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Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald
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Level 7 (1959)

by Mordecai Roshwald

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Written in 1959 Level 7 is in a similar vein to Alas, Babylon, a novel of atomic war written in the looming threat of atomic war, it's interesting albeit with a simplistic diary style of narration. Yet this doesn't take away from the slow looming horror that slowly unfolds.

It's not a very cheery book and I can't imagine it did much for the outlook of people who read it in 1959 & the 1960s, but it nonetheless is a good story, I also do find myself wondering if Hugh Howey got some of his inspiration for the Silo series (Wool, etc) from this or whether that's just a mere coincidence. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Jun 10, 2019 |
I was always a sucker for end of the world novels, especially nuclear war scenarios. I found this book chililng at the time, but as of this date (2012) far less so. ( )
  bke | Mar 30, 2014 |
Bleak. With no chance of redemption whatsoever. If you like happy endings, you might want to stay away from this book.

This book is quiet similar to [b:On the Beach|38180|On the Beach|Nevil Shute|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943327s/38180.jpg|963772] and [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962], both in the era in which they were published and the primary subject matter with which they deal: nuclear apocalypse. While I personally found [b:On the Beach|38180|On the Beach|Nevil Shute|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943327s/38180.jpg|963772] totally unimpressive and a drag, [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962] became one of my favorite novels.

So where does "Level 7" stand?

Well, while it may not become one of my favorites, it comes very close to being one. I found it scientifically more accurate than "Alas, Babylon" and "On The Beach". But in one department, "Level 7" truly is way better than both these classics. And that is: Depicting Human Psychology about War. Roshwald has described the human psychology about war with total (and so, quite discomfiting) accuracy, which is the most unsettling as well as interesting aspect of the book.

There are no names. No names at all. Enemy is called just the "enemy" and allies "allies". Even people living in the bunker are not known by what might be their original names. For example, the protagonist is known only as X-127 from whose personal diary "Level 7" takes form. He lives in a bunker named "Level 7" with 500 people which is 4400 feet underground. He is a "Push-Button" officer, the one that pushes buttons to launch nuclear missiles and annihilate the world when such orders are received.

This book is a scathing satire on war and the mentality which prevailed especially during the Cold War era.

A must read for anyone who liked books such as [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962] and even dystopian classics like [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313] and [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877], as apart from the apocalyptic scenario, there is also a strong dystopian feel to "Level 7".

4.65 Stars. ( )
  Veeralpadhiar | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book, a contemporary of On the Beach, was for some reason categorized as 'science fiction,' rather that as 'literature'' as was On the Beach, and so perhaps has not had the respect it deserved. It has, however, been continously in print, and J. B. Priestly called it 'easily the most powerful attack on the whole nuclear madness.'

The story takes place in a bunker that was built to protect people in the event of nuclear war. The country in which the bunker is located is unnamed. The more 'valuable' a particular group of people is determined to be, the lower the level in the bunker they will occupy. Level 7 is the deepest and most sacrosanct level, and it is reserved for the people who will 'push the button' to launch the nuclear warheads. They have received extensive training to obey orders without question.

This book was written near the height of the cold war, and is perhaps dated in its concept that a world-wide nuclear war between super-powers is the most likely scenario in which such weapons would be deployed. What has not changed, however, is the effect such nuclear exchanges will have on humanity, and the folly of believing that putting people in bunkers is a solution. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jun 2, 2012 |
Novelón PostAtomico de los 50... cuando los yanquis esperaban que les cayera la bomba encima. Depresivo. No combinar con Terminator. O Fallout. ( )
  gczobel | Feb 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0299200647, Paperback)

Level 7 is the diary of Officer X-127, who is assigned to stand guard at the "Push Buttons," a machine devised to activate the atomic destruction of the enemy, in the country’s deepest bomb shelter. Four thousand feet underground, Level 7 has been built to withstand the most devastating attack and to be self-sufficient for five hundred years. Selected according to a psychological profile that assures their willingness to destroy all life on Earth, those who are sent down may never return.
    Originally published in 1959, and with over 400,000 copies sold, this powerful dystopian novel remains a horrific vision of where the nuclear arms race may lead, and is an affirmation of human life and love. Level 7 merits comparison to Huxley’s A Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 and should be considered a must-read by all science fiction fans.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:31 -0400)

"Level 7 is the diary of Officer X-127, who is assigned to stand guard at the electronic controls of an intercontinental missile system, designed to wage nuclear war. Located in underground installations four thousand feet deep, Level 7 has been built to withstand the most devastating attack and to be self-sufficient for five hundred years. Selected according to a psychological profile that assures their willingness to destroy all life on Earth, those who are sent down may never return." "Originally published in 1959, translated into fourteen languages, and with over 400,000 copies sold, this dystopian novel remains a horrific vision of where the nuclear arms race may lead. Yet, implicitly, it is an affirmation of human life and love. Level 7 should be considered a must-read by all science fiction fans as well as those concerned about human fate in the nuclear age." "The new critical edition contains additional related material, some previously unpublished, as well as a preface by the author and an introduction by the editor of the volume, David Seed, professor of English literature at the University of Liverpool, England."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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