Customer Reviews for

One Second After

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

WOW what a ride this book took me on

I rarely cry over books, but I cried three times while reading this spectacular and frightening book. There are many post-apocalyptic books available (see my recommendations), but this one is a step above them. Plausible, well-written, good character development, it h...
I rarely cry over books, but I cried three times while reading this spectacular and frightening book. There are many post-apocalyptic books available (see my recommendations), but this one is a step above them. Plausible, well-written, good character development, it has all the elements of a must-read book.

posted by McMonkey on April 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

25 out of 101 people found this review helpful.

Sorry! This book just doesn't cut it.

I normally don't write negative reviews at all. I kinda subscribe to Thumper's line in Bambi - "If you can't say something nice, then don't say nothin' at all". For the most part I have an utter disdain of critics in all guises since I know what it takes to write a bo...
I normally don't write negative reviews at all. I kinda subscribe to Thumper's line in Bambi - "If you can't say something nice, then don't say nothin' at all". For the most part I have an utter disdain of critics in all guises since I know what it takes to write a book and it ain't easy, but I felt it imperative that I make an exception in this case.

Even though the science discussed in the book is very plausible, Mr. Forstchen has jumped on the Politico Band Wagon to Black PR Iranians, and North Koreans, with a veiled stab at the Chinese as the "Probable Cause" behind our possible, future debacle. Furthermore, I feel he underestimates how quickly society would self destruct if the infrastructure should collapse overnight. His story has people wandering around the country 6 months after the debacle = unreal.

However, his greatest disservice to his readers lies in his xenophobic character creation of a cannibalistic, cult leading protagonist.

In a time when all Hell is breaking loose with our American Economy, when American popularity is at an all time low around the globe, when tent cities are growing exponentially around this once great land of ours, Mr. Forstchen has written a work which promotes "Fear of those who are different", and then beats the same drum our political leaders are playing while using Christian rhetoric to do so.

What about a little tolerance for other ethnicities and creeds Mr. Forstchen??? Isn't it time we grew up and attempted to make friends with our neighbors??? After all, the World is a very small place nowadays and what happens half way across the Earth DOES affect all of us in one way or another.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Sorry for the critique, but it needed to be said.

Sincerely,

Ian "Doc" Shillington N.D. (Retired)

posted by Doc_Shillington on July 23, 2009

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  • Posted June 1, 2009

    Good plot, poor writing style

    This is an original, well thought out story that is thought provoking and causes the reader to stop and ask how their life would change in a similar circumstance. However, much of this is lost due to the author's folksy style of writing. There were far too many "darn good" this and "darn good" that passages in this book. Half way through this novel I was wishing Forstchen had sold the rights to his idea to someone better handled to bring this otherwise excellent plot to life. It was as if the author was writing to an audience that never left the 1950's.
    Overall I would still recommend the book simply for the plot and as a wake up call for those who believe the United States, as the most powerful nation in the world, could not be irreparably damage by a fairly simple attack.

    19 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Republican Apocalyptic Panic-Mongers Rejoice!

    What a disturbing disappointment!

    The topic that forms the crux of this book, an EMP terrorist attack on the US, is a very real and important threat that our country needs to face head-on. The author makes no bones about the fact the he has written this novel to wake us all up to this danger. He deserves credit for this, and I hope that more people learn about this threat, and call or write to their Congressmen and Senators about it.

    The positive review ends there, however. Right from the beginning, when you read the foreword by Newt Gingrich, it is obvious that this book is list of GOP talking points. You'll find references to the waste of time global warming is, to mocking those who seek peace and diplomacy over war, and an almost romantic side-story between man and gun. In short, if you vote Republican up and down the board, you'll love it. Everyone else is likely to be at least mildly offended by this book.

    Additionally the characters and the decisions they make are not realistic. I don't want to give much away, but it seems like most common people in the US, following the disaster that takes place in this novel, just sit around killing each other and waiting to die. I guess the author has made clear what he thinks about 90% of the people, and that is most certainly his prerogative. But it doesn't make for good reading.

    This book is very disturbing. I do not recommend it for anyone. I would recommend that people should educate themselves on EMP, take the precautions we should all take anyway in case of any disaster, call or write their representatives in Washington to make sure they do something about our risk, and spend your money on a book that will be a whole lot better.

    17 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dragging pace and two dimensional

    I love books like this, but I couldn't even finish this one. This book *should* have been fantastic with an interesting premise, and a large cast of characters, but the author got so mired in minutia that the book had the pacing of a glacier. The characters, too, were poorly developed caricatures and just plain boring as people. I much preferred Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Show, don't tell

    This unique and chillingly accurate plot is mired in poor writing. Do you enjoy sitting in meetings? Then this book is for you as most of the action is related through various meetings and gatherings to discuss the affects of an EMP burst over the United States. While I found the premise intriguing, the main character misses most of the action, while recovering from a fever, or he relates the action after the fact, as if giving a briefing. The story could have been touching, haunting, down right thrilling, but never quite gets there. In the words of my old English teacher, "Show me the story, don't tell me the story."

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    zzzzzzzzz

    Poorly written. Poorly edited. Preachy. Boring. I didn't care about any of the characters or whether they lived or died. Good concept, poorly executed.

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Poorly written

    I just couldn't get into this book. I rarely purchase a book without making a real effort at finishing it, but this one really left me wishing for more. While I enjoy the post apocalyptic genre in general and specifically the somewhat original premise of this book I could not get past the poor writing style. In particular, how clicheish the protagonists interactions with his daughters and others were.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    Nothing New Here

    If you've seen an episode of Jericho, you've pretty much read this book. While the story is ok, and the book is written decently, it just doesn't break any new ground in the post-apocalyptic world. Small town, trying to survive on it's own after a devastating event, yada, yada.

    If you're new to the genre, you may enjoy this novel. However, if you've read other (in my opinion better) books like Lucifer's Hammer, or Steven King's The Stand, you won't find anything new in this book. The entire time I was reading it, I could help find numerous comparisions to the TV show Jericho: same basic plot, same problems. I found myself just trying to finish it so I could move on to something else.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Worthwhile, but...

    Like most SHTF fiction, One Second After has a valuable lesson to offer. Unlike most others, it confines itself to that one message. You won't find a lot of 'how-to', survival tips, or guide information. That purity has it's own reward though, as it allows the author to focus more precisely. A very quick read, engrossing and enjoyable. At ten dollars, it's about ten dollars more expensive than most SHTF fiction, but still not bad all told. My only real complaint with it was purely grammatical: Please, please, Mr Forstchen, it's "would HAVE" or "should HAVE"; not "would of"...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Worth while read. However, the author seems to be fascinated wit

    Worth while read. However, the author seems to be fascinated with smoking and right wing politics. Since the story takes place in the South I suspect he is still trying to win the Civil War for the South. In addition, his main character is far too much a walks on water type guy. As a retired military officer I only remember one officer of the caliber of his main character. Beyond the character development the jury is very much still out as to whether a EMP would cause the level of devastation he describes. I don't question would have some outages just as we have now after a bad storm but the current consensus seems to be that equipment that is shielded by metallic housings would probably not be damaged to the degree described in this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2012

    Good idea, but not well written or believable. The main charact

    Good idea, but not well written or believable. The main character and his cohorts appear to be a very self-righteous group of ex-military who delegate themselves as judge, jury and executioner in an apocalyptic America. While the idea behind the story is a pretty good one, the exploits of the main characters are just not believable at all. I am a huge fan of this genre, and this was one of my least favorite books thus far. It's probably a great read for guys who have a hero complex and can envision themselves saving the world in times of trouble. One reviewer talks about this being a book for Republicans, obviously not knowing what one is. I am a Republican and this thought this novel was a piece of crap.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    I wanted to like this book but...

    I wanted to like this book but I found it to be disappointing and depressing. The idea of an EMP is terrifying but I would hope that, in real life, we would handle things better than this book implies.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    A wet dream.

    A wet dream for privilaged white men. Come on! Leave the politics in your pants.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Excellent Book

    Couldn't put this book down. I loved the struggle and the characters. If you like books that keep you thinking weeks after you finish reading it, then this is for you.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Just OK

    As has been mentioned in other reviews this story was a good idea but written by the wrong author. I have not read any of William Forstchen's historical works but perhaps that is where his writing skill lies. The book has its moments but the interpersonnel tragedy that he tries to use to pull on your heart strings just comes across as akward. The book does end well, however. I just think he gets more caught up in making a point than telling a good story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2010

    CONCEPT, VERY GOOD.....WRITING STYLE, NOT SO MUCH

    Concept.......frightening but very interesting

    Writing style.....amateurish, who the heck uses the word "thus"

    Characters....people are starving and killing each other and the main character John has sexual thoughts about another characters.....give me a break, and he's supposed to be the hero

    This will definitely be a movie in the next couple of years.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Wonderful Concept, Excruciating Read

    I really wanted this to be the next Lucifer's Hammer, and had high hopes when I started reading. I had just finished "Alas, Babylon", and was looking forward to an updated variation on the nuclear holocaust theme with modern situations, and this seemed to fit the bill.

    The editing and writing style is so poor that it kept kicking me out of the story to mentally correct the grammar. The repeated use of 'helluva' was annoying, and I lost count of how many times I read "could of", "should of", "might of", etc.

    I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and guess he was trying to affect a Carolina dialect of some sort, but even I can't convince myself of it. We've lost the language somewhere along the way.

    This was an "A+" topic that was handled at a "C" level freshman comp course.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2014

    I wanted to, but cannot recommend this book---The situation of t

    I wanted to, but cannot recommend this book---The situation of the town and consequence of the attack was compelling, but storyline afterwards is disappointing.  

    Most readers place themselves into the role of the main character of a novel and it would be unthinkable to me (or to most I know) to not “try” and find out what happened to cause the attack.  No one made any effort other than just listen to the radio and the ambiguities in the nature of the attack and by whom was very weak. 

    The majority of the story seemed like “filler” material in anticipation of something to occur, but it never happened.  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    I dont mind the politics.I don't mind the military aspect of the

    I dont mind the politics.I don't mind the military aspect of the novel.What bothers me and I had to stop reading
    is the beginning.Five minutes after the dad starts to think maybe something is
     wrong because the cars are stopped on the highway...with no other clues except he hadn t seen a plane in what..
    the minute hed been thinking of it..he immediately thought of 9-11.If the writer had let a little more happen and time 
    pass before the dad thought of 9-11 I would have kept reading.I would have stayed interested
    .But this was like telling the punchline before the joke.It was stupid and ruined the whole thing for me.
    Of course it would end up reminding everyone and the reader of 9-11.Was it necessary to spell it
     out before there was even cause to suspect a 9-11 like incident?It frustrated me.
    So i know the rest of the book will be full of transparent and ridiculous plat movers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Where was this author's editor?

    Too many grammatical errors to count! Where was this author's editor? This book could have done its job in half the pages. Oh well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Even though this has a plot element rarely seen (at the time) ab

    Even though this has a plot element rarely seen (at the time) about an EMP shutting everything down. I can't help but dislike the entire novel because of a lot of things that just don't flow or mesh together at all.
    For a self retired leader of an armed forces regiment the main character really has no gumption or tru motivation. He sits far off on the sidelines practically every page and only does things because he finds himself the "unwilling" person being voted into the position by the remaining group of "those in charge" simply because he is a professor of history and the retired field commander. Which, the character constantly points out was mostly just sitting in a Bradley far back behind enemy lines, which makes me wonder how somebody who talks about himself being so detached from everything could even remotely be a good choice of a leader in that time of war?
    His youngest daughter was obviously written in just to be that "knowing death" that is coming along. And frankly, the guy does NOTHING really at all in order to save her. He goes and grabs some candy bars and some extra bottles of insulin. That's it? Why not strip one of your still running vehicles down and make a generator in order to give yourself some ice making ability, or refrigeration in order to get your daughter a better chance? It is touched upon at the start, heavily thrown down the readers throat when the lights go out, then just gets thrown in to have her die. As I read this book I didn't really feel sorry at all for this dying child because the father just didn't seem to be trying hard enough at all to ensure her ability to live.
    He seems to put the entire thing about her on the back burner until it comes time for her to die an then is all "Oh why didn't I do more?" You could've stripped the Edsel down and made a power generator to save your daughter's insulin by making ice. That's the first thing that should have been done. But oh no, the Edsel was all 'power' in a way because he had a moving vehicle!
    Then the unbelievable of course mandatory cannibalistic biker gang bearing doom upon the town every mile they get closer. Which we only learn a little bit about and then we meet the leader for all of two pages an then he is hung an lots of others are shot an thrown off a bridge an blah blah. And of course the 'action/battle/war' scenes can't be really written about because our main character was of course "knocked out" so we only get to see the "after math" which really wasn't all that descriptive. et he's seen as the 'hero' because he's a history professor an knows how to do things.
    An as if to add to his ego the biker leader of course knows about the trap an knows the reference of the exact battle yet still somehow fell for it. All in all this novel was a horrible story cover to cover that barely touches on what it'd feel like or be like to be in a position where the "power goes out" and things. And of course exactly 365 days later; bah, the Army shows up and things. This novel was nothing short of boring. Tons of things are repeated and talked about several times, which makes it possible to skip a few pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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