Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review - "One Second After"

Since my last book review, I've probably read more than 3 dozen books. They aren't reviewed up here, though one or two are worth the work, but this one has absolutely galvanized me to ensure I tell everyone about it. Written by William Forstchen, it is my first reading of his work, though I have heard he's a good writer.

I heard about it on Nealz Nuze and even though Neal's unimitigated disdain for women drives me insane, I did like the book review so I immediately ordered it from Amazon.

When it came I pulled it from the box of books first and devoured it in one day and night of little sleep. I just couldn't stop.

Right on the cover it says the Foreward is by Newt Gingrich, and I'll admit that is quite off-putting for many, including myself, but trust me when I say that it isn't at all what you might expect from him.

So, what is it about? Wow, I can barely describe what it is about because it is about so many things tied beautifully together. If you go by the bookflap, it is about the after-effects of an EMP burst by unknown enemies, perhaps even terrorists, over the United States. EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse), for those who may not know, is often associated with an airburst of a nuclear weapon where radiation is the real problem.

As noted in the book, however, EMP is a powerful weapon in itself and the definitive report on it was unfortunately submitted for our leaders' consideration on the same day the 9/11/01 report was, thus ensuring it was never considered. EMP remains our most vulnerable and easily exploited gap in our freedom and way of life.

Without creating a bunch of spoilers for the book, a single EMP is launched and explodes about 100 miles above the United States, creating an instantaneous overload in any electrical circuit and immediately overheating and destroying any chip not shielded within it's line of sight, which is almost the entire North American Continent at that height. It doesn't create radiation that hurts, doesn't damage buildings or the environment. Everything simply stops and won't start again.

A retired Colonel and now history professor who lives with his 2 daughters in a small western North Carolina town are the main characters and it is about the first year after the EMP.

It is a profoundly moving book and I will say that if you don't cry at least twice in this book, you may not actually have a heart. It is utterly realistic, widely scoped while keeping true to the family at the center, amazingly beautiful and profoundly sad. It will become, I have no doubt whatsoever, a classic like Earth Abides, The Time Machine and Brave New World.

Now, this isn't a Doomer book in any way, shape or form. Not at all. It isn't a military book with loads of hard to imagine movements or people. It isn't a survivalist book where the protagonist seems to know everything and never gets tired. It isn't filled with bad science or incorrect mechanics. What it is: A story of a very realistic family, in a very realistic small town in a very realistic but unfortunate situation.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. If I could afford it, I would buy hundreds of them and hand them out to people. Take stock of the person you are before you start this book and then again after finishing. If you are at all like me (and many others who have now read it) you'll find that you are no longer the person that started the book. You'll hug your family a bit more, pet your dog with more love, look at our day to day life with more wonder and have a new lease on a brand new life.


TheMartianChick said...

I swore that I wasn't going to buy any new books in my attempts to be morefrugal... I just may need to break that vow if I can't find it in my public library.

Milah said...

Wow! I'm going to Amazon.;D Thanks for recommending!

Christy said...

I have to get this book. It sounds great. I've read a few others about EMP that I've really enjoyed.

ATW said...

Thanks for the reccomendation. I was looking for a book that was out of my norm and I will give this one a try. I will be in need of some interesting reads for sometime now.

Kenneth Moore said...


I tagged you in an Earth Month meme to improve your environmental friendliness (with prizes!).

Ruralrose said...

This looks like my kind of read! Peace

Anonymous said...

Wow. This book is going right on my list for this weekend's library trip. Thanks for the recommendation, I bet I'll go through it in a single day sitting on my porch this weekend :-)


I am buying this book tomorrow and will take it up to the hospital to read to my nephew.

In answer to your question on my blog regarding the onions...all onions wild or domestic are edible. I am not sure what kind these are but they develope a bud on top and it splits open into tiny onions which also form buds. Just like reguar onions they develop a head and inside the head is a pearl onion.