Get a free audiobook

Alas, Babylon

Written by: Pat Frank
Narrated by: Will Patton
Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly.

But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. Will Patton's narration paints this classic tale as an ominous picture of the terrible possibilites of the nuclear age.

©1959 Harry Hart Frank (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

  • Audie Award Winner, Fiction, 2012
"An enthralling and vivid story of the follies and failures of people, their courage and cruelty, their treachery and triumphs. Mr. Frank is a magnificent writer." ( Chicago Sunday Tribune)
"A warm, continuously interesting story of what can happen to a group of ordinary people in a perilous situation." ( New York Herald Tribune)
“Will Patton is a calm and steady narrator whose quiet intensity wraps around this post-apocalyptic saga...He reflects the tones of deference of women to men, nonwhites to whites, and children to adults. In a conversational tone, he quietly brings the characters and their relationships to life.” ( AudioFile)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Why you should read this book.

I was born in the 1960s, and we had a bomb shelter in the basement of our house. In all the years it's the only one I've ever seen, and for that I'm grateful.
There are a very few truly good Apocalypse stories in all the years I've been reading (my whole life).

In the mid 1970s I remember reading Neville Shute's On the Beach and being absolutely terrified, but also strangely drawn to read more. Over the years, Alas Babylon, Lucifer's Hammer as well as The Stand have been my favourite books about what happens in the event of something world-ending, and what can happen after ward. All the zombie flavoured post-apocalyptic books out now, don't deal with truly important things like how does a species really survive after ward? If there's a world left, how do you recover and live? If your bleeping smart phone, internet and every piece of electric equipment you owned went dead today, how would you survive? How would you find water, if not a store? If there were no cars, how would you get around (why does no one think of using horses???) How would you feed yourself and your family? How would you treat injuries and illnesses without modern medicine? Would you hide or would you seek out civilization again?

Artesian or gravity fed wells, the body's physical need for salt, how to properly fish, how to not rely on plastic this and Walmart raiding that, are all things that none of the newer stuff ever touches on. Animal husbandry is seldom even touched on, probably because the writers have nothing to draw upon. .

I know Alas Babylon is dated, although it is still timeless. Think of it as set in the 1960s. We didn't have computers, cell phones, microwaves, Big Box stores, Tylenol, or disposable every freaking thing. We in North America did worry about nuclear war. The Cuban Missille Crisis brought the Cold War very, very close to becoming a devastating reality, and it coloured some of us forever. We were that close to a 1000 year night.

Alas Babylon is responsible for the only part in the Bible I know. Remembered since I read it in the 1970s. It's a strangely hopeful book.
Will Patton does a wonderful job, he's one of my favourite Audible narrators. Of course he can't do a woman's voice very well, but I appreciate that he softens his voice when he's being a female character. I always enjoy books he narrates.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

such a good story.

I just loved this story !! The reader took a couple chapters to get used too. Some awkward pauses . Once I got used to it I was hooked . I love how he gave every character their own voice . The story itself even though old is so relatable . This could very well happen . Excellent Book highly recommend!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting

I often consider how many of us view war as remote. But I have been married to someone who has survived being a prisoner of war and tortured. The proximity to someone who constantly relives his capture and the witness of mass murders brings that kind of experience much closer. Makes it almost personal.

This was extremely helpful to listen as each issue of survival came to surface.
Well done.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My favourite post-apocalyptic book so far

“One Second After “ was my favourite post-apocalyptic book until I listened to Alas Babylon.
This one is a classic. It has all (and I mean) all that a prepper might wish for in a novel.
Even though it was written in 1959 it is a timeless classic.
Narrator was perfect for this book.
Very happy with my purchase.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, great narrator!

Will Patton is an excellent narrator, even when doing the women's voices, he manages to avoid making them one-dimensional.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story...

This is by far my favourite book. I own three Soft cover copies and now the digital version. I was concerned that the storyteller might affect the way I appreciated the box but no, it was excellent. It’s a great story and I’ll listen to it many more times.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Celeste Albers
  • 2017-05-24

Timeless

I am amazed that it took so long for me to find this book-thank you Audible! This is a true classic and not dated in the way that I feared. There are no explicit sex scenes or graphic violence and the characters know nothing of the modern technology that we take for granted. What we do get is an expertly crafted and narrated story of survival. The characters are well drawn and engaging. The plot is realistic in a way that many more recently written and acclaimed books fail to achieve.
I thoroughly enjoyed it-a new favorite!

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley
  • 2014-01-07

One apocalypse--hold the zombies

I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction in the last few years. Usually zombies show up, or vampires, or else it's like Mad Max where bands of yahoos roam the wasted countryside, bringing destruction and disorder. Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon" brings us a different scenario--for a dystopia, this is pretty utopian.

Randy Bragg is a lawyer in Fort Repose, Florida. He's kind of mooching along and drinking too much. Then the bombs fall. The world changes, and Randy changes with it as he finds himself responsible for leading a group of friends and family. Together, they work to survive in the Contaminated Zone. They're lucky--Fort Repose was too far away from the blast zones to get much radiation. With the help of a strong wind on The Day, as they call it, crops and water are spared. It's a matter of working with what they have left.

It's here that the book's original publication year (1959) becomes evident. Blacks and whites are suddenly desegregated--the significance of that may be a puzzle for younger readers, who may not know of awful stuff like "Colored" drinking fountains. They use the CONELRAD system for getting their information--horribly flawed, CONELRAD was replaced in 1963.

Perhaps strangest of all, people seem awfully polite. Fights are few, and the Fort Reposians immediately begin to help each other out in a town-picnic, chore-wheel kind of way. Drama is infrequent. Even the yahoos (who do eventually show up) don't use the f-word. I've heard of worse circumstances in a modern-day high school.

The main lessons of the book are still useful, however. One is, prepare for disaster--physically and mentally; don't expect your hair dryer to work! Another: just because the world changes, it doesn't mean you can't change yourself for the better. And, perhaps most important: stick together and show each other kindness; friends and family are all you really have, especially when the world is a mess.

I can imagine that this book was pretty scary for the Mad Men-era people who read it first. But as I listened to Will Patton's comfortable Carolina accent describing the fear and devastation, I realized why Pat Frank wrote this book--the Fort Repose survivors aren't scientists or world leaders. They're just regular small-town people, and they make it. You can, too.

Recommended for anyone interested in history--whether alternate or real.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • 2010-12-27

A griping read!

I grabbed this paperback out of my mother's bookshelf as a bored teenager on summer vacation and I've dragged it around with me for over 30 years! Though the characters are a bit simplistic, the story is riveting.

This story explores what happens when civilization as we know it ceases to exist. How do people survive when there are no safety nets? Decade’s pass and technology marches on, however the story of mankind’s struggle to survive remains pertinent. I actually used this book as a basis for a Sociology paper in college.

The narrator is very good and the story is every bit as good today as it was in 1959.

75 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen
  • 2011-01-01

Brilliant, classic, timely, characters to love

I hesitated to get this one because it was written in 1959...feared it might be dated, etc. NOT SO! It is amazingly timely and unlike many post-apocyliptic novels it leaves you with a feeling of hope and the desire to do all you can to save our planet and civilization at its best. Hauntingly beautiful descriptions and perfect plot design; I hated to stop the audio and finished it in one weekend. All Americans should know this novel!

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Noe
  • 2011-01-04

Outstanding story of post-apocalyse.

As a fan of post-apocalyptic stories and films, especially those created in the 1950s and 60s, this wonderful novel has long been one of my favorites. Although the story is set in the late 50s, one may view it as alternate history. What if on an alternate timeline, a silly mistake triggered a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia at the height of the Cold War? God knows we actually came very close to it a couple of times in the 60s. This excellent novel tells the tale of a small group of survivors trying to survive in rural Central Florida after the bombs fall. It is exciting, uplifting, and highly recommended. Actor Will Patton, who did a superb job on Kerouac's "The Road," is equally brilliant in this reading. He reads the story with warmth and conviction. An all-around marvelous audiobook, and I commend Audible for producing it.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JerryL
  • 2010-12-26

Excellent audiobook

It's difficult to believe this book was first published in 1959. The storyline is extremely well thought out, the characters are well defined and very believable.
The book is full of historically accurate facts that take the reader back to the days of what an earlier generation knew as "Mutually Assured Destruction." This audiobook is well worth the investment of your time and money.

89 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2010-12-23

Excellent 5-star listen

I read this story when it was first released and have replaced my copy several times. It has maintained it's relevancy over the years well. With Will Patton reading, it comes alive. Well worth the money and a continual pleasure in any form.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SomervilleWhereElse
  • 2010-12-25

Amazingly contemporary

This great work of science fiction was written in a different time and world situation, but it feels as fresh as if it was just created. So much of what happens after the nuclear disaster in the book is just what probably would happen now. I have enjoyed every word. Will Patton is the perfect narrator.

71 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2010-12-26

Great characters

I really enjoyed this book. I was completely caught up in the lives of the characters after the first few pages. Doesn't really seem dated at all. The narrator was perfect for the time, place and people. Definitely worth a listen.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Reporter
  • 2017-05-16

an old favorite now more relevant

I read this book as a youth. It captured my imagination. However now it captures it again. is it possible it is even more relevant?

4 people found this helpful