quantity or if they had it all or not, it is making the best of the opportunities offered and not crying over the inevitable shortcomings. It is about accepting our lot in life with dignity and self-respect. The double-meaning of the title "On the Beach" is about having lived a good life.

The concerns over nuclear war have faded somewhat today, but "On the Beach" addresses how we meet the timeless issue of death. And that is the lesson of "On the Beach", as all people die. How we face death says something about how we faced life. Throughout the story people continue to go on with their lives and even towards the end, when all hope is lost, they are still tidying up their gardens and arranging things for after they are gone. It is about duty, of self-respect and doing the right thing. One of the main characters, Commander Dwight Towers, is given the stark choice of either spending his final moments comforting, and in the comfort of, the woman he has recently fallen in love with, or fulfilling his duty by scuttling his submarine at sea and ending his own life by going down with his ship. He chooses, in this case, duty. His final act represents how he lived his life and what he saw as the stronger truths to himself, service life, his crew and the family he left behind. He and others in the novel quietly strive to remain true to what was important in their life, even at the end.

That commitment to duty, of being true to how one lives and lived, is reflected in the dignity of how one dies. There is no right answer to the question of what constitutes a dignified death, as no one else truly shares that final moment. Nor, can anyone provide the answer for you. Ultimately, each character in both the book and the movie must find individual dignity on their own terms. Some meet it with their spouse, others alone, some quietly, some with understated defiance, but all manage it with dignity. There are differences in characters and even individual endings between the novel and the movie, but they are minor. In fact the differences in some endings are complimentary as they make the point that various endings are possible and all can still be dignified.

The argument above is not for, or against, the current controversy of assisted suicide to alleviate pain and suffering at the end of life. The message of "On the Beach" is "to thine own self, be true." Read the book, watch the movie. Better yet do both and reflect on the real meaning of a good life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My only friend is darkness - Psalm 88, Dec 11 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: On the Beach (Paperback)
The basic story is that Albania sends a plane with another country's markings to bomb the U.S. and we retaliate. However this is not a pacifist (don't build bombs book). This is not a sci-fi book. It could be a speculative fiction or just speculative.

The story begins after the war is completed and radiation is now covering the world. Australia is the last place to be covered. You read how different people are about to meat their end, some with hope, others with reckless abandon. Still there are those like the US sub commander Dwight Towers is loyal to his country to the end by not allowing U.S. property in the end to fall into the hands of the Aussies.

The book was written in the Cold War Era environment. So many people think that it is about countries and war; others think this story is some anti war story. The reality is that it is a study of people meeting a sure end and how they react. Other readers will balk at the actions of the people in this story; yet when they meet the same situation we will see how realistic the characters are. Still others will balk at the predictability of the characters. Still this is how many people get over a crisis by being predictable. It is these characteristics that make this novel timeless. Someone else must think so or they would not have made an updated version for our not too distant future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended classic., May 9 2013
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This review is from: On the Beach (Paperback)
Very good book 40-50 years ago and still great. Back in the day many of us more than half expected a nuclear Armageddon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever...., March 22 2002
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
Poignant in its depiction of a selected few attempting to come to terms with the inevitable end of everything and everyone they have ever known and ever loved, On the Beach is a moving portrayal of those who have the courage to live those few, numbered days remaining to them as passionately and as fully as possible, even in the face of the end of the world. As they make plans that they know, within their souls, will never come to fruition as the world meets its doom, we become emotionally involved with Shute's characters, and we are reminded of how precious even such a mundane act as planting a garden can be. On the Beach makes you think, but it also makes you feel: this book is one of a small group of items in any medium that has ever made me cry. I can, with conviction, say On the Beach is the best book I have ever read, even being the bibliophile that I am. This book should be required reading for not only every student, but everyone. Period.
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1.0 out of 5 stars On the Beach: A very BORING book., Feb. 20 2002
By 
Charlene Grass (Walla Walla, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
Review: I rate On the beach 1 1/2 stars. On the Beach is one of the most boring and repetitious books I have ever read in my entire life. Each successive chapter is much like the one before it, in terms of mood and feeling. The overall feeling is one of such utter hopelessness and depression that it seemed to make me almost regret reading it in the first place. The only reason that allows me to be glad that I wasted my time reading this book, is that I now know never to read it again. If you are interested in reading about hopelessness, read Dante's Inferno, or Slaughter House 5, or The Green Mile, or the first book of The Stand. I promise you that those books will be far more interesting and meaningful than On The Beach. This book is about the end of the world, and yet there is very little symbolism of any kind, religious, philosophical or otherwise. On the whole, this book was very shallow and each chapter left me with little new to think about, much less discuss. On The Beach was meant to be a kind of anti-war warning, but other than that, it is about as puddle on a barely degraded roadway. There is some interesting characterization yes, but many of the characters seemed fairly dull despite how ever much time was spend on them. I would have to be paid 90 dollars to ever want to read this book again. In many ways this book struck me as more boring than The Complete Journals of Lewis and Clark. On The Beach should have been written as a short story, not a full size book. A short version of On the Beach would have spared me of its terrible multi-doses of boredom while still effectively conveying its plot and feeling.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the Worst of the Genre, June 9 2000
By 
Rod D. Martin (Grace Hall, Destin, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
I like this kind of book -- Alas, Babylon and Warday are among my favorite reading materials -- but I cannot abide Shute. His science is wrong, his people are wrong, everything's just wrong. He's so busy making a statement that he simply can't get *anything* right.
It's not the first time. In 1940, Shute wrote an apocalyptic book about the coming German bombing of London. As we all know, the Blitz was terrible; but in Shute's mind, the Blitz was literally going to be the end of the world. The only difference between that book and this is the addition of the prefix "atomic" to his favorite word "bombs".
Shute was a twit. Go read a good book. You won't find it here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Heartbreaking, April 14 2007
By 
BITTER (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Beach (Mass Market Paperback)
Next to "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "The Color Purple", I can't think of any other books that made me cry. I first saw "On The Beach" in movie form, and it had such an effect on me, I had to buy the book. The book was even better than the movie, but just like the movie, poignant, depressing and only now can I not think about a potential nuclear holocaust. The book is so simple and matter of fact about the last days of civilization. At the same time, you want a miracle to happen, but it doesn't. With all that is going on in North Korea and Iran right now, the novel has sort of a desperate poignancy.
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On the Beach
On the Beach by Nevil Shute (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 12 1983)
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