While camping in the Adirondacks teenage best friends Doug and Loop fall in with Ernie and her belligerent brother, as a Soviet missile attack heralds the beginning of a dangerous war with biological weapons and the entire country enters a state of chaotic emergency conditions.
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The human race ends not with a bang but with a whimper, in this nightmarish novel. Baird ( Finding Fever , Walk Out a Brother ) presents the face of modern war in terms that are on a personal level, making his story's message even more chilling. Teenagers Doug and Loop are on a camping trip in the Adirondacks, where they hear a series of strange sounds one night. Next day, other hikers tell them that the Soviets have attacked the U.S. with missiles, and that the country is in a state of emergency. On the way to a ranger station, the boys meet up with redheaded Ernie and her bitter older brother Orin. From the health precautions that the government orders citizens to take, Loop surmises that the Soviets used biological weapons containing a lethal airborne fungus. The four teens set out for Doug's grandfather's house. Along the way, they see the ordered normality of life disintegrate into violent chaossymbolized by the ever-growing flocks of crows winging hysterically through the sky. Over an abandoned ham radio, they learn that the fungus, and the virus that the Americans used to counterattack, have infiltrated the entire planet; mankind is doomed. One by oneexcept for Orin, who makes his own endthe protagonists succumb to the insidious disease. This is a powerful, horrifying book. Its theme, strong language and violence may make it unsuitable for the younger end of the recommended readership; it is definitely not for the squeamish. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 7-9 Baird's well-written drama is set at the end of humankind, as the Soviet Union and the United States exchange biological bombs. Four teenagers hiking in the Adirondacks and a well-known folksinger who is native to the region are the main characters. (The folksinger adds a laid-back touch to the story but little else, unless you count some murky, anti-establishment song lyrics.) The small group trudges across the hills, squabbling all the way, as they try to escape inevitable death. Not much is resolved, except that the girl hiker manages to sleep with Loop and then with Doug when Loop dies. An added twist is a woman President who is pictured as being as devious and as ineffectual as any other national leader. Baird comes up with good imagery at times, such as crows rising from the trees "like sheets of black carbon paper fluttered by a fitful wind." But there are some unanswered questions. Why does the bomb kill humans but not the crows or deer? What does the group hope to accomplish when they finally do get to where they are going? The theme is dismal. Only Baird's good writing makes the book successful at all. No character is developed to any great depth. Most disturbing, perhaps, is the relative ease with which all of the characters accept their fate. Robert E. Unsworth, Scarsdale Junior High School, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books. Library Binding. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0060203609I5N00
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Library Binding. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Light shelf wear and minimal interior marks. Bookseller Inventory # G0060203609I3N10
Book Description Many: Harper & Row, 1988, Many, 1988. Cloth. Book Condition: very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st. Cloth. very Good/Very Good. 1st. Hard Back. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Rebound Library with no library markings.The hard cover has very little wear. The jacket has a scratch or cut across the middle. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hard Back. Bookseller Inventory # CC 06564
Book Description Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition - First Printing. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 007171
Book Description HarperCollins, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1988. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. 1st ed. Fine in fine dj. Bookseller Inventory # 93634
Book Description HarperCollins Children's Book Group, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1988. Cloth Hardback. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. 230pp "A haunting story about a long-standing friendship between two teenagers." Removable, protective mylar cover over dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 51098
Book Description Harper & Row, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Mylar protected dustjacket ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 37970
Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books, 1988. Library Binding. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0060203609