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Publisher's Summary

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 upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic 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.

This book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future and our end.

©2009 William R. Forstchen (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

"[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 listeners say about One Second After

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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Not bad

Not bad. not my favorite.Maybe not as realistic as I would have liked. We will see what the next book has to offer.

2 people found this helpful

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Definitely a page Turner!

it was a great book, kept my attention. well researched. pretty good narrator. heart warming and gut wrenching moment. I highly reccomend!

1 person found this helpful

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Good first book

This was a good series, not my favourite TEOTWAWKI series, but certainly not the worst either. If you like this genre, this is probably one of the best series of books, though to me it fell flat the longer the story went on.
I do like this narrator, and the book kept my interest long enough to listen to the whole trilogy.
Just be aware, these books that are 2 or 3 pieces are never stand-alones, and if you like one book you sort of have to get the whole series.

1 person found this helpful

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Scarily realistic! A must read!!

I devour all types of apocalyptic literature, several books per month, this one was by far the most realistic and haunting of them all. Fantastically written and researched! Does not romanticize the apocalypse at all! And thankfully the main character doesn’t constantly do the wrong thing like most other books of this nature. A must read!

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misguided attempt to sow conservative mindset

The story is nothing new, apocalypse humans behaving poorly. Old school way is the best way, guns, misogyny and hippies. The performance is good, but if your looking for new thoughts or an entertaining book, this isn’t it.

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Apocalyptic dystopia

It was a good story told from the perspective of the center of the action. Realistic in its prediction of an aftermath of the grid collapse. near the end it felt rushed. as though the author was in a hurry to wrap things up. the last few chapters can best be defined as a montage of a story and I wish it haddn't glazed over the final bit. Well worth listening.

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Bad story

The story is just a circle jerk for how great the American military is and how without them the world would fall apart. The performer is excellent though.

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Eye opening

I always thought I'd survive without question in a societal meltdown. This book has caused me to rethink that position. I realize now it would MUCH harder than I thought. A very thorough piece of reading. Seems a bit rushed in the last 25% of the book.

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Narration is terrible

I could not get past the first chapter. The narrator was using a different overly fake voice for each character and his interpretation of a 12 year old girl was so bad I quit listening when I heard it.
The story might be good, but I won't know if I can't get past the bad narration.

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very moving and realistic

I have read hundreds of business and self help, but very few for entertainment. This book started me searching for more like it but after reading a few more this is still the best.

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  • Tyson Stewart
  • 2020-01-23

The forward is by Newt Gingrich

That should tell you all you need to know. If your response to that is YAY I LOVE THAT GUY AND EVERYTHING HE STANDS FOR ‘MERICUH! then the book will probably delight you.

If, on the other hand, you don’t think much of Newt and his party, then I recommend passing on this. Another critical review said this was a lecture wrapped in a poor attempt at a story. Yep. There are some interesting bits, but it’s mostly finger-wagging. The author is attempting to shame us as a society for not spending even more money on defense than we already do as well as not actively preparing to live in a world suddenly without power, electronics, and communication. The trouble is there are many more pressing and likely catastrophes than this one, and worrying about them is a terrible way to live.

I like most post-apocalyptic fiction for the clever survivalism and rebuilding of society, even as a microcosm. They can be cautionary tales too if that’s what the author wants, but the story should come first. It didn’t here.

104 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony Cunningham
  • 2019-09-28

Embarrassing army porn

Wooden dialogue, paragraph after paragraph of tedious descriptions of some such gun or explosive or whatever, and a never ending barrage of "oo rah semper fi soldiers are saints must salute the flag" silliness.

tedious treatment of an interesting premise

51 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-04-16

Phenomenal

Amazing narration, terrifyingly realistic story, this book is not for the faint of heart or stomach.

49 people found this helpful

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  • J. Donelson
  • 2019-03-23

Couldn’t stop even if I wanted to

As a former nuclear power sailor, I’m familiar with the Compton effect and emp. This is a thought provoking venture into what would happen to our communities were we to be hit with an emp. It’s an emotional roller coaster, and an all too real threat. It will make you want to stockpile food, medicine, fuel, guns, ammunition, and every pre-80s era vehicle you can get your hands on.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Gardner
  • 2019-04-13

Eye Opening

Like many of the characters of this book, I never thought of the possibility of a civilization ending event, such as an EMP. Like the fictional citizens of Black Mountain, NC, I didn’t believe that this was even a plausible idea, let alone remotely possible. But, unlike those fictional men, women and children I grew to love and admire, crying at births and deaths and celebrating at the discovery of food, I have been awakened to the possibility of life as I know it coming to an end.

As a result of this fictional, but all too real novel, I have began to prepare myself and my family for the possibility of any event that would put us at risk, particularly the events that threaten to end life as I know it.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-07-23

Get on with it already!!

Oh man, well, where do I start and not provide any spoilers... The voice acting is OK at best, not the voice actor himself but the way the directing made the main character sound like he is Rambo but in fact he's more of a Military pencil pusher, Doesn't quite go with the depiction of the character. And OMG!!! how long does it take a book to get to the main topic at hand, Holy cow!! Yes I get it, it is fiction and the author can do whatever they want, but man, we are talking about a post apocalyptic scenario, the author chews on this story like it is freaking bubble gum, You are in the book for quite sometime before the main plate is served and even then!!! I am sorry for all my rambling, I was very disappointed by this book. So many other books out there of this same subject are so much better formatted, they put you in the action right away and explain things along the way. This book is like watching some kind of twisted southern soup opera where every dramatic detail is explained and the action is just a by-product of that drama, boring!!!!

28 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine McQueen
  • 2020-02-01

Nope.

This book has pissed me off at about every turn. Opt for The Road instead. I’ve never wanted to punch so many characters in the throat before. Might be my first disappointing Audible purchase.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 2019-04-09

Profound

My wife got this audiobook and I listened to it as well. I knew bits and pieces of most of what is found in the writing but I know with certainty that my confidence in myself to survive is ill placed. I have young children and the loss of them is utterly paralyzing to me. This book, rather the sobering realities Mr. Forstchen smacks you in the face with, are scary. it could all end and I could do little to save my family. I do not have confidence in our leadership, but then, the more one gets (material items) the more one wants and the more complacent we become. As a psychologist I see the flaws in our attitudes, but I don't need to have this degree to see we are taking the world, and life for granted. I am not a religious person but I feel as though I am in a fox hole because I damn near want to pray that our leadership in this country wakes up. Perhaps not what one wants to read in a book review. It's the only one I have ever written. This book changed me, and not for better or worse, but in terms of awareness. I believe everyone needs to read this. Andrew

11 people found this helpful

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  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • 2017-03-02

A Realistic Worst Nightmare

Do NOT let the negative comments sway you; this is an EXCELLENT book. Maybe the impact regarding EMP is a bit overblown, but who cares!? It’s not about EMP, it’s about what happens to a modern society when it suddenly isn’t modern. The results are terrifying. Bill Forstchen’s conclusions may be extreme, but they are well thought out and certainly possible. While the story does continuously harp about our reliance on modern technology, that’s exactly what the characters are realizing as their modern day conveniences disappear nearly leading them to the point of utter despair. Some may also be put off by a political tone associated with religion and nationalism, but Forstchen supports this societal tendency by weaving in enlightening historical references as seen through the eyes of the main character. This is a fascinating book that holds your attention, smacks you across the face a few times, and hopefully makes you appreciate that iPhone you are currently taking for granted. Finally, Joe Barrett’s narration is also one of the best I’ve ever heard for an Audible book.

140 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Douglas
  • 2018-08-04

"The Good, Bad, and Overall..."

The Good: Interesting approach on an overlooked threat.

The Bad: Reminds me of the fear factory that is 24 hours news. Linear approach to hardships and obstacles faced during a world changing incident does not allow for alternative options not presented within the story. Lake full of fish - ignored, eat any source of protein - ignore insects, limited resources in a poorly defensible position - stay in place, enforce martial law on others - refuse to give up 'MY' car, have running cars - not apt enough to use them as generators, and the biggest: -use 'MY' morality to dictate your survival. For an Ex-military persona I would expect better survival techniques.

Overall: The author makes reference to Jonestown fanaticism but fails to see his own hypocrisy in his own writing. The story is fine, the writing is apt, but this is mostly earmarked for the Kool-Ade drinkers who are rating this as firewall 5 stars. I bought it for $5.95 (sale) and got my money worth out of the story. Your mileage and/or Flavor-Ade may vary.

78 people found this helpful