by Anniel 7/21/15
Author: Pat Frank. Publication Date 1959; Electronic Edition (Kindle): November, 2012 • I had read this apocalyptic novel when it was first published and found it compelling then in the midst of the Cold War. I decided to read it again recently and thought I would find it dated. It is surprisingly so relevant in our world that I was pleasantly surprised. For instance, the following news broadcast heard two days before the nuclear war begins would be at home quite easily today:
. . . Turkey had approached the UN for an investigation of border penetration by Syria. Syria charged Israel with planning a preventive war. Israel accused Egypt of sending snooper planes over its defenses. Egypt claimed its ships, bound from the Black Sea to Alexandria, were being delayed in the Straits, and charged Turkey with a breach of the Montreaux Convention.
Russia accused Turkey and the United States of plotting to crush Syria, and warned France, Italy, Greece and Spain that any nations harboringAmerican bases would be involved in a general war, and erased from the earth.
Some things never change. The big difference in the book is that the money crunch comes after the attack, not before.
This novel is a refreshing break from the formulaic thrillers we are inundated with today. Pat Frank’s writing and characterizations are excellent. The people seem real. The hero, Randy, is a man, both strong and weak, prepared and unprepared, flawed as are we all, who has to change and grow in a hurry. That growth does not turn him into a superman, just into a MAN equipping himself to do the job that needs doing. A man you’d want on your side. The people who live around him could be your own crazy neighbors, whom you both laugh at and love.
The breakdown of society following a nuclear war is both graphic and thought provoking as you see what it takes to survive. There are some folks who blind themselves to what is happening around them, they are inept and unable to cope or offer any aid to anyone else. A few of these people commit suicide and some die because they simply stop living. Others help only themselves at the expense of those near them. And there are some who turn into primal animals in their need to get what they want and so harm anyone and everyone.
As Randy grows and learns to be the leader his town needs in order to help everyone live and succeed, it is interesting to note how his leadership makes others discover and become more sure of their own skills.
This is a story of PEOPLE, male and female, black and white, once rich and poor, educated and not, suddenly reduced to equality of need, relying on and trusting each other in order to survive. Some of the bad guys live and some of the good guys don’t, just as in real life. It’s a story that could become real tomorrow.
Could you be a survivor without losing your humanity? Are you even minimally prepared with the REAL necessities to give your family and neighbors a chance for survival? Are your children being taught the mindset they need to be strong and helpful in such a situation?
This book makes many of the questions of living in a broken society clear. The answers differ from place to place, and from person to person.
Read or reread this book. Maybe it will make you think and help you prepare before times get terribly tough. It certainly left me with a lot to consider. • (1220 views)