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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect storytelling, simple but so so effective
Nuclear war viewed through the eyes of a small isolated Florida community.

It seemed to me from reading the blurb that any story that didn't move location in its entirety must be somewhat lacking in its lasting appeal to the reader. Oh how I was wrong.

First off, I am a big sucker for this kind of apolcalyptic tale, stories where a small group of...
Published on 15 Sep 2007 by M. T. Gibbs

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look........
'Alas, Babylon' is a novel that falls into the post disaster category, being about a Florida community trying to survive the aftermath of a nuclear war. It could be acccused of being a 'cosy catastrophe' - despite a continental holocaust little really bad happens to the main character and he actually seems to benefit from the experience in many ways...
Published on 12 Mar 2006 by no_relation_to_ben


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect storytelling, simple but so so effective, 15 Sep 2007
By 
M. T. Gibbs - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
Nuclear war viewed through the eyes of a small isolated Florida community.

It seemed to me from reading the blurb that any story that didn't move location in its entirety must be somewhat lacking in its lasting appeal to the reader. Oh how I was wrong.

First off, I am a big sucker for this kind of apolcalyptic tale, stories where a small group of people watch society fall apart around them are perfect for portraying not only the often overlooked fragility of modern life but also the inherent animal strength of mankind forced to survive in a world torn apart.

Because of this Alas Babylon is one of my favourite ever novels, vying with the Day of the Triffids for that crown but where that story is fantastical and science fiction this is oh so real and chillingly possible.

I could go on for pages praising this book and its author but I won't! Suffice to say, this is an incredible novel. Not for fantastical settings or powerful character dynamics but for the simple and yet effective style in which it illustrates the world we know (albeit a somewhat old fashioned world) being blown apart and an average guy striving to look after those he loves.

For anyone who ever looked at the world around them and thought... What if? What if suddenly everything we rely on and base ourselves on was stripped away. Would I survive? Read it and find out.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 18 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I have an affinity for post-apocolyptic novels. I was hesitant to purchase this novel because I was afraid that it would be too dated for me to enjoy. As it turned out, Alas, Babylon IS dated, but not so that it interfers with the story.
What I enjoyed the most was recognizing the context of the times that this story was written and the writer's attempt to address social issues of that era. Pat Frank made an obvious attempt to give women power; the President is a woman and a young girl saves the day by catching fish when no one else could. This is interesting because the battle for passage of the Civil Rights Amendment hadn't really begun when this book was written. Although I did find his discription of the women's need to have a man to take care of rather outdated. But, it was interesting because I can't imagine someone writing those types of stereotypes today. Also, the writer touches (however slightly) on southern segregation. I felt that he tip-toed around this subject a little too lightly, but I don't think that he was writing about that subject so his light treatment of racism and segregation didn't bother me too much.
All in all I enjoyed this novel immensly. I wouldn't be put off by the fact that it was written forty years ago either.
Now, can anyone recommend any other post-apocolyptic novels to me? Please send any recommendations to: Aphrodite0000@yahoo.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!, 19 July 1999
By A Customer
I thought this book would be dated but when you read it you realize that human nature and the will to survive is never dated material. Neither is a good book! You come to know and care about the characters - what is happening around the world is secondary to what is happening to them directly. This is their story - not a story of how the world is coping. Read it and enjoy it for what it is - a scary, but uplifting story.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look........, 12 Mar 2006
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
'Alas, Babylon' is a novel that falls into the post disaster category, being about a Florida community trying to survive the aftermath of a nuclear war. It could be acccused of being a 'cosy catastrophe' - despite a continental holocaust little really bad happens to the main character and he actually seems to benefit from the experience in many ways. However, it is well written and since it was originally published in 1959 it gives an insight into the politics and societial structures of the time. If (like me) you've enjoyed the catastrophe literature of John Wyndham and John Christopher it's certainly worth a look......pity about the really flimsy covers of this edition though........
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, a must read and still relevant today !, 2 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Hardcover)
This book is excellent. One has only to think of Yugoslavia or the worst-case-scenarios of the Y2K problem to see how timely this book really is. It is a study of survival What makes it unique amongst such stories is that the focus is on the survival of the community as a whole, not just an individual. Most stories of the collapse of civilization are about its effect on one individual. The collapse of civilization becomes nothing more than a backdrop for exciting and heroic personal adventures. This novel was first published during the Cold War (in 1960) nearly 40 years ago. Since the Cold War is over, isn't it hopelessly out of date? Sadly, it is not. One has only to watch the evening news to see how grimly relevant it is.
Pat Frank states in the Foreword that his purpose was to show realistically how terrible a nuclear war would be. His theme is stated and restated, that there will be no winners, no victors in such a war. All will be destroyed. Ironically, this is the one area where the book is out-of-date. It was written before we knew about nuclear winter. Also, too many atomic bombs fall. The radiation level would be much higher than he portrays. Realistically, there would be no survivors.
This flaw is what makes the book relevant and valuable. Forget a nuclear war between two superpowers. The true subject of the book is to look at what happens to a small town that is suddenly and totally isolated. What happens to the ordinary citizen? What happens to Randy, his family and his friends?
Alas, Babylon is utterly realistic. The town has to learn to defend itself -- so that it can then cope with the truly serious problems of survival. I'm not going to say what solutions are found.
I am going to recommend reading this book.
One only has to watch the news to realise how real this story is. It could happen anytime, you only have to look at the Middle East and Yugoslavia to see how real this book is.
Read it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alas, the passing of time, 4 Mar 2009
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Paperback)
Written in 1959 and one of the first influential apocalyptic novels about the threat of nuclear holocaust, the tale follows the decisions of Randy Bragg, a Korean War veteran and failed local politician, who is warned of the coming war by his brother, an Air Force colonel. The outbreak of war is almost an accident - one 'minor' incident quickly escalates - but there is an air of inevitability about it. Two armed camps are facing up to one another, there is a gunslinger mentality (not to mention bombers) in the air, and there's a macho itch needs scratching ... someone, somewhere has to discover who is the fastest gun in the West, or maybe East.

Bragg is left with other survivors in a small town. No one knows what has happened. It seems clear there have been nuclear strikes against most major US cities and missile bases, but none of the survivors know what has happened. Has the war ended? Is it still going on? Is there anyone else still alive? Bragg takes a lead in organising people locally.

There is something reassuring about the novel, and therefore something glaringly unrealistic. While the nuclear exchange between the USA and Soviet Union has destroyed their urban areas and killed countless millions, somehow the US government manages to continue functioning ... the surviving senior politician takes charge and tries to reorganise the nation and its government. Neville Shute's "On the Beach" portrays the few survivors of nuclear war waiting for the fallout cloud to kill them, "Alas Babylon" suggests that the end is far from nigh. Indeed, one of its concluding paragraphs poses the question, "Who Won?"

It's an entertaining enough and well enough written novel, but it does suffer from its harrowing sense of optimism ... or is that blind nationalism? Rather than a bleak, truly apocalyptic warning of the dangers posed by nuclear war, "Alas Babylon" offers not merely a conviction that survival is possible, but an appeal to 'American values' ... Bragg seizes the initiative locally and sets about rebuilding his community in a parody of the American Western.

The novel presents post-apocalyptic images of recolonisation, of the hardy settlers forging law and order out of the wilderness (Bragg shoots and lynches a number of outlaws). There is no genocidal removal of the native population - we assume the Soviets have all been killed, we do not know if anyone else in Europe (or Asia, or elsewhere) has survived, or, indeed, has been involved in the war. The novel is purely about survival of the USA and recovery (albeit it with a depleted population). Rather than serve as a warning, rather than appear as a radical piece of science fiction, it can be seen as glib in places, leaving major questions unanswered and the central issue of the potential nuclear destruction of the planet treated as ultimately escapable and survivable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic. If movie was made from book OCSAR, 11 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Turtleback)
My wife and I have a a fairly extensive library, 300 + hardback, only God knows how many paperbacks, and that does not include all of the books donated to the library over the years. Every reader at one point in time, wants to "read a good book", but what. We always reach for "Alas, Babylon". We have worn out 3 paperbacks, and are working on the library edition. We each must have read the book at least 50 times over the past ten years. A good solid read, A friend in book form, and a book that I don't think will ever go out of print. Because of this book, I think Pat Frank has gained immortality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars encouraging story of cooperation and survival, 15 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Hardcover)
I read this book in early '70's. I've loved it every since, and have read it many times. Sometimes I'll just pick it up to read it here and there.
To me, the book is an encouraging story of cooperation and survival. Also, of the courage and determination of the characters. They didn't sit around and whine about the Good Old Days before The Day (the Bombs Fell); they faced problems as they arose and dealt with them. In their post-atomic war lives, some aspects of their lives were actually better than they had been before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great to see it back in print!, 4 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Hardcover)
I read this book over twenty years ago....and was hooked right away. My father had been in Civil Defense, so I had read some of the technical texts available about fallout and the other effects of a nuclear confrontation. Alas Baylon was pretty amazing for it's portrayal of a nuclear war as "survivable", since it was written during the time of M.A.D. thinking. Now with the possibility of limited nuclear strikes by terrorists (scary thought), the scenario of Alas Babylon ring truer than before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Alas, Babylon" will rock your world! (literally), 5 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Alas, Babylon (Hardcover)
This is one of the most awesome books I've ever read! In my English class, my teacher assigns one novel a month for the class to read...This is the first one I've read all the way thru! One main reason I was able to get into this book so much is because I live near where the fictional Fort Repose would be. It really hits home. Not only is this novel exciting and chilling, it makes you think. I will definitely be reading it again!
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Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics)
Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics) by Pat Frank (Paperback - 5 July 2005)
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