Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review ~ One Second After by William R. Forstchen

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.

As a nation, we have begun to take so much for granted. Things that make our lives easier. We don't even think about what would happen if one day we no longer could hop in our vehicles, go to the store for either food, clothing, basic necessities, or to a movie....we just get in and go. But what if one day, everything just stopped working. No cars, no phones, no televisions or radios........everything just stops working. What if you could not get your life-saving medication? What if your neighbors wanted to kill you for your food and belongings? What would you do to protect your family? 

In One Second After, William R. Forstchen has given us a terrifying glimpse at this very real future possibility and let me tell you, it is very frightening. In one second, the United States basically stops after being attacked by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon. EMP occurs when a nuclear bomb is detonated above the atmosphere, causing every single thing in its range containing anything electronic to fail. Cars, planes, pacemakers, electricity, you name it, it's gone forever. The country is immediately plunged into the dark ages, the population far too large to be supported by 18th century technology. Different parts of the country fare better or worse depending on their locations to urban areas. Gangs roam the land, bringing death and destruction to any remaining survivors.

The author concentrates on the impact on one man who struggles to save his family and his small town after America loses a war that sends our nation back to the Dark Ages. The struggles of rationing food, taking care of the sick with the dwindling medical supplies and training the young to protect their town is described in such a way, the reader is left wondering "what would I do in that situation?"

Make sure that you have nothing pressing to do before reading this book, because once you start, you will not want to put it down. After you read it, you will start to really look at the world around you and realize how much we depend on the things we take for granted. Am I scared....Hell yes! This book will definitely make you want to prepare for this sobering and frightening possibility. Oh, and have a box of tissues nearby as you read chapter is a definite a tear-jerker. 

"It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when."

My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

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.

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