Sunday, September 2, 2012

REVIEW: One Second After by William R. Forstchen


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.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates
ISBN 0765317583 (ISBN13: 9780765317582)

About the Author
from Goodreads

William R. Forstchen (born 1950) is an American author who began publishing in 1983 with the novel Ice Prophet. He is a Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University with specializations in Military History, the American Civil War and the History of Technology.

Forstchen is the author of more than forty books, including the award winning We Look Like Men of War, a young adult novel about an African-American regiment that fought at the Battle of the Crater, which is based upon his doctoral dissertation, The 28th USCTs: Indiana’s African-Americans go to War, 1863-1865 and the "Lost Regiment" series which has been optioned by both Tom Cruise and M. Night Shyamalan.

Forstchen’s writing efforts have, in recent years, shifted towards historical fiction and non fiction. In 2002 he started the “Gettysburg” trilogy with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; the trilogy consists of Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant - The Final Victory. More recently, they have have published two works on the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and immediately after that attack Pearl Harbor, and Days of Infamy.

In March 2009, Forstchen’s latest work, One Second After, (Forge/St. Martin’s books) was released. Based upon several years of intensive research and interviews, it examines what might happen in a “typical” American town in the wake of an attack on the United States with “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) weapons. Similar in plotting to books such as On the Beach and Alas Babylon, One Second After, is set in a small college town in western North Carolina and is a cautionary tale of the collapse of social order in the wake of an EMP strike. The book has been optioned by Warner Bros. and currently is in development as a feature film. The book was cited on the floor of Congress and before the House Armed Services Committee by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R.-MD), chair of the House Committee tasked to evaluate EMP weapons, as a realistical portrayal of the potential damage rendered by an EMP attack on the continental United States.

Forstchen resides near Asheville, North Carolina with his daughter Meghan. His other interests include archaeology, and he has participated in several expeditions to Mongolia and Russia. He is a pilot and co owns an original 1943 Aeronca L-3B recon plane used in World War II.

Check out the author's website for lots of great information on EMPs
Check out what you can do to prepare for an EMP
Learn more about EMPs 
Fan the author on Goodreads

My Thoughts

This book follows life in a small North Carolina town after an EMP. In case you aren't familiar with the term, an EMP is an electromagnetic pulse, and there has been a lot of talk over the last few years about the threat to us from such an attack. It has been said that it could feasibly be caused by someone detonating a nuclear warhead high above the earth. Doing so could wipe out all electronics within the reach of the blast.

It's hard to comprehend the scope of destruction and the rippling effects this would have on our society. There would be no electricity, no running water, few cars (since most cars for the last 20 years have had some computerization).

Think about the medical implications. Pacemakers stop working in a split second. Without electricity,  the lack of refrigeration would cause many medications to go bad, respirators and incubators would turn off. Many thousands could die within minutes of an EMP. Many thousands more would die in the months following as medications ran out and medical treatment became unavailable.

Dysentery and food poisoning would kill many others without working plumbing and spoiling food supplies.

Martial law would take effect, with people executed on the spot for what previously may have been deemed minor offenses, but now could become life-threatening crimes against others with everyone clinging so precariously to life.

This book was a hot topic when it came out, even discussed within the walls of the Pentagon as a foreshadowing of a previously unrealized threat. With a foreword by Newt Gingrich, this book provides a very real depiction of what life would be like after an EMP, and underscores the fact that every American should be aware of and prepare for such a threat.

And the fact is that an EMP is not the only way that something like this could happen. The type of major solar flares that we are expected to see in the next year or so could also cause electrical failure, with some areas potentially down for years. They've said that if a solar flare took out a major area like New York City, it could be ten years before they could get back up and running again.

My final word: I enjoyed this story (whether or not "enjoyed" is the right word). Very realistic and timely, this book should be a wake up call to the world regarding a potential threat-- whether caused by man or nature. This story is hosted by very believable characters fighting to survive and overcome very real events. Everyone should read this book, and do what they can to prepare for any event, be it for an EMP, solar flares, hurricanes or floods. Allow this book to the be the hand on your shoulder that moves you to action. And I am happy to mention that this book is currently in development as a major motion picture! I'll be looking forward to the movie version!

Purchase One Second After:

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Rating: 8 out of 10

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