Alas Babylon free read ☆ 109

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Alas, Babylon free read ☆ 109 ↠ Alas Babylon Those fateful words heralded the end 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 ofAlas Babylon Those fateful words heralded the end When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States a thousand years of civ. 45 to 50 stars I think the above pictures and uotes express a lot better than my words ever could what I would like to say in this review about the power and elouence of Pat Frank's 1959 story about the folly and danger of Nuclear war I can not imagine a better novel about the immediate after effects of a global nuclear war than what is presented hereTrue the fact that anyone is left alive after the war does tend to make the novel anachronistic But since a “war begins and everyone is dead” novel would last about 10 pages I am willing to forgive Frank’s optimism given that this novel was written at a time when most people believed a nuclear war could be survived However I do want to go on record and sayIT CAN’T The book tells the story of the lead up to and then aftermath of a preemptive nuclear strike by the USSR against the United States of America The focus of the book is then on how various groups of people deal with the attack and the loss of basic services that results I thought that the author did a brilliant job of pacing by giving the reader about 50 to 60 pages of pre attack set up of both the characters and the world situation I think this allowed the attack’s aftermath to be felt much deeply when it finally came After the attack the small town of Fort Repose Florida appears to be one of the few places in Florida left standing after the attack and is completely cut off from the rest of the Country It becomes a microcosm of the breakdown of society and shows both the inner strength and the hidden depravity of humanity side by side fighting it out for survival In trying to describe what the aftermath environment is like I would stress that it is NOT in the MAD MAX category If I had to create a description I would say it is much in the vein of “Hoosiers plus nuclear bombs” or “Steel Magnolias plus World War III” We are talking small town people and values suddenly thrust into unimaginable circumstances I was pulled into the narrative from the very beginning and came to care about the characters deeply I thought the book showed the devastation and folly of nuclear war while still maintaining a positive hopeful message about humanity in general A very tough thing to do I might add I am very interested in talking to people who have read this book because the last page BLEW ME AWAY and I think it was an incredibly powerful commentary on mankind in general and I am wondering whether others feel the same Sorry for that tease for those who haven’t read it but I don’t want to give away a major spoilerplus it is a nice incentive to read the book which I HIGHLY RECOMMENDOverall a terrific read an important read a special book a powerful message and a thought provoking ending Yeahit's pretty damn good and as the uotes above illuminate Pat's vision is shared by many of good conscience

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Miraculously spared the struggle is just beginning as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darknes. Review of Kindle editionPublication date June 4 2013Publisher Harper PerennialLanguage EnglishASIN B00CD360Zcom Sales Rank 283371 pagesAs I write this there are 1436 reviews on About 70% five star and 20% four star Most of the one star reviews are complaints about lack of proof reading and typographical errors in the Kindle edition Most of those errors seem to have been corrected There are also a few complaints about condition of used hard copies purchased from third party sellers However there are very few criticisms of the novel itselfFor those who do not already know the title is based on Revelation 1810 “Alas alas that great city Babylon that mighty city For in one hour is thy judgment come” In the novel the first inkling of serious trouble comes in the form of a telegram from Colonel Mark Bragg ending with the words Alas Babylon His brother Randy immediately recognizes the code for danger dating from their childhood Eventually the danger becomes clear nuclear strikes against the USThe novel contains considerable social and political commentary on such issues as race relations but if all there was to it was the exploration of such issues I doubt that the book would have remained in print these last 50 years The essential attraction is the entertaining story of adventure and survival in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear strike Pat Frank wrote a novel which continues to appeal on a variety of levels despite its age

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Alas BabylonIlization are stripped away overnight and tens of millions of people are killed instantly But for one small town in Florida. “Terrified at her torment they will stand off and cry ‘Woe Woe to you great city you mighty city of Babylon In one hour your doom has come’” The Book of Revelation 1810“Yesterday was a past period in history with laws and rules archaic as ancient Rome’s Today the rules had changed just as Roman law gave way to atavistic barbarism as the empire fell to Hun and Goth Today a man saved himself and his family and to hell with everyone else” Pat Frank Alas Babylon“We can’t do this Every man for himself is not going to workIf we can’t live together we’re going to die alone” Matthew Fox as Jack Shepherd Lost Season 1 Episode 5When I picked up Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon I didn't have super high hopes for its uality It was curiosity mostly that led me to it The novel published in 1959 tells the story of the Florida town of Fort Repose which is spared a direct hit during a nuclear war and must then survive the aftermath Fans of the short lived television series Jericho will find this setting familiar As someone with an interest in the Cold War as well as nuclear arms and strategy Alas Babylon promised to provide some insights into the contemporary thoughts and fears of people living through that period It’s one thing to read a nonfiction volume on the evolving atomic arsenals strategies and diplomatic brinkmanship of the United States and Soviet Union It’s another thing entirely to see how those realities manifest themselves within ordinary citizens otherwise powerless and forgotten against a vast geopolitical backdrop Maybe it was the managed expectations but I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked it and on how many levels Roughly the first hundred pages of Alas Babylon are devoted to the lead up to war which I found fascinating I’ve read my share of nuclear war novels and many of them skip this part entirely Books such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or William Brinkley’s The Last Ship focus almost entirely on the aftermath of war referring to precipitating incidents only elliptically if at all Frank uses a different tactic He shows us life in small Fort Repose introducing us to a handful of characters we will get to know under duress Meanwhile he occasionally breaks away to the Mediterranean or Strategic Air Command to give us fleeting images of the rising tension between the US and USSR It’s arguable I suppose whether Frank needed to devote nearly one third of this relatively short novel just 316 pages to setting up a war we know is going to happen I don’t agree with that position There is a difference as Hitchcock would agree between surprise and suspense No the outbreak of nuclear war is not a surprise However there is still suspense to be had even though we know what’s coming Frank does a good job of presenting the creeping dread that must have been palpable during events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis still in the future when this was published He demonstrates how helpless people must have felt in the face of such a catastrophe Like many people I have control issues Can you imagine the desperation you’d feel if men you’d never met in locations you’d never been for reasons entirely unknown to you were making decisions that might end the world Frank imagines it and it’s effective Once the bombs start falling and the missiles flying the central character a military veteran named Randolph Bragg has a back row seat to the end times it should go without saying that those with a front row seat were incinerated A stark white flash enveloped their world Randy felt the heat on his neck Peyton Randy’niece cried out and covered her face with her hands In the southwest in the direction of Tampa St Petersburg and Sarasota another unnatural sun was born much larger and infinitely fiercer than the sun in the eastA thick red pillar erected itself in the southwest its base the unnatural sun The top of the pillar billowed outward This time the mushroom was there There was no sound except Peyton’s whimpering Her fists were pressed into her eyes A bird plunged against the screen and dropped to earth trailed by drifting feathers Within the pillar and the cloud fantastic colors played Red changed to orange glowed white became red again Green and purple ropes twisted upward through the pillar and spread tentacles through the cloud The gaudy mushroom enlarged with incredible speed angry poisonous malignant It grew until the mushroom’s rim looked like the leading edge of an approaching weather front black purple orange green a cancerous man created line suallAfter the attack Frank writes “civilization in Fort Repose retreated a hundred years” When nuclear fireballs crisped Orlando and the power plants serving Timucuan County refrigeration stopped along with electric cooking The oil furnaces sparked by electricity died All radios were useless unless battery powered or in automobiles Washing machines dryers dishwashers fryers toasters roasters vacuum cleaners shavers heaters beaters – all stopped So did the electric clocks vibrating chairs electric blankets irons for pressing clothes curlers for hair The electric pumps stopped and when the pumps stopped the water stopped and when the water stopped the bathrooms ceased functioningFrom there Alas Babylon takes on the form of something very familiar and timeless It is tale of survival and adventure The Swiss Family Robinson mixed with elements of Fallout and The Walking Dead though lacking any mutants or zombies Randy and the people around him among them his sister in law; her kids; a doctor; a retired admiral must find a safe water supply stockpile food trade supplies and protect themselves from the human wolves traveling over a ravaged countryside Alas Babylon works splendidly on this level Ordinary people have to band together Problems need to be solved Society has to be reordered Courage must be found Hope must be maintained Whether you set this story in a post Armageddon township or a deserted island or an island you think is deserted but actually is not there is plenty of drama to be found As I mentioned above Alas Babylon has other levels Most obviously it operates as what the sci fi author David Brin has called a “self preventing prophecy” Like Nevil Shute’s On the Beach and Eugene Burdick’s Fail Safe Frank’s purpose in writing this was to warn people He wanted to get the attention of the masses and by extension the attention of their elected officials It is pretty neat with the hindsight that comes from the world not ending in the fires of a thousand suns to catch a glimpse of the 1959 mindset For instance Frank is uite concerned with the so called “missile gap” that John Kennedy trumpeted on his way to the White House We know now that this gap did not exist But knowing this after the fact does not change how it must have felt at the time to believe it did Frank unwittingly captures that Alas Babylon is a product of its time in ways that go beyond its knowledge of Civil Defense preparations and the shortcomings of the Conelrad emergency broadcasting system It is set in the South five years after Brown vs the Board of Education so its racial views are a bit complicated Certain of the characters express abhorrent views and use abhorrent language that was typical of the time and place I say this without meaning to imply that this has magically disappeared from the world To Frank’s credit Randy is not an out and out white supremacist He is described as abiding by the Supreme Court decision in Brown so at the least he is not a segregationist He has black neighbors who play prominent roles in the story They are stereotyped to be sure but most of the characters are stereotyped to an extent taking on the shorthand roles we expect from this type of tale eg the virtuous doctor the spunky kid the selfish hoarder There is also a strain of paternalism running through the novel There are several female characters some of whom are relatively well rounded to be fair this is not a character study; with the exception of Randy no one is plumbed for depth However there is than one occasion where a character muses how the womenfolk would survive without their men The tone of Alas Babylon is one of grim hopefulness that stands in contrast to the fatalism of The Road or On the Beach The stark realities of a ruined world are made visible it is terrifying how uickly they run out of booze but Frank’s characters seldom lose heart He presents the classic tableau where the worst of mankind is balanced by the best of mankind; where man’s ingenuity for destruction is matched by an ingenuity for rebuilding There are themes to touch on elements to discuss but in the end strange to say Alas Babylon works because it is fun to read There is something fundamentally enjoyable about watching disparate men and women come together under unimaginable stress to solve problems They are in a sense MacGyver ing a new country for themselves with shoe strings paper clips and elbow grease In the face of an unimaginable horror they must discover new sources of sustenance heal themselves without modern medicines and perhaps most importantly find a way to distill their own liuor