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Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Alas, Babylon (original 1959; edition 2005)

by Pat Frank, David Brin (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7811161,980 (4)1 / 211
Title:Alas, Babylon
Authors:Pat Frank
Other authors:David Brin (Foreword)
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2005), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (Author) (1959)

Recently added byprivate library, The_Hoard_MHC, wisemetis, randys_bookbuzz, Ubiquitine, texawaiian, bdiuguid, LoZioSpino
Legacy LibrariesHarry S Truman
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    lisanicholas: On the Beach is another novel that picks up just after a worldwide nuclear war in the 1960s -- this time, in Australia, as the survivors await the arrival of the radioactive cloud that will doom them. Bleaker in outlook than Alas, Babylon, Shute's novel focuses on how individuals deal with the almost certainty of their own imminent annhilation.… (more)
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English (115)  Polish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
still a good read, both in spite and because of its age. it offers a nice glimpse in the naivite of the 50ies, where a world-wide thermonuclear war leads to a very orderly post-apocalyptic society, which main problems are lack of food and electricity, but not much else.

it is very well-written, one thing i cannot say for most of the other classics of the genre (lucifer's hammer, earth abides, even a canticle for leibowitz are all very badly written), it makes you actually care for its likeable characters, and its naivety is both heart-warming and frightening - because of its blatant ignorance of the real dangers of a global nuclear war.

3.5 / 5 ( )
  summerloud | Jul 27, 2018 |
A Personal best for me. Lost the book long ago, but seeing it referenced here, I've got to get another copy for the shelves (Kindle just won't do it!).

The first apocalyptic book I ever read (1965-12 years old). Had me listening to CONELRAD radio tests on short-wave and pretending to be a survivor under a tent made of blankets! It shaped my view of life, including what others have mentioned as the "survivor outlook", being aware, having supplies on hand, some survival gear (which is certainly appropriate in this age too!).

Dated due to our more realistic understanding of nuclear winter, fallout, and cultural context, but still a classic that gets to the heart. Survivors POV without any knowledge of why or how the war happened. It just did. That feeling of lostness is lost in books that detail the inside reasoning of why a nuclear war occurs. Usually we would only have a limited time of news before all communication is cut. Today we think we will still have communications on the internet, but given the outages of a major hurricane? Lack of fuel for local electricity to run your computers and phone service, and destruction of major nodes would reduce the internet to mere dribbles of information at best. So feeling that Frank's portrayal is outdated needs some further thought!

Remember, this was written in 1959 when male-centrism was dominant and every airport was stairs on the tarmac. It was just the way it was. Frank is excellent at observing the culture of the time (whether you agree with it or not). Advice to the young: don't be too quick to laugh at past decades: Your time will come!). ( )
  AmishTechie | Jul 5, 2017 |
Interesting but plodding book about what would happen if the Soviets nuked America. (This was written in the 50's during the height of the cold war.) What I found amusing was the fact that apparently they managed to drop a bomb on every major city in on the East Coast. Possible I suppose, but way overkill. But the story and the characters were interesting enough to hold my interest. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Summary: Those fateful words heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away.

But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness.

What an excellent and terrifying book! The book was written in 1959, so in the middle of the cold war and nuclear bomb lust. It's really a tale about the beginning, end and beginning again of humanity. It was, at times, a very chilling read. I realized I am woefully unfit to survive on my own should I suddenly lose electricity, gas, and the ability to microwave meals (my husband cooks).

From wiki: It was one of the first post-apocalyptic novels of the nuclear age and remains popular fifty years after it was first published. The novel deals with the effects of a nuclear war on the small town of Fort Repose, Florida, which is based upon the actual city of Mount Dora. I live north of Mount Dora, so it was creepy reading about cities I've been to getting blown up. I did have to giggle about the description of the Orlando airport though - people climbing down the steps from the plane onto the tarmac *lol*. The main character goes out and greets them. Yeah, no.

The book is a weeeee bit outdated. There are some rather sexist comments - one included something along the lines of "women need men to keep sane" or some such. But again, the characters in the book are all men except for four women. These are guys who grew up thinking that little wifey needs to be in the kitchen pregnant and barefoot.

If you're interested, there's a pretty good plot summary (more in depth than I posted here) over at wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alas,_Babylon. ( )
  wendithegray | May 1, 2017 |
There's something different about this particular post-disaster book, not only in that it doesn't allow itself to dwell on the disaster, or fear or misery, present as the emotions are. Set in Florida, the book focuses on a small community that works to survive in the wake of a nuclear attack on the U.S., when most of the nation is lost, and when most of life as they know it is lost. And yet, Frank's attention to detail and character allows for not just hard realisms, and realizations, but also hope -- and community. Yes, it is a bit dated; how could it not be, having been written in the 1950s? But at heart, it's character that drives the book, and the details of what was left in the wake of such an attack then aren't, I don't suppose, incredibly different from the details of what might be left now, or at any point in the future. Regardless, humanity is there in the heart of the book, and Frank's attentions to prejudices, to fears, and to what matters... well, they're incredible, and more clear than in any other speculative fiction of this nature that I've come across.

I happened across this book by accident--I think it was the title and the cover that drew me in. Now, I'm only stunned that I never heard about in school, or while growing up. Three degrees' worth of reading in English/Writing programs, and I was never handed this? Well, I'm glad I happened onto it now. It's one I'll remember, and recommend. ( )
5 vote whitewavedarling | Dec 19, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank, PatAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brin, DavidForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frank, PatForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I have an acquaintance, a retired manufacturer, a practical man, who has recently become worried about international tensions, international missiles, H-bombs, and such.
In Fort Repose, a river town in Central Florida, it was said that sending a message by Western Union was the same as broadcasting it over the combined networks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The story of a group of people who rely on their own courage and ingenuity to survive in a small Florida town that escaped nuclear bombing.
Haiku summary
The nukes fall on Florida
Soon after so does technology
And the honor of men

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060741872, Paperback)

The classic apocalyptic novel that stunned the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:45 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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