Monday, December 06, 2010

SHTF: What If Nuclear War Books

I spent part of the weekend researching Civil Defense again as well as other nuclear war subjects. It amazes me that in this day and age when we have nearly a dozen nuclear powers (up from five during the Cold War) our leaders still hope they magically make the problem go away with letters and meetings. They are not succeeding (look at the increase of members in the "club") and instead should focus some attention on dealing with the possibility somebody may get the idea of detonation one on someone else.

Along the way, I was reminded of two books which deal with the outcome of nuclear war and the effect on America and the rest of the world.

Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois was a strange book I recall seeing in the book store when it came out and which deals with America in 1972 - ten years after the Cuban Missile Crisis developed into full scale nuclear war between the USA and Soviet Union. Fortunately, the event never happened, but the author takes to possible ball and runs with it.

America, post-nuclear war, is a third world nation receiving financial aid from Great Britain and a shadow of its former self. With several cities nearest to military bases circa 1962 destroyed or heavily damaged, most of the US is limping along trying to get by under continued martial law.

The story involves a reporter's attempt to uncover what actually occured behind the scenes in October 1962 which led to war. Did President Kennedy barrel headlong into the conflaguration, or was it due to some behind the scenes manipulation by others? Along the way, the reporter, with the aid of a British agent, also uncovers a sinister, secret plot by the UK to rejoin the US to the Empire. Interesting take on the moment the US and the Soviet Union almost came to war.

The other book, WarDay by Whitney Streiber, concerns the post-nuclear US following a preemptive, late 80's attack by the Soviets. Again, the story follows a reporter a decade after the war as he and a companion travel the United States recording what has happened to the rest of the country.

With society dependent upon pre-electronic ignition vehicles (war EMP took out modern cars), letter writing instead of telephones, and a gold based currency, the main characters venture across a hazardous and varied country.

The US is divided unintentionally into different regions. Some, like Aztlan, are semi-autonomous territories operating outside of the federal government, yet recognized by foreign powers. Others, like California, are the new seat of the federal government and which exist under strict police powers to keep illegal aliens (from the rest of the USA) out.

WarDay reminded me of a personal story at the time of publication where a co-worker, upon completing the book, went out and purchased a used, pre-electronic 1960's pickup truck and a few ounces of gold as a hedge against the suggested events of WarDay. Needless to say, both purchases were based upon his own "take aways" from the book. It was that convincing of a story.

Both books, while somewhat dated, make the reader think about plausible scenarios and how they could come to fruition again.  Both are excellent reads and are good suggestions for Christmas gifts for the "Don't Get it (Yet)" in your household as they are mainstream published works.

Pick up both at Amazon

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