May 14, 2016

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Title:  One Second After
Author:  William R. Forstchen
Pages:  511
Genre:  Dystopian Thriller / Horror
Publisher:  TOR, 2009
Series:  John Matherson, Book 1
"...Suppose the old America, so wonderful, the country we so loved, suppose at four fifty P.M. eighteen days ago, it died.  It died from complacency, from blindness, from not being willing to face the harsh realities of the world.  Died from smug self-centeredness.  Suppose America died that day."
Synopsis:  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.
"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light..."
Review:  This book contains a Foreword by Newt Gingrich and an Afterword by Captain Bill Sanders, U.S. Navy.  Both of these writings made me realize that this novel is not really fiction.  It's a story about group of fictional characters set against the backdrop of what will happen to America if we are ever struck by an EMP weapon.  It is classified as a thriller and it is certainly that.  It is also horrific.

The novel opens just before the EMP hits and every chapter is entitled with the number of days it's been since.  I was shocked by how quickly everything just fell to pieces.  By Day 18, it was scary, but surely help would come soon.  By Day 63, things were becoming so grim that I wasn't sure I'd be able to stand reading the rest of the book if it got much worse.  By Day 365, I knew I could not and would not survive if we were attacked by this weapon in real life tomorrow.

This is one of the most important and most heartbreaking novels I've ever read.  Everyone should read it.  It should be required reading in school.  It's just that important for all of us to know what can and probably will happen.  We need to be prepared.  I wish I could say that we need to be better prepared, but the sad fact is....we aren't prepared at all.

Rating:  10 / 10

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