Monday, March 26, 2007

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

I am so disturbed by this book I don't even know where to begin! It was copyrighted in 1959. Of course a lot of stuff is very outdated but overall the ideas are still very real. Russia attacks with atomic bombs and wipes out most of the US in one day. I read this particular book for a book group where we only read TJed's 5 pillar certification books. I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say about it and the feelings and thoughts it brought to their awareness.

On the front cover it describes the book as, "The startling novel of the end of the world and the day after." yep that is what it was all about. I don't know why this book is causing me so much anxiety. I think on many levels it just scares me to not be ready for a change in my life brought on from a disaster. I am very content each day with what I know and love all around me. There is that itchy feeling in the back of my mind telling me I am stupid to be so passive in preparing myself and my family for "the end of the world". I shouldn't just be sitting here waiting for change and knowing that I could prepare myself better but I don't.

Our 72 hour kit is far from ready for a disaster. I live in Earthquake land, what am I thinking? I lived through a house fire destroying practically everything we own yet I can't get myself to face reality and rebuild. When I think about all that was lost in the fire, one side of me says, what a waste the stuff I had ready ended up being, it was just burnt. We were waiting to use it in an emergency and it was all destroyed so what is the use? The other side is saying, I shouldn't forget the blessings that rained down on us from outside sources probably because we were trying to the best of our ability to be ready for a disaster, maybe the Lord blessed us for the effort...I don't know. As I read this book I had the urge most of the time to just get up and scream or run. There is so much to do and so many things that can happen. I really have no control over most of it. I will just have to deal with it when it is sitting in my lap.

I think the book wanted to scare people into waking up to the reality of a war happening right in our neighborhood. Maybe it wanted to remind us that we can't depend on the government to just give us hand outs when life is hard. You will be on your own especially if the government is completely wiped out. What are you going to do? You can roll over and die or get up and dig in.

Most of the people that survived in the book were just lucky and then when they survived longer it came down to resources available and the knowledge to use them. They also pulled the strengths of their neighbors and their knowledge combined sustained them enough to keep going on.

I wear glasses. If my glasses get broken then I am pretty much blind and won't be able to do a lot of the things I can do now. The glasses won't be able to be replaced very easily if there isn't resources to use for the making of glasses. I can't make a new pair myself. This is scary. Something so simple and so taken for granted really makes a big difference every day of my life.

In the book the library wasn't destroyed and it became a very important and busy place. So many people needed to know how to do things and you could find that in books and teach yourself. I'm glad I can read and I am glad I have a library card, maybe that should be on the disaster preparedness list!

I wish I knew how to salt and preserve fresh meat. I also wish I had a few doctor skills. Something useful would also be knowing how to use a ham radio.

hmmm, we need more candles, canned food, a fresh water source and I wish I had a large pot. In the book the people run out of salt. I forgot how important this was to life. We can't live without it, too much is bad but none is deadly.

Some of the more inspiring parts of the book was when they were talking about hope. Despite all the odds and all the horrible stuff around them people were able to rise up and take courage. They started rebuilding and they didn't give up.

In the book they talk about this too:
"Toynbee theory of challenge and response, applies not only to nations but individuals. Some nations and some people melt in the heat of a crisis and come apart like fat in the pan. Others meet the challenge and harden."

Which will you be like, fat in a pan or will you harden and meet the challenge?

This was a Healing Book for me. I recommend it to anyone that is planning for the unknown future of the Earth in an upcoming FHE lesson. :) No seriously it had some very good ideas for what to expect when the lights go out in our nation.

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