December 18, 2017

Book Review: One Second After

One Second After


Here is a book that deals with a topic many of us will be familiar with; EMP. This book made it into the mainstream and I have even heard rumors of a movie deal.

Book description, from Amazon:

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.


My Take:

Be forewarned, there are a few spoilers in this review. I purchased and read the book shortly after its release three years ago. I remember it, but could have a few things a little off. If I do, please let me know and I’ll make a correction.

This book brings to light a topic that I don’t think most Americans are aware of or understand the dangers of. This book shows the impact of the EMP on one man and his family and his city and the hard choices that must be made. They are, in large part, cut off from the rest of the country and must fend for themselves, soon running low on food and medicine. There are a few examples of lawlessness and the difficult choices that must be made when the systems we have come to rely on to feed us and keep us safe are no longer there.

I think the book does a good job showing the dangers of being unprepared. In fact, in one part, the main character makes a comment on wishing he had even one bag of rice. Yet in another part, they put down the “survivalists” and their food stores in the mountains.

The book does a pretty good job overall in showing how a society might react to an EMP. It might go a bit far in the huge roving hoard of cannibal raiders. If there is an event like this, there could be pockets of raiders but having a huge group of them ravaging entire cities seems a bit too much to me.

This wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down. In fact I read it over the course of six months. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. I did, it just did not draw me in and keep my attention. As I mentioned, it does a good job of showing the dangers of being unprepared at any level and also of how a community must come together to face an event of this magnitude.

I give One Second After three stars.

A note that I forgot to add that Tim made in the comment section: “Forgot to add a warning to potential readers: there is some crude language and multiple portrayals of very gruesome images. If this book were to be accurately made into a movie, it would probably be rated R, primarily for the violence.”