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Book Review: “One Second After”

This book is a work of fiction that summarizes what an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) could do if detonated in the United States.  Think it can’t happen?  Read the US Government’s official report on an EMP attack by clicking here.  This could very well be the greatest threat we face.


In the quaint North Carolina mountain town of Black Mountain, a retired Army Survival, bug out bag, solar storm, Colonel is living a peaceful life as a widowed professor with children when one day the lights go out and don’t come back on.  The power stops and so do all modern vehicles.  Through the next few days those in Black Mountain realize something much larger has happened.  What they eventually learn is that multiple EMP’s have gone off over the US and over other strategic countries around the globe.  Food supplies, water, medicine, communications and all utilities immediately stop.  Local leadership and good community spirit can bring a small town together or break it apart.

About the Author:

Although William Forstchen hasn’t written any books or manuals directly related to survival, this could be one of the most important books you could read.  Let’s hope an EMP or Solar Storm never happens, but if it does, this book outlines what could happen and gives you a lot to think about.  The author has co-written six books with Newt Gingrich, and this book features a forward by Mr. Gingrich as well.  With the growing popularity of “One Second After,” and the subject being discussed recently in the U.S. Senate, you begin and end reading with a feeling that this is a subject you need to think about.  Here is a quick tutorial of an EMP blast and how to prepare  (EMP 101).

Survival Lessons to be learned:

Without spoiling the book for you, we can tell you right now that you will learn several important lessons from this thought provoking book, including:

1. Length of Survival: Can you survive for multiple weeks, to include family members with medical needs? What about multiple months?

2. Modern Equipment: How much do you rely on electronics? Everything from coffee pots to ambulances might be immediately brought to a screeching stop.

3. Distance from home: If you are miles or time zones away from your well supplied home, what will you do?  What if you are separated from your family?  Is your vehicle ready?

4. Mechanical Aptitude: What skills do you have that would benefit your community in times of need?  What tools do you have that work without electricity?  Will fixing a personal computer issue be as important as fixing an automobile engine with a carburetor?

5. Who can help you: Local, State and Federal assistance may not come for weeks, months or longer. Are you ready?

6. Medical: Reliance on modern medicine is heavily focused on throughout this book. Some medical needs can’t prevent this so you need to look at how long your supply will last. An underlying issue is what you can do to prevent yourself from relying on modern medicine.

7. Self Defense: Could you defend your family and yourself in the middle of the night against someone that feels YOU have what THEY need to survive another day???

8. Hunting, Gathering and Farming: How much energy will you have tobug out bag, survival knife, urban survival, water purficiation, bushcraft expend to gather food and how many other people will be looking in the same area?  Can you hunt for small or large game for a few weeks? What about a few months?

9. Focused leadership: Leading a small group or a town is not easy. Is your small town or large city ready for a long-term disaster?

Favorite Part:

I couldn’t stop thinking about this scenario each day for about three to four week after completing the book. The whole book was very thought provoking, and while I may not have a favorite part, the book was very good.


This book has some rather graphic detail and some strong language.  It is a great book, but I would not recommend it for young readers.


One Second After” is a well written piece of literature, that we can learn a lot from.  After reading this book, you might have a different outlook on how the world works.  I would call it a must read for survivalist and preppers.

Click Here to buy it from Amazon.

By Greg T, Former US Army Armor Officer
Contributor to SurvivalCache

Afterword (from the book)

An EMP attack should not be viewed as a Cold War “bolt from the blue” but prepared for as an anticipated asymmetrical “bolt from the gray.”  We have been warned that our country is “vulnerable and virtually unprotected against an EMP attack that could damage or destroy civilian and military critical electronic infrastructure triggering catastrophic consequences that could cause the permanent collapse of our society.”  One second after an EMP attack, it will be too late to ask two simple questions.  What should we have done to prevent this attack and why didn’t we do it? – Captain Bill Sanders, United States Navy

Read a book like “Making the Best of Basics” to make sure your family is prepared for anything.

Photos by:
William Forstchen
Doctor Grymm