June 24, 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.”



  1. Tim Reed says:

    I recently read this book. It reminded me of why we are are storing food, etc. One thing that struck me was the storing of medicine. Even simple things like antibiotics, even aspirin, could be very difficult to obtain. Also, having a community you can rely on could save many lives including yours.
    I agree the “huge roving hoard of cannibal raiders” seemed a bit much, but it’s hard to predict what might happen when people get desperate enough.
    I’d recommend the book to others as it will make you think about your own preparedness.

    • Chris Ray says:

      It would be a good book as an introduction to preparedness since it comes from a well-known author.

  2. I thought it was poorly written as far as a story goes, but its virtue may be that it had a sober warning if things go down, you need to have food, defense, water, medical supplies and it would help to have like-minded friends.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I agree that the best thing about it is that it gets people thinking and could also get in the hands of people who don’t normally read this genre.

  3. Tim Reed says:

    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.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Excellent point, thank you, I’m going to edit the post and add it for those who might not read the comments. Thanks Tim

  4. Margaret Kiemele says:

    Interesting how “cannibalism” is the effect of this new terrible drug!!! I also think of the older novel “Lord of the Flies” – that truly portrayed the way even children can react and change under pressure.
    Matt.10:16 – Be wise as serpents – and harmless as doves – seems to be a very WISE Word for all of us.
    I am looking forward to the new TV series being advertised for the fall – Revolution – and it is based on an EMP attack – and the US – 25 years later.
    Wonder if it was created by a prepper? :)
    Blessings everyone

    • Chris Ray says:

      I am looking forward to the show Revolution and posted about it on facebook. I hope it last longer than Jericho did.

  5. Good Book, but one of the most Brutal books I’ve read.
    One of the biggest impacts One Second After made on me was the forming of a local order or governing body and how things played out after that. I would only hope that in some places that order could be maintained in such a situation. The stark reality of just such devastating consequences is what we all need to be prepared for, body, mind and spirit. Then hope it’s all for naught.
    I believe it painted a very realistic picture of how infection, death and dying will impact our lives, those that live, in an EMP or other major Grid Down scenario.
    While I think it is a book that needs to be read by many I also have to recommend that each reader prays and deals with the subject of fear very realistically in their lives. So, I would say, definitely for well balanced and mature audiences only.
    Fear Not!

    • Chris Ray says:

      I liked how they handled forming the local government and hope I never see anything like it. I liked it because it was something i could see happening and the way justice was carried out was brutal, but the way it was handled was understandable, at least to me.

      • Brutal indeed. It was understandable to me too, but it did prompt a lot of thought of how it could be handled differently. No solutions really though. History teaches us that the many of the ways things were dealt in this book were quite typical. It just portrays how delicate our society really is and how quickly it could decline without rule of law.

        Do you have any ideas how it could be handled differently?

        • Chris Ray says:

          Jim I do have a couple ideas, but none that are much more pleasant. I’m one of those that believes that people are basically evil and sometimes the only thing that keeps good people being good, is the rule of law and the consequences that come with breaking it.
          In a situation as dire as what takes place in this book, while brutal, may have been just.

          • I agree with Just. You seem to be right about folks being basically evil too. While I believe the Bible explain this truth, I wish it weren’t so. I also wish “What Would Jesus Do” would apply.

            I have been looking at what cultures like the Amish and other peaceful people would do in situations like presented in this book and basically have come to the conclusion, they would be annihilated but for the Grace of God.

            Oh that we humans were a Peaceful People! History tells us otherwise!

            According to World Christian Database study in 2006, an average of 171,000 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith every year.

            I personally believe we were created in the Image of God. So I have to ask myself, since we are prone to violence in a defensive situation, would God be so violent in the face of a situation of violence toward a loved one? And I must reconcile that even His Wrath is a manifestation of His Love. I’m thankful He created us with the power of Choice for it thereby that we have the ability to Love. Without choice, there is no love.

            Still an old Jesus Freak I guess… but a prepared one!

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