One Second After, the book that literally changed my family’s life.
Maybe after that glowing headline, you don’t even need to read the review to know what I think. But I have to say, of all the post apocalyptic books that I’ve read through my life, THIS one changed it.
is the story of what happens after. After what? In this case, after an EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse) has effected the power supply of North America. But you can look at it as what happens after any major disaster that hits any region. Think large scale earthquakes, hurricanes (think Katrina) or others. This isn’t about the EMP, it’s about what happens after. The EMP is just the device that gets things started.
The quick summary: John Matherson, a history professor at a small college in Black Mountain, North Carolina, his family and their town must deal with the aftermath of an Electromagnetic Pulse (known as an EMP) from a few high altitude nuclear strike. Are they prepared for the aftermath of living in a world without electricity (in the form of no electronics of any kind working) with a grandfather in a nursing home, a child with diabetes, a town on the edge of a major highway. Can John, his friends, and the town survive until help arrives if it arrives?
This is a family and a town that is caught off-guard when disaster strikes. They make mistakes and they learn and they live in a world we wouldn’t want to be in. John has knowledge of war from personal experience and from studying it which helps aid him in helping set up the community to defend itself and to prepare it self for post-disaster living. One of the town doctors has knowledge on post-disaster relief and helps prepare the town council on what they need to do to ensure the survival of the community. You have community members who refuse to see what is going on and do anything to help (or everything to hinder), you have community members who see the issues and work together to try to build a future for themselves. You see what martial law can do to a community. You also see the lengths people will go to to survive (both good and bad). You see how the government reacts to civic emergencies and what lengths it will go to to help protect it’s own.
Be prepared for a PG-13 read. It is violence and it is graphic, but I never found it gory. There is death that makes you want to throw the book against the wall and scream at the author. There is some major community conflict dealing with martial law. But there are also lessons to be learned from an individual standpoint about how you can prepare for a disaster on your own and in your community. This is a book about community from one man’s perspective. It’s a book I highly recommend you read if you are at all concerned about how your family will survive any emergency.
Take from it the lessons learned from the book apply them to your family. And apply them with a mindset of getting through a small local emergency even if you don’t take them in terms of a large scale disaster. Can your family survive for a week without a trip to the grocery store or electricity in the event of a weather storm? Do you know how to find water if the supply is cut off from being contaminated during a hurricane or repair? Do you have a plan if you have a family member with special needs in the case of an emergency? Do you have medical supplies to help if someone is injured. Are you prepared to hunt, farm, gather and garden? Are you prepared for your pets? Are you prepared to defend your life?
This book won’t teach you HOW to prepare. It will make you think about your own preparedness in terms of what you’d do for any emergency. The family doesn’t suddenly become homesteading icons for the community. Mr. Forstchen doesn’t cover all of the realities that you’ll have to face in any post-emergency life, but it will definitely get you thinking about the possibilities.
One of the really great things about this book is that the government took notice of it and began to use it in their . It is a valid concern for them. Newt Gingrich gives a compelling argument in the forward of the book (and whether you agree with his politics or not, he has a lot to say about the government’s preparation in the area).
How it has changed my life:
This was the first book that I read when I began to feel a shift in my thinking on the world, on politics, and on making sure we could make it through our own personal disaster. Reading as the events played out on how a family was so ill-prepared to take care of itself and how they had to scramble made me really begin to think about our family and how we’d cope.
Reading an account (though fictional) of the fall of a society that prides itself on being so modern did make me really think what would happen in our community in the event of a localized disaster, not to mention something larger. And remembering the news stories of what happened in the Gulf States after Katrina really brought home how quickly society can crumble.
Another reason why this book effected me so profoundly was a storyline dealing with Matherson’s father-in-law who is in a nursing home at the beginning of the story. Enough to the point that I wrote this article about preparing for your elderly loved ones. Until recently, my grandmother was in a nursing home and it always weighed heavily on me how I’d handle the same situation as the Matherson family.
And lastly, it helped me create a massive community of women who were interested in learning how to be more prepared for their families. Family Preparedness is a group that grown so much since I first started it a few years ago, and is a wealth of information from long time homesteaders, expert preppers, and beginners. If you’re interested, please come join us here. (Sorry boys, this is a woman’s group only. There are plenty of other groups for you to join there like The American Prepper Network on Facebook)
This is the book that changed me from someone interested in post-apocalyptic literature and thinking about what-if to actually DOING something about what-if. While I feel like the book focused too much on the military aspects of the town’s survival (I do understand why, though), and it has a weak ending as far as the focus given to long-term survival of the characters and community, the whole of the book is dedicated to showing America just what can happen from the viewpoint of many characters and community groups, not just the focus on one family group.
You can purchase it at Amazon or your local bookstores.
Read the whole The John Matherson Series:
Don’t have a Kindle? That’s okay – with Amazon’s app, you can still read it on the cloud, on your e-device, through a .pdf, or on your computer.
You might also like to read:
- Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. It’s written in the same style of post-nuclear life and based around a community in Florida.
- Lights Out by David Crawford. A community has to band together and live after an EMP takes out the power.
- Last Light (#1 in the Restoration Series) by Terry Blackstock: A community in Alabama (and the rest of the nation) must deal with the after effects of an EMP.
Don’t have a Kindle?
That’s okay – with Amazon’s app, you can still read it on the cloud, on your e-device, through a .pdf, or on your computer.******************************************************************
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