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3.00043763676149 out of 53.00043763676149 out of 53.00043763676149 out of 53.00043763676149 out of 53.00043763676149 out of 5 3.00 (9,140 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William R. Forstchen Narrator: Joe Barrett Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The One Second After Series Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455192007
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In a world bound to modern chains we call technology; the audiobook One Second After is a reminder that if we are not careful, history is destined to repeat itself. When a country ignores the threats aimed at its heart, the wrong people with the right weapon are a swift and brutal reminder of our vulnerability as a nation.

Retired Army Colonel John Matherson returned to his rural North Carolina hometown when his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now a respected college professor, he is the father of two children. Narrated through his eyes the story takes us through what happens if the worst case scenario becomes reality. When the telephone communication system fails, and all electrically powered items suddenly stop working; it is quickly apparent that the townspeople are not prepared for life as it was in centuries past.

The former colonel suspects the weapon used was an electromagnetic pulse or EMP and his thoughts go quickly to his insulin-dependent daughter. Food supplies dwindle quickly with no refrigeration, those interred in nursing homes and needing refrigerated medicines and medical equipment such as John's father are suffering; and no one is answering who or how this happened.

Through the use of older technology that is not affected by the black-out the citizens slowly begin to discover how to survive in this new world. However, tragedy strikes often and without remorse. Skills that were once part of our heritage are missing such as the growing of crops. If the people cannot feed themselves they will starve or turn to cannibalism. John Matherson finds himself more involved with the other citizens to find ways to survive and go on in this new era.

While a work of fiction, the book has been used as an example of what our future could become if we are not careful. Author William R. Forstchen wrote his first novel in 1983, and has now penned over 40 books. A graduate of Purdue University, he is a Professor of History with specialties in technology and military history. One Second After spent several weeks on the New York Times best seller list and is quite a popular audiobook here at Audio Book Store.

In a small North Carolina town, one man struggles to save his family after America loses a war that will send it back to the Dark Ages.

Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based on a real weapon—the electromagnetic pulse (EMP)—which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The only thing more terrifying than this masterfully crafted story is the possibility of it actually happening—and not a damn thing being done to protect us.”

    W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV, New York Times bestselling authors

  • “Civilization slides into the abyss of a new dark age in this horrifying apocalyptic novel.”

    Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Forstchen’s work has flair and power.”

    Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Good storytelling consists very simply of creating characters so believable that the reader forms a deep bond…Shortly after the first page, I had been reeled in hook, line, and, sinker.”

    David Hagberg, author of Dance with the Dragon

  • “[An] entertaining apocalyptic thriller…fans of such classics as Alas, Babylon and On the Beach will have a good time as Forstchen tackles the obvious and some not-so-obvious questions the apocalypse tends to raise.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “What would happen in the U.S. in the event of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack? The answer: Everything electronic—EVERYTHING—would be fried. That’s exactly what happens in this story, which centers on Colonel John Matherson, U.S. Army, retired, now a professor of history in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The character’s powers of ingenuity are challenged to the limit as they realize just how fragile the barrier between civilization and barbarism is. Joe Barrett’s baritone is steady and sometimes a bit gravelly, and his serious tone suits these events well. His vocal characterizations are not as good as his narrative, but they do not distract from the story overall.”

    AudioFile

  • “Forstchen’s well-crafted and compelling story…reminds us of how helpless we’d be without modern technology—a chilling thought, as EMP is a real threat to the industrialized world. Elegantly narrated by Joe Barrett; a haunting, essential listen.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Retired Army colonel and college teacher John Matherson’s stoic determination that his family survive the chaos is convincingly communicated through Barrett’s deep, brooding tones…Most compelling are his realistic enactments of Matherson’s deterioration from infection…A compelling, cautionary tale.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda | 10/29/2016

    " Excellent book" I'm new to audiobooks but this is a great way to get the story , looking forward to the next book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abigail Smith | 2/18/2014

    " This book was enlightening and scary.......it really did give me bad dreams. I am also rethinking my emergency plans. I do think it is a good read and I did get very emotionally involved in the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terra | 2/14/2014

    " 3.5 stars. This was a disturbing look at what would happen if Americans were hit by an EMP and forced without warning to survive on what they could scrounge together for themselves when there is no one left to send help. The story was thought provoking and frightening in the stark reality of how ill prepared we are in general. My only complaint - and why it didn't get a full 4 stars from me - is that too much of the book is people making speeches to each other rather than the story unfolding. Sometimes it worked but other times I'd rather have seen the story shown to me leaving me to come to my own conclusions about "what it means". Nothing worse than an author who has a message that has to be shoved down a throat, I say! Still, a very good read that I recommend every American read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaki Wojan | 2/8/2014

    " One of those books that you really wish was better written, and curse the same editors. The premise is very interesting and the message of the book is very important. But so poorly executed that it really detracts from the books purpose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mona | 2/5/2014

    " An all true depiction of what could happen if we are struck by en EMP. Got me really thinking about how prepared we are. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeffrey Blake | 1/28/2014

    " Horrible book dealing with the aftermath of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack on the US. Jingoistic flat characters and entire story told through poorly written dialogue. This is a rough draft in search of an editor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Austin | 1/20/2014

    " Awesome!!! One of the best survival fiction novels I've ever read. This one really gets you thinking about what could happen and how devastating an EMP could be to all of us. Great characters, great storyline, great book all around. READ IT!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deanna Fugate | 1/20/2014

    " Excellent book!!! I was upset that the little girl didn't survive but still found this book to be awesome. I wanted to stock up my food supplies afterwards,though. Forstchen describes human behaviors perfectly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 1/19/2014

    " If you want to know what life after an EMP would be like, read this book. This book paints an extremely vivid image of this type of attack, and the consequences it would have on our society. The problem is that this could happen exactly as laid out in this book - very plausible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda Rogers | 1/9/2014

    " Very thought provoking, especially given that this could be a reality. Makes you think the Doomsday Preppers aren't so crazy after all! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ted | 1/4/2014

    " This is a great book. Very realistic account on what might happen in the future. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William Cox | 12/24/2013

    " If you need one more reason to avoid a good night's sleep, read this book. Although the technology and possibility behind the premise is backed up by supposed experts, the way people react seems a bit more dire than I believe it would be in reality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deidra Rezzarday | 11/5/2013

    " Great story, very bad, sometimes terrible, writing. The writer uses "of" instead of "have", people call each other by their first names 3 or 4 times in a single conversation, ect......... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie Traverse | 10/26/2013

    " Disturbing. Consider, imagine, prepare . . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda Rome | 9/17/2013

    " Very scary to think what would happen with no computers and no electricity (for years!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 9/14/2013

    " "Alas Babylon" meets "The Road". A well thought out scenario, even if the writing is a bit clunky in places, especially the romance between the main character and a nurse who happens to be in town when disaster strikes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mattie Rae Wilhelmsen | 7/20/2013

    " Interesting storyline, but disappointed with all the foul language. Has some strong language. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christene | 5/16/2013

    " Pretty sobering. Had more language than I liked, but found it worth reading and thinking about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jo | 3/15/2013

    " I don't think I have ever read a book that scared me so much. I do not like 'horror' in my reading. I read to escape the horrors of the world.A friend recommended this book and I am glad that I read it. Yes the subject matter is scary but it makes you think, and lets face it it could happen. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin Bird | 3/15/2013

    " I rated this three stars primarily for the concept. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 S | 10/22/2012

    " Wow, what an awesome read. This books really makes each of us think what we would do if faced with the same catastrophe. Would we stand strong or fall like so many in this book did. This book makes us look inward at the person we are and want to be. Loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenni | 7/21/2012

    " 4.5 starts. although a work of fiction, great food for thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Granny | 5/6/2012

    " This book absolutely scared the crap out of me. It is one of those sci-fi books that makes you think, "Yeah, this could happen." The suspense builds slowly in the beginning, like Hitchcock's best films. Better keep a night light on after reading this -- if we still have electricity! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louanne Nicely | 3/8/2012

    " A very sobering read. I just hope the bad guys don't have a copy! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Otho Baker | 1/21/2012

    " Scary premise of an EMP blast disabling electronic devices in the US, with the story focusing on a father with two daughters in small town Americana. Great read. If you like the new show Revolution you MUST read this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy Starkey | 1/11/2012

    " This book is awesome. It will definitely make you think about what if, and make you want to start stock piling food :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 11/19/2011

    " Just okay. I liked the idea behind the book, but it feel short. The author really failed to develop the characters and I honestly didn't care about the ones who ended up dead. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alicia Leppert | 10/4/2011

    " Couldn't finish. Boring, too much language. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 8/2/2011

    " Temanya bagus banget, bagus dalam pengertian berhasil bikin ngeri ngebayangin klo bener-bener kita alami. Hanya saja cara penyajiannya entah gimana kurang enak dibaca. At least buat saya. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Inveterate Thorn | 6/20/2011

    " Scariest post apocalyptic fiction I have ever read. Forstchen basically took the science of what could happen after an EMP/Grid Down scenario, and fictionalized it like some sort of modern day Cassandra. A must read for anyone interested in self reliance and Prepping! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amber | 5/20/2011

    " Thought-provoking in that "what the hell am I supposed to do about this very possible threat?" kinda way. I'm glad I read it because it helped me realize our total dependence on technology that we take for granted, but depressing and morbid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianne | 5/20/2011

    " This book has traumatized me....in a good way. EMP are controversial, but it made me stop and think, "What If". I'm a believer in food storage and being prepared and this book just enforces that belief. You never know what the future holds for our world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 5/17/2011

    " This book is a must read for everyone in the US. It talks of what may be coming soon and what it will take to survive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sisyphus | 5/17/2011

    " Time to build up the armory, devise an evacuation plan, lay in emergency supplies, get camping/survival equipment, ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Talan | 5/16/2011

    " This is a great book set in a post apocalyptic world after a nuke strikes America and plunges everyone in to figurative darkness.I would recommend this to everyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 5/15/2011

    " Wow. I can't stop thinking about this story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 5/12/2011

    " I haven't read a story this terrifying since The Road. My God. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alix | 5/9/2011

    " Awesome book! Loved every minute of it. Makes you think a lot about what could happen and how we rely on technology so much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 5/9/2011

    " Everyone should read this book! It was a well written work of fiction, but more importantly, it walks you through what would happen in the event of an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse). Make sure to read the experts comments in the forward and at the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandon | 5/8/2011

    " Very interesting book, can get you thinking about a whole lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 5/7/2011

    " This is the scariest book I have ever read. However, it was one I couldn't put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 5/7/2011

    " Good. Scary - what would happen if all electronic devises were fried? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenna | 5/5/2011

    " I like a really good post-apocalyptic novel. This was not one. The story was lame. The characters were lame. The writing was terrible. It seemed like the author took an essay and put various quotation marks in it and turned it into really boring dialogue. So, so bad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 5/4/2011

    " great book but scary as hell because it seems like it could happen so easily. the book is so realistic not like other post apocolyptic books where technology stops working and society has to learn to live without all of our devices. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peteralee1 | 5/4/2011

    " A rather frightening what-could-be. An EMP strikes the US, and a small North Carolina town must try and survive the aftermath of refugees and residents who know nothing but the convenience of modern American life. "

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About the Author

William R. Forstchen has a PhD from Purdue University with specializations in military history and the history of technology. A faculty fellow and professor of history at Montreat College, he has authored over forty books, including the award-winning young adult novel We Look like Men of War. Forstchen coauthored the New York Times bestselling Gettysburg and has written numerous short stories and articles about military history and military technology. He resides near Asheville, North Carolina, with his daughter and their dogs.

About the Narrator

Joe Barrett has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials. He has earned eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. He has narrated books by such authors as Trevanian, Brian Freeman, Don Winslow, and James W. Huston.