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One Second After by William R. Forstchen – What’s All the Buzz About?


one-second-after-forstchenWilliam R. Forstchen‘s latest book, One Second After could take a prominent position in our recent Post-Apocalyptic Fiction feature.  The story of the after-effects of an electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attack on the United States, One Second After has been said to follow the tradition of other fear-inspiring novels such as Nevil Shute’s On the Beach and Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

The book, released last week, has garnered quite a bit of interest as opinions fly about the vulnerability of the United States to such an attack and that Forstchen is proffering reality in a fictional manner rather than simply presenting a work of science fiction. The book description even claims that the US Congress suggested that One Second After is a book that should be read by all Americans . . .

Book Description

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP).  A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication,One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end.

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56 Responses to “One Second After by William R. Forstchen – What’s All the Buzz About?”

  1. Oh, great. Another way to scare people into a state of paranoia, start Americans searching for enemies under the bed and behind every tree, and increase their own weaponry, possibly in order to pre-emptively strike another nation. Again. Amen.

    All for literary profit! Are we having fun yet?

  2. Richard Davies
    Richard Davies March 27, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Bizarrely, there seems to be an amazing appetite for post-apocalyptic novels at the moment.

    R

  3. Perhaps because pre-apocalyptic reality is becoming more bizarre….

  4. Dear Peedeecee I am the author. You do not even know me, so how dare you suggest this is “all for literary profit.” And no, I am not having fun yet when writing about this subject and the threat it presents to my country and far more personally my daughter and friends. My prayer is that the book is a wake up call to the reality of a threat. If you doubt, just Google or Wikipedia the subject EMP or go to Thomas.gov. You don’t have to believe my book, but please do believe what hundreds of experts are saying about the subject. . .and please do not attack my honor that this is about literary profit and has no other motives.

    William R. Forstchen

  5. Unfortunately, Mr. Forstchen, scaring the American people is an old, old tradition, which has led to profit for many sectors of the American culture, authors and book publishers among them. It’s interesting to look back briefly at some of the boogeymen that have been used in the past to a) make the American military ludicrously huge; b) enrich arms manufacturers; c) keep the American people in a state of fear that borders on paranoia.

    Whatever became of those terrible Russkies? Chicoms? The threat from the Vietnamese? Koreans? Hey – what about the commies “ninety miles from our shores”? The fashionable threat these days is Muslims. I wonder what will be next?

    America – under all administrations – prepares, prepares, prepares constantly for apocalyptic terrors that, if they occurred, would destroy much of the world. Americans live in a state of constant, manufactured and promoted fear.

    Frequently, America’s global political behaviours put it at risk – have you considered that? Most other countries in the world do not live in a fear-based state of military readiness that trumps the values on which the country was founded.

    Consider this: only one country has ever used nuclear weapons – and on civilian populations, at that. Only one country has ever started a “pre-emptive” war. Only one country interferes with the rest of the world for invented reasons. Only one country seeks to weaponize space. Only one country (and its protege in the middle east) refuses to ban such weapons as cluster bombs, depleted uranium, phosphorus and land mines.

    And only one country keeps its citizens in constant fear of attack, despite being the largest, richest, most powerful country in the world.

    Yet another threat of annihilation. What a way to live.

  6. I guess I could have expressed my thoughts more succinctly:

    1) The only thing you have to fear is fear itself;

    2) Given the horror of that weapon, which nation do you think is most likely to deploy it?

  7. I guess I could have expressed my thoughts more succinctly:

    1) The only thing you have to fear is fear itself;

    2) Given history, which nation do you think is most likely to use that terrible weapon?

  8. To Mr Forstchen:

    What an impactful book.

    Hopefully the doomsday scenario you painted never materializes. In your novel, you did not mention the measures that might have been put in place to prevent an EMP disaster. Are there in fact precautions that the federal government or the private sector could put in place to prevent such a national catastrophe? Are you certain that nothing is currently being done on a national scale?

    I would assume that individual precautions would amount to very little given an EMP attack. Those that had gas powered generators and automobiles without electronics would be overrun by the unprepared and hungry masses in short order.

    One thing that I would caution against coming out of your novel is the question of whether any state run organization would sponsor an EMP attack. Even if China or Russia or a middle eastern country knows that ana ttack ont he US is an attack on the world and would quickly lead to their own destruction as an inevetable consequence.

    Good intelligence and covert operations sound like they may be the best solution to the threat of EMP rather than a complete restructuring of the entire civilized electronic world that we live in.

    I will echo that every American should be wary of propoganda and the fear mongering that todays powers utilize as a source of control. Not to say that is what you have attempted with your novel.

  9. To All That Doubt The Possibility, etc:

    Stop attacking the author and go do some research. If you find any real facts that this weapon does not exist and there are no such possibilities…. simply present your arguments and everyone can decide for themselves…

    DB

  10. Dr. Forstchen,

    I love the new book and am a loyal reader. Any thoughts on how long it will be before you start back on the Lost Regiment saga? Is the movie ever going to happen?

    I am glad to see you branching in this direction as far as your thoughts and writing. Keep up the good work and lets pray the world opens their eyes.

  11. I’ll bet peedeecee’s grandfather never believed in flying machines with guns either. Of course, back then everything wasn’t all America’s fault. Peedeecee and his ilk won’t be satisfied until the U.S. has unilaterally disarmed.

  12. Unlike at least one of the earlier commenters, I have read this book and found it utterly compelling. I went without electricity for a week last September after the remnants of Hurricane Ike knocked out the power in most of central Ohio. Luckily we still had land line telephone service as well as water and sewage and could buy food and ice in neighborhoods that never lost power. I can only imagine what life would have been like if the entire state or country had lost power, probably very like the horrible situation depicted in One Second After. You don’t have to accept the possibility of an EMP attack to ask yourself how long you and your loved ones would survive for months without electricity or any working electronic equipment. Read One Second After to find out- you probably won’t like the answer unless you’re Amish or a Mormon.

  13. Just because Mormons (and Boy Scouts) are taught to be prepared, does not mean they would “like the answer.” (See Frank on 4/14 at 5:34 am) And the Amish I have met seemed like kind folks. I rather think they would help the rest of us adapt.

    But do let me share what Mormons are taught about scenarios such as this: “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

    Seems like this book is one more message to convince us that staying in a state of preparation is the best defense, no matter what the threat. And I don’t know about you, but I feel less at the mercy of various threats (flu pandemic, tornado, earthquake, terrorists, etc.) and more empowered when I’m busy doing whatever I can do about it.

    There are other areas of preparation that could use our attention as well.
    If you want to know some of what your Mormon neighbors are doing in that regard, you can check it out on providentliving.org. It is no secret. They are happy to share so you can be prepared too. On the left side-bar you can search emotional, physical, spiritual, social, educational and financial preparedness topics.

    Even if you are totally prepared for every possible threat, you will never be totally secure from any challenge, but being prepared does allow you to sleep more peacefully and live more confidently. Once you are prepared you aren’t so likely to freak out at every alarm.

    Now I’m going to order this book. I’m not looking forward to a disaster, but I feel better if I know what the possibilities are. That helps me become emotionally prepared to deal with it.

  14. William R. Forstchen

    I applaud you for reminding the intelligent minority in America of this threat to our existing society.

    This is a natural threat as well and it is absurd that our government officials have not devoted attention to it’s reality.

    Addressing the masses; how soon will the movie be released?

  15. it’s possible to, “what if”, yourself into a tizz however at the sametime there isn’t any point in taking a nap in the middle of the street and then acting upset kuz your toes got squashed. Mr. Forstchen needs rent money as do the rest of us however all i see here is a man speaking his mind. In short Mr. William Forstchen isn’t one of the sleeping grain fed cattle as many in this age seem to be…..

    Thanks for your time Mr. Forstchen and don’t ever stop speaking your mind. Chris Dall

  16. Mr. Forstchen:
    The book is very good. I find that something like this could happen. After looking up information on the web about this subject .The people in this great country better wake up. There are really bad people in this world who hate us. They do not care what party you belong to or what your skin color is! They hate US because WE live in the United States.
    My Father was in the Air Force and was a pilot at the end of the Korean war. He taught me how to fire a weapon, camp, fish, live off the land and take care of myself. I am glad he spent the time to teach me those skills .
    Thank you for the book.
    TD

  17. Peedeecee, your ignorance of history is astounding.

    Mr Forstchen; I am a huge fan and I realize this is a novel and you have taken some literary license. However the EMP Commission Critical National Infrastructures Report does not indicate in any way a total shutdown of motor vehicle/rail traffic. They state that about 15% of motor vehicles will be significantly disabled. Plus ALL vehicles turned off at the time of attack will be totally unaffected. Am I missing something here?
    In any event it is a great novel. I read it in two sittings.

    Sincerely,
    Bill W

  18. I am getting ready to read your book: truly it is of things to come..although they are already taking place….reality is that we are living under a Facist Government and it will be a world wide event…people do not want to know the truth..they rather be like an ostrich and hide their head in the sand…..and go along with whatever is being planned for their future and their children’s too. Like William Wallace said”Freedom”! Actually, your readers can also watch “V” for Vendetta..there are so many truths in that movie like your book which I will start today to read………….we survivalist are preparing for the worst case scenario….but praying for the best..and may the best come forth of people………………….

  19. Will B. Prepared May 15, 2009 at 4:03 am

    OK Professor,

    Great read. I have been trying to get the missus to listen to me and understand the dangers of EMP and general preparedness for some time. It was about day 65 or so that she put the book down and said “OK, let’s take care of what needs to be done”.

    Because of the hurricanes here, I have always been ‘allowed’ to keep a months worth of supplies on hand. Now, she has moved it to six month on perishables, and whatever I want on non-perishables.

    She has even started going to the indoor range with me for practice sessions.

    Thank You for writing a fictional account of what could be a very real possibility.

  20. After Hurricane Katrina, in North Louisiana (5 hours away), a guy almost attacked my 58 year old mother-in-law in Walmart…over gas cans.

    Imagine being in 100 degree heat without electricity, grocery stores, gas pumps, water, and without any news of what’s happening for an extended period of time. It only temporarily happened here. Some people helped each other, and some people were dangerous.

    Mr. Forstchen has done a great job of describing what could happen.
    Being prepared is the key.

  21. To Mr. Forstchen I say hats off for a wakeup call to all of the people in this country and the world– who are living this complacent existence, only concerned about who’s on American Idol, texting their friends, and making sure we are all physically fit, nonsmoking tech-savvy followers… who fit in to the acceptable culture of 2009. Well – all of that will become instantly silly and trivial should this work of fiction ever become our reality. That will be my only joy – in seeing how the current trendy person tries to survive without his/her cellphone, blackberry, laptop, and all of the other assorted trendy tech-toys that are their “neccessities”.
    The author’s writing is brilliant – and the message is very pertinent to all of us!
    I am now in the middle of listening to this book-on-CD and it grows more and more terrifying with every chapter. I am typing this comment at work and can’t wait until 5:30 this afternoon so I can get back into my car for the drive home…..and continue listening.
    America is SO dependant on technology now. Lazy, weak, self-centered greedy wimps is what this culture has become. This technology grows incredibly fragile. If it all went dead tomorrow, who would we turn to for a way to survive? Probably anyone who’s around 90 years old and lived through the Great Depression might have some clue, but they are few and far between now, as that great generation of strong, self-sufficient people dies off. Even the Depression was a picnic compared to the scenario presented in this book.
    I am the same age as the main character in the book – 48 years old – and I wonder how I would be able to get through such an occurance – and could I learn to do things the way my ancestors did them to survive? How would we protect our homes, our loved ones, and our food & water supplies from the “outsiders” who didn’t pay attention to such a thing ever happening and who didn’t prepare? Those are the individuals we would need to fear the most, as people will become like animals in such an environment.
    I for one, after completing this novel, will certainly take preparatory steps so at least my family and I will have a chance – when the lights, the computers, the cars and everything we take for granted goes dead forever.
    Thank you, Mr. Forstchen for your work. EVERYONE should read this and know what could very well come in our lifetime.

  22. While there is little one can do to prepare for an EMP attack long term…it is helpful to know what sort of things can be done to prepare for health reasons…etc. I have blogged about this…in the past…and when I look at my blog stats…it is the most searced and read post I have.

    It is a real threat. People do need to be aware and prepare for this or any disaster that may come.

    I believe….gut instinct you may call it….that we will face such an attack in our lifetime. One only needs to look at Iran and North Korea. They both are now boasting the power to do this.

    Today alone…North Korea has launched three missiles. We know they have nuclear material….so really…we are sitting ducks. I would venture to say that if this happened….we would be pretty much without defense. What our ships in other parts of the world could launch would be just about it. Yet who do you fire at….if you have no way of knowing who did it to you. I sense that the biggest threat is the sale of such weapons from North Korea to radical groups…..not nations….is imminent.

    Thank you Mr. Forstchen….I enjoyed your book….it was not only enlightening…but frightening.

  23. I am a college student and my mom turned me on to Forstchen’s One Second After. Forstchen’s book has by far been the best book I have pleasure read in some time now. I also just read James Wesley, Rawles’ Patriots, unlike Rawles’ Patriots, Forstchen offers a story on the 99.5 % of Americans who get caught with their pants down while America as we know it is forever lost. I live in Houston; after Ike hit and disabled the routine way of life the scenario that Forstchen offers is not as far fetched as people may think or hope. I would advise readers of One Second After to read Patriots; it is not as easy of a read, and doesn’t have the personal story that Forstchen includes (though it is not absent) Patriots offers another scenario (very believable) and pages upon pages of helpful information for those who are preparing shouldn’t ignore.

  24. I came across this site while googling for what could cause a massive power outage that would last months or years. The reason I was googling it is because I keep getting an…impression, feeling, premonition perhaps…that something will lead to a massive power outage.

    I’ve also read articles on cyber attacks on the electric grid, solar flares and HAARP. I lived through the cold war. I recall the “Russians are gonna nuke us.” paranoia. I never had a feeling like I have now. For the first time in my life I feel compelled to stock up on supplies. Canned food, water, propane, lamp oil, everything. I’m doing this and asking myself why I am doing this when money is so tight right now. I wonder if I’m losing my mind.

    I do not know if this power outage will be caused by an EMP attack, solar flare or cyber attack. A small voice keeps telling me it will be just like WW2. Rationed gas, no computers, no ATM’s and people will have to grow their own gardens for food.

    The dates that keep popping up in my mind is June of 2010.

    I pray that I am wrong.

  25. The author was on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America today 8/07/2009. What a very thoughtful segment. Several items I intend to check out ie: EMP Commission Report ( yes there is one ) and the congressional study. I will do some digging and I am sure I will find what I am looking for. Yes there are things that can be done It is scary to think that the Koreans can and probably will try something and the Iranians are right there too. KRAZY people do KRAZY things not knowing or realizing what the results can and will be

  26. Shooting the messenger is an old tradition and a common reaction to
    really bad news. However I have the technical background to evaluate
    the premise of the book, and I’ve read not just the book, but the
    Commission report and quite a bit of other material on EMP. This
    threat is real and at this point, not at all unlikely.

    An EMP attack is simple: It requires one each, primitive atom bomb,
    medium range ballistic missile, shipping container, and rusty old
    freighter with crew. An air burst one or two hundred miles over
    mid-America and ‘one second later’ we have no power grid due to what
    amounts to a gigantic NATIONWIDE lightning strike on the equipment.
    While there wouldn’t be complete destruction, every generating plant,
    every transmission line, and most homes and factories would suffer
    enough damage to shut them down until repairs were made and in most
    cases those repairs would require spare parts.

    As an example of the spare parts problem, the largest transformers in
    the power system — those that step up the voltage from the generators
    at the plant to 500,000 volts or more for long distance transmission
    – are no longer made in the U.S. They must be ordered a couple of
    years in advance and there’s a world wide production capacity of about
    100 per year. We have a few thousand of them in our power grid.
    Turbines and boilers are also built to order on a scale of years;
    while there are elaborate protections, these systems aren’t
    extensively tested under emergency conditions and some of the control
    computers would have been damaged by the EMP: We can expect some
    turbines to destroy themselves and some boilers to burn up.

    The hated nuclear plants would probably do best, due to more extensive
    safeguards and testing, as well as being specifically designed for
    emergency shutdown.

    Our economy is very efficient meaning that food we eat and other stuff
    we use today may have been made last week in an electrically operated
    plant. Yes, the testing shows that many cars would still be operable.
    But how and where will you drive when the electrical system that keeps
    the fuel available, the stores stocked, and our entire communications
    system (Internet, phones, TV, radio …) operating, dies?

    Short range communications will be improvised phone systems, just as
    Mr. Forstchen describes; longer range will be the thousands of ‘ham
    radio’ operators, many of whom will still have operable equipment and
    emergency power to run it. (Some of us, indeed, have working vacuum
    tube sets, nearly certain to survive if not currently in use.) But
    government control will be gone, and I think the book’s description of
    the resulting anarchy is probably about right.

    This scenario is not just terrible and entirely possible; I’d call it
    likely, if we do not prepare. The good news is that the preparation is
    simple: Prepare yourself by stocking a lot more food than you
    ordinarily would do — you can buy this in kits from survivalist
    stores or just get more of the long lived usual stuff — and anything
    else you couldn’t live without, such as medications.

    Equally important, insist that our country move beyond appointing a
    commission that publishes reports, to stockpiling of spares and
    training of repair personnel for the power system. Since many
    thousands of additional trained people will be required and they’ll
    need to operate with the military, they might as well be organized as
    Electrical Construction and Repair units of the National Guard.

    (There’s a jobs program there and not a sand-pounding one as so much of
    what we’re seeing from this administration.)

    A minimal ballistic missile defense would also have a high payoff. It
    would not need to stop more than the number of missiles you can count
    on one hand because it’s the terrorist attack from a freighter we have
    to worry about. Larger attacks require a nation, and deterrence — the
    certainty of your country being a glowing slag heap in an hour or so –
    will work.

    A few weeks of personal preparation by most of us, a year of effective
    government action, five years of increasing industrial preparedness:
    each of these will reduce the consequences of an attack by tenfold.
    When the likely payoff becomes small enough, the attack won’t happen.

    This doesn’t require upending our lives or spending what would now be
    considered a lot of money: I think even $1 billion would make a dent,
    and $100 billion over a few years would do the whole job.

    A salute to Mr. Forstchen for his book. It was one of the least fun
    reads of my lifetime and I imagine that writing it was worse but it is
    a great service to our country.

  27. Thanks, Walt, for the summary.

    Your comment reminds me of a similar analysis I read (or perhaps saw on a video) years ago on EMP vulnerability and the inability to produce replacement transformers. And our military has been aware of EMP damage for several decades, with test labs to measure the effects of EMP.

    Believing such a scenario as this does not require much imagination. We have the enemies, as proven on 9/11. They will us whatever means they can acquire for little effort and maximum effect. (The definition, perhaps, of “asymmetrical warfare”?)

    EMP surely fits the bill.

    Thus preparedness is necessary. While there are probabilities involved that certain devices won’t be affected, enough could be harmed that integral systems managed using remote electronics could be damaged enough to be useless at best, and dangerous at worst.

    I’d like to thank Mr. Forstchen for taking the time and enormous effort to write such a disturbing book.

  28. I have read the book and frankly if one tree limb can knock out the power grid of seven states, the people who mock your book clearly have no clue about warfare or how fragile we have become. I think 20 years as a U.S. Navy operations specialist give me that right to speak on the subject.

  29. Mr. Forstchen;
    I am a high school biology teacher in a rural community in Florida. We have a period of 25 minutes each day dedicated to reading. My class is reading this book together, and the students relate, particularly because of the similarities between their own community and that of the book. I read your book last spring, along with Alex Berenson’s, THE SILENT MAN, as recommended by your friend and one of my heros, Newt. The possibilities are frightening. The ramblings of PDC early in this thread are indicative of the shooting the messenger mentality as previously stated, and “blame America” mentality he exhibits is indicative of the pseudointelectual governing elete hoity toid mentality we have in Washington right now. It reminds me of Romans 1:22, …”Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”
    Your book caused a paradigm shift in my already boy scoutish “be prepared” mentality. My family has been preparing for such a catastrophy for several years. While It’s hardly possible to be totally prepared, I at least will be able to defend my family from marauding thugs for a significant period of time while we regroup as a family and decide how to go about our future. It happened with Katrina which was only a mere microcosm of such an event as EMP. I’m hearing whispers of this book being made into a motion film. Can you confirm that for us, sir?
    I’m also wondering if you might pen a short note to my students from the author, concerning the book? You have my email with this reply…
    Thank you, Sir.
    Dabo
    P.S. As a Civil War buff, I’m just starting the book you did with Newt on Gettysberg…

  30. great book, would recommend to anyone!!! Start loading up on the canned food and seeds. ;-)

  31. I just finished reading this book and recommend to everyone. Would the EMP attack affect Canada too?

  32. I read this book as soon as it was released and have recommended it as a must read for everyone I know. Even if this type of disaster never happened, it should make all of us consider what our lives could be like given our dependence on electronics. Natural disasters have forced some of us to live for short periods of time without power and communications — but very few of us can really imagine the impact of long-term loss of such “NORMAL” conveniences would be like. I can’t wait to see the movie.

  33. Great job Mr. Forstchen. I read the book, loved it, and recommended it.

    I would like to say to those that feel this book was written simply to fear monger or for financial gain, you may be correct and I don’t care. I don’t live in an area rich with earthquakes, floods and the like, but being prepared for whatever may come should be on anyone’s mind.

    This reminds me of the special I saw on TV illustrating “what could happen” if New Orleans were to flood. No less than 2 years later that exact scenario happened and who would have thought! We are so soft and comfortable with our cell phones and fast food on every corner, if the subject matter in this book were to happen just the same as “what if” that happened to New Orleans… God have mercy. Preparedness is a state of mind and too many of us are quite frankly mindless.

    Don’t think it will happen? Maybe no, maybe yes……who knows. If so don’t come knocking on my door.

  34. The sort of technology it would take to pull something like this off is only in the hands of two countries: Russia and the United States. And that is only to say they have the capability to ATTEMPT to do this. The funding, research, and deployment of this type of attack is not possible by any terrorist group, nor any of the current “rogue” counties such as North Korea or Iran. You have only to look at North Korea’s continual failures in ballistic missile testing for proof.

    Lets say for argument’s sake that somehow the attack took place. The actual effectiveness of such an attack is questionable. First, while the effects would be pervasive and felt over a wide area, the scale would be nowhere near what is described in the book. Many pieces of equipment already have inherent protection because of the nature of their design. Most backup generators would still work and many pieces of important equipment could be repaired with backup parts. Not to say that there wouldn’t be a major disruption, but nowhere near the extent described in the novel. Second, many areas would remain completely unaffected due to the distribution and uncontrolled nature of the EMP. Also in all likelihood many of the warheads would either fail to detonate, fail to achieve the necessary altitude, or not cause the desired effect due to atmospheric conditions.

    In conclusion, while an EMP attack is viable in a VERY confined sense, a worldwide failure of all electronic equipment due to a concerted global attack is about as likely as the moon falling out of orbit. We’ve known about this effect since the early days of atomic testing, and there are far more effective ways to cause global mayhem for the possible initiator of such an attack to use assuming they had such resources in the first place. So everybody take a step back, breathe deeply, and relax.

  35. I am in the process of reading the book, and am about half way through now. What has been most interesting to me reading this book, and now the comments, are the attitudes of the people involved. Specifically, I am thinking of the part where the town “leaders” elect to execute two “looters” who are supposed drug addicts in the community.

    After just a week the people in this nice little NC town are executing people without trial under martial law. This blew my mind. John (who is the author’s personification, as much as I can tell), makes a little speech about America, and how they are a community, etc. Then he and another ex-military man kill two men on a tennis court. I had to re-read the passage a few times, because I couldn’t believe how far this character had descended. He was a supposed leader and “fair” man, but then he elects to execute people.

    I don’t doubt that this could happen. But from supposed “Christian” folks in the heart of the Bible Belt, no less? I’m not a Christian. I have always been skeptical of organized religions. But the author’s description of these middle-aged, middle-class, Christians suddenly scared and offing folks in public makes me think that whole swath of the country is “not me” at all. Even without the religious dogma, it seems that these folks’ sense of community started and ended on Sunday at the church’s door. Even on a personal level, they’re unable to recognize how debased they really are.

    I have another 200 pages to read, but the book up to this point has been very insightful. As much as I have to worry about a foreign power or terrorist screwing things up, I have to watch out for other Americans. This book, if it contains any truth, shows me that even supposed “level-headed” and “good” people are crazy in a crisis.

  36. great book, scarry stuff really intresting and really hard to put down cant wait for the movie

  37. I just finished the book. I enjoyed it better than “Patriots”, as it was less on weapons and more on the human factors like that of the daughter.
    Don’t get me wrong I am a hunter and shooter, so I have and enjoy my 2nd Amendment Rights, but I am also a dad and husband.

    I retired from the Navy in 2001, I have had training on EMP for 20 years.
    Good work on covering the vulnerabilities of the just in time inventory systems of modern commerce like food, fuel and medications. Our lives are more and more dependant on integrated circuitry, Who walks around with cash? Our banking systems are all on computers. I swipe my debit card at the gas pump, the grocery store, even the gas furnace in my house has 3 separate computer boards, it’s everywhere.

    People love “fear” Stephen King is a rich man from his fiction novels.
    The sad realty is the citizens of the U.S. are not ready. The electrical grid failure in the North East threw many people into panic. Katrina, CA wildfires, record snow fall that shut down DC, Baltimore in Jan 2010. Your novel is not increasing the level of fear or state of paranoia, it lessens the level, as readers have now been so informed. What the readers choose to do is their choice.

  38. Dr. Mr. Forstchen,

    I applaud your effort to help the American people wake up to all the evils out there that confront us at this time. This was an excellent book. I also thoroughly enjoyed your (and Mr. Gingrich’s ) alternative treatment of the Civil War. This book definitely made me take stock of where I am as an individual and the things that matter most in life. Your novel turned me on my head and made me consider all the small things that we take for granted. I appreciate the wake-up call. I hope those in our Department of Homeland Security are paying attention.

  39. @peedeecee

    Shut your mouth. You probably have no knowledge of any type of war, any type of threats, and you yourself would probably be the first to die in some sort of danger. Get off the internet and find somewhere else to whine. It’s a good book, and although most places need the US to thrive, some rogue countries like North Korea would possibly EMP us if they wanted to. Plus it isn’t like EMP isn’t real, most everyone knows that EMP has existed for quite some time.

  40. Blah blah blah, yeh I am having fun. I read the book and it was one hell of a good read. Am I scared, no, could it happen…..absolutely. I have read alot about EMP and its effects and how we could easily be knocked back into the 19th century….very easily done

  41. Peedeecee,

    If this is such a bad country, what the hell are you still doing here?
    Take your lame ass and move to some other communist/socialist country which you seem to love so much. Mr. Forstchen, keep up the good work.

  42. libertyvoicebox April 2, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I would like to comment on the accusations that peedeecee is tossing around. True, threats are drummed up, not just for profit, but for political reasons as well. But he implies that this is strictly an “American” ideal. Not so. Who invaded South Korea? South Vietnam? France? Belgium? Poland? AFGHANISTAN(The first time around)? The entire middle east was invaded by Turks, and half of lower Europe by the Moors.
    I haven’t read the book, but people who decree that the author is selling books by drumming up fear are fanatically idiotic. Usually easily led by others. And are always the ones , when something happens that wail “who will help me becuase I am noyt prepared or willing to help myself”.
    Books are designed to make you think. Thats all this is, and by thinking hopefully stimulate some action on your part. Just becuase you read a post-apocalyptic novel does not mean you have to build an arsenal and start hoarding food. But shouldn’t you take a moment to think about what you would do when this happens? Or would you rather just sit there, ignorant and unwilling to act when the time comes, becuase the very action that may be needed challenges your “political” utopian ideals. Oh, I don’t like all that gun stuff, my government says it can’t happen. It can’t hapen here. We went a few days, a few days mind you without power in the northeast during a blackout and it caused chaos, and no one was prepared. And thats just a few days. What do you expect to happen to the mob phsyche when the realization sets in that, hey the lights aren’t coming back on, no help is coming. How do I protect my family? How do I feed myself? How can I contact anyone?

    But don’t worry peedeecee, it won’t or can’t happen here right? Its all just literary buffoonery to increase profits. Writers don’t write for free you know. They are selling the fruits of theier intellectual labor. By the way, if it should ever hapen, don’t come knocking on my door to help. You should have been prepared.

  43. Mr. Forstchen, thank you for re-awakening my mind…I hope and pray this never happeneds..but like as we await the snowdrifts …with supplies from the grocery store…and await the darkness during a blackout loaded with batteries for our flashlights…we should take heed and understand this is a Very distinct possibility…one that we sould prepare for..if we are folly… as the comics seem to to be …will we provide them with nourishment…?

  44. The question is not “Will it happen?” but rather, “could it happen?” Or, could anything happen that would put individuals, families, communities into a survival mode? Would individuals, families, communities be able to survive until relieved? What would need to be considered, and how would they go about it? As a nation, we have become soft as a result of our technology and because of government and transportation services. Yet, we sometimes take law enforcement for granted. I wonder. Law enforcement people and emergency service providers have families also. Would they go to work or stay home to take care of their families? How many failed to respond to the call in the New Orleans area when Katrina hit? What went on in New Orleans then? Can you take care of your self? Would you stand up for others knowing that it could put you and thereby your loved ones in jeopardy? Remember, police really can’t protect us from crime any more than firemen can protect us from fire, unless they are present when it actually takes place. Rather, they deter crime by being able to find the perpetrators and hopefully bring them to justice. So, when the crime takes place – you have your options, endure it, or take action to defend yourself, your family, your community. An in an emergency, other services stop. No deliveries to the markets. ATMs and charge card readers don’t work. People need things more than money and the costs could be exorbitant – in money or barter. Yes, we have “rights,” but who, in emergency circumstances, defends those rights? Perhaps we should modify Descart’s statement of “I think. Therefore I am,” to read “I think. Therefore I will continue to be…”

    As to comments that only a couple countries have the technology, the final word is missing — NOW. And it wouldn’t have to be from an ICBM launch. How about a cargo ship just off the coast. Even one “burst” might put large areas in jeopardy though help might arrive sooner than if bursts spread damage to broader areas. But even if it’s only a week, or a month — I want to be able to stick around till help comes. How about you?

  45. Amazing book. Stunning. The minimal complexity needed to pull off the attack described in the book is shocking. An enemy delivering a few nuclear devices to a few of our cities would be much, much more difficult to pull off than what’s described in the book. Though taking advantage of EMP was an accepted tactic for interruption of C&C during cold war planning, were the implications of the Compton effect fully realized at the time, this attack would herald almost any major exchange scenario.

    On the positive side, it allows nuclear nations to consider a much smaller warhead stockpile given the deterrence factor of even a single weapon detonated at high altitude.

    It should be noted that this book is well written. Anyone reading an excerpt from a later chapter might be turned off by what might seem to be completely over the top characters or circumstances. Mr. Forstchen however, systematically, and logically develops the story in a way where the reader is forced to acknowledge that the events, while unimaginable on day 1, become the only reasonable, moral, or realistic options a few days later. The book will likely evoke strong emotions in anyone reading it.

  46. Ive just gotten done with this book and ill tell you what all the Jazz over scaring Americans is all fine and dandy but it is a book that should be given some serious thought. As a LEO it makes me seriously think about how much strain it would put on or police department if something like this scenario actually happens. And it does scare the hell out of me cause I hope Im Not working in downtown LA if this thing hits mainly because I live so far away and it isnt worth walking.

    Cant wait for the Movie…..

  47. Excellent novel. Kept me interested the whole way through. The characters and the adversity they faced was the main attraction.
    Was this another “scare the americans” novel. No not really. Although the story is fiction the technology is real and becoming more availible. EMP was well known by the late 80′s and I stumbled accross it in the early 90′s. It was troubling but remote in terms of it actually happening. Back then “MAD” was still a deterrent and the nuclear club was tiny. Now with the proliferation of nuclear tech to countries who would sell weapons to terrorist groups with an agenda to use them we are a tad more vulnerable. The only thing that is shocking is the complete lack of action by our government. They have known about this for decades and have taken little to no preventative measures. Even setting some regulatory standards for power generation and transmission would help. However due to expert lobbying and pocket padding by our utilities corporations we are left with a completely vulnerable infrastructure. Not much that can be done about that now or even 10 years from now if the government had the will or money to take even rudimentary measures to upgrade our infrastructure.
    Even in the novel he didnt touch upon some really horrific thoughts. Such as what would happen to a nuclear power plant if all the electronics were fried. Can they manually shut it down, by hand, in the dark…. Hope so..
    Anyway. Is this book alarmist or scare propaganda? No. It is a really good fiction story about people affected by a technology that has been around for decades.

  48. As a retired US Marine Officer (Reserve), I have been aware of the effects of EMP for years. I could not put the book down. It is superbly written, technically accurate, and a darn good read. It examines the cultural and economic effects of what could happen to our 21st Century society when, and not if, a rogue state detonates a nuke above the atmosphere.
    Stockpile food, medicine, and ammo, and hope you never need them

  49. Great book!!! I think it should be required reading for every citizen. We need to know what to expect so we can at least be in the proper mindset. I’ve been aware of this threat for years just from a solar flare. With the solar maximum expected in 2012 or 2013 (and an exceptionally large one at that), I think it couldn’t be more timely! Thank you sir!

  50. Go with what turns you on. I believe in going for CCNA voice, wireless, or security. Once you get one of those certifications, you can then go for the CCNP. Professional certifications will usually renew your certifications even in CCNA voice with one of the 4 CCNP tests.

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