ONE YEAR AFTER by William R. Forstchen
October 7, 2015
Six years ago I read a book by William R. Forstchen called ONE SECOND AFTER. I wish we still had some – I’d strongly urge you to read it. Months before its publication this book was cited on the floor of Congress “as a book all Americans should read.” It tells the grim story of how a small community in Black Mountain, NC deals with the aftermath of a nuclear attack on America. The EMP (electromagnetic pulse) fries the power grid, all electronics, and all vehicles built after the 1960s.
John Matherson, a retired Army colonel, now a history professor living in Black Mountain, heads a struggling community that has been thrown back into the middle ages, suffering from starvation, disease, war, and countless deaths. The world as we know it is gone and the survivors must create a new way of life, with all the benefits of modern society cast into the ash heap of history.The book is about a real threat to our way of life, and clearly demonstrates what “could happen.” It is a book of survival – moving with heart and realism.
Now Forstchen returns with ONE YEAR AFTER, picking up just one year after the previous book ends. Black Mountain is beginning to recover, recreating some of those things taken for granted – stable food supply, electricity, communications, and medicine. John Matherson, now the town administrator, works to stabilize his community, and safeguard its citizens from danger. A well-trained and seasoned militia of local residents, mostly teens, polices the borders of the community.
What appears to be the remains of federal government reaches out from Bluemont, Virginia, the new national capital, sending a “federal administrator” to a nearby town. Shortly thereafter, many of the youth of Black Mountain receive notices that they have been drafted into the ARN (Army of National Recovery), including Matherson’s 18 year old daughter.
When Matherson confronts the administrator he is offered a chance to rejoin the US Army, with the rank of major general, and a promise that the number of draftees from his town will be cut in half. However, something doesn’t seem quite right, and as the story unfolds Matherson is faced with the choice of serving the new power base, or leading his community in challenging their legitimacy.
In ONE YEAR AFTER the author fully assumes the role of apocalyptic bell-ringer, with a believable tale of a dark future.
William R. Forstchen is a New York Times bestselling author, with numerous books in diverse subjects ranging from history to science fiction. He also collaborates on New York Times bestselling novels with New Gingrich. Forstchen holds a Ph.D. in history from Purdue University, with specializations in military history and the history of technology. He is currently a faculty fellow and professor of history at Montreat College, near Asheville, North Carolina.