> TEOTWAWKI Blog: One Second After (Review)



One Second After (Review)

A month or so ago, I had a long solo-road trip ahead of me. My travels would take me late into the night, so I knew that, aside from copious caffeine, I would need an audiobook of some kind to keep myself awake. In my search for a suitable book, I came across Audible.com's offer for a free trial. While I can't really recommend the trial (they automatically charge you after 2-weeks, and I forgot to cancel my "membership" after this trial period and got dinged for it), I did get one free audiobook download.

I'd heard a lot about One Second After, by William R. Forstchen, and decided to give it a go. One Second After is the story of a small town surviving after an EMP attack knocks out essentially all technology in the continental U.S. The scenario outlined in the book is a nearly complete worst-case scenario for an EMP attack; most experts agree that the a real-world EMP attack would not have the cataclysmic effects described in the book. But, if they did--as feared by survivalists and described in this book--the consequences would be particularly brutal. It would be a true TEOTWAWKI survival situation if there ever was one.

This book takes that frightening possibility--the loss of all electricity-based technology--and runs with it.

One Second After follows the typical "disaster survival" plot formula--disaster strikes, riots and panic over food quickly sets in, locals pull together, raiders/bandits roll in and must be defeated in a final showdown. However, One Second After differs from the typical survival book in its brutal realism. People die--quite miserably--in droves. And not from any "glamorous" causes of death--starvation, infection, disease, and lack of medicine. In a real disaster of this magnitude, these are what would be the killers, not the raider/cannibal armies oft glamorized in survival fiction.

That's not to say that this book does not have the raider/bandits/cannibals that we've all come to know and expect from our survival fiction--it most certainly does. But the focus of the book is the grim realities that these survivors must face--whether they should eat the family dog, how to ration the town's meager food supply or how to prolong the shelf life of precious medicine.

The book is also light on some of the "gear focus" that we typically see in survival fiction--J.W., Rawles' Patriots being the best example. The gun-lingo was spotty, which the average survival reader would note--for example, if I remember correctly, magazines are oft-referred to incorrectly as "clips." I also thought that the book missed an opportunity to cover off on some primitive technologies that would be useful to survivors in this situation--meat preservation, steam/hydro power, etc.

I whole-heartedly recommend One Second After--it is a well-written, alternate look at post-collapse survival. It's a sad, grim and honest book. It doesn't pull any punches or dance around sensitive or less glamorous survival topics. Truly, starvation, disease, infection, lack of sanitation and medical supplies will be the real killers in a disaster of this scale. If you're looking at shaking things up, or feel like you're in a rut with your preps, I especially recommend giving it a read. If you have a friend or family member, who you feel needs a not-so-gentle wake up call, One Second After could be the ticket--just be careful that you don't scare them too much!

As for the audiobook itself, the narration was spotty in parts. The narrator does a perfectly good job on the male characters, but his voices for female characters got quickly on my nerves. Picture an older, 50-something man doing voices for little girls and you'll get the idea. It was distracting and slightly creepy. But hey, it kept me awake on my long drive and cost me $0, so I can't complain too much!

Buy One Second After from Amazon >