Review: ‘One Second After’
RATING: 4 out of 5
Written in 2009, One Second After by William Forstchen is the fictional story of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States.
The book may be fiction but electromagnetic pulse is all too real.
EMP is created by the detonation of a high altitude nuclear device, and ruins practically anything electronic. Automobiles, airplanes, computers, phones- all will be worthless after an EMP attack.
The book focuses on a small town in North Carolina and how the inhabitants deal with the aftermath of the disaster.
The protagonist is John Matherson, a former U.S. Army Colonel.
One Second After follows him and the town’s inhabitants through the disaster as they realize that the electricity is not going to come back on.
With no television and no radio or phone communication, the citizens of Black Mountain are essentially cut off from the rest of the world and must fend for themselves.
The notable exception to their isolation is the nearby interstate which is a river of wandering people who were stranded when the EMP permanently disabled their vehicles.
Nearly every tool or convenience that uses electronics is ruined. The nation now lives in a world much like the 1800’s.
Money becomes worthless and a barter economy emerges. As the food and medicine runs out, there is hunger, desperation, and roving gangs of criminals. Refugees from the interstate and the larger cities threaten to wipe out what little resources are left.
Some difficult choices must be made; some people will survive, but many will not.
This is a grim tale of survival, and is realistic to the point of being disturbing.
William Fortstchen did his homework
The dangers and scenarios illustrated in One Second After are an accurate window into what would happen to the United States in the event of an EMP attack, and what it would take to survive it.
The only reason that this book did not get a 5 out of 5 rating is because I did not like the emotional drama near the end.
Still, this is one of the best survival disaster books that I have read in a long time, and it reminds me of the book Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank.
That is a very big compliment.