I have owned this book 25-30 years; it is part of my permanent collection. It is one of the most riveting books I have ever read, and I have read it at least a half dozen times. It takes the reader into the lives and thoughts of a handful of people in Australia. Australian inhabitants are among the last survivors in the world after nuclear war. How the final survivors deal with the last days of their lives-- store their garden furniture for a spring they will never see, drain oil from cars up on blocks they will never drive again, put hay in fields for cattle that will momentarily outlive them. And finally, make decisions about passing with sicker spouses and family members, or outlining them for a tiny moment. After facilitating the end of the world, the various world governments thoughtfully provide little red boxes, free of charge, with a painless pill to free yourself of radiation sickness. And of course, an equally painless syringe, so you can also put down your pets--and kids.
Telling the story of a group of post-nuclear war citizens in Australia, this book is both frightening and horrifying. They try to come to terms with what has happened and what is to come, while at the same time living in a dichotomy, with one couple planning out their garden in one conversation, and how to end their lives with cyanide in the next. This book is much darker than "Alas, Babylon" but is a classic and the mental images Shute creates will stay with you for life. Highly recommended.
i have read this book and seen the movie a number of times and never get over the images of people on the edge at the end of the world.
if you ever read this you will be more gentle with the world and look for peace everytwhere...and will never forget about the coke bottle
This is both one of the best and one of the saddest books I have read in my lifetime. The lives of a number of people are followed in the last year of their lives, after nuclear war. What they eat, how they tell their children, parents, pets and homes good-bye. I was drawn directly into their lives.
Fantastic book by an author who mostly wrote fiction which are in some cases slightly a notch up from the Harlequin genre....some of which are very good. This one is probably his best.
All out nuclear war devastates entire world. Submarine sent out from small naval colony who are dying, know it, located down under to find out if there is anyone else left anywhere?
Nightmare descriptions of the west coast of US....
Highly recommend if you have not yet read this one, you should!!
Following the war, a radioactive cloud begins to sweep southwards poisoning everything in its path. An American submarine captain is among the survivors left sheltering in Australia, preparing with the locals for the inevitable. Despite his memories of his wife, he becomes close to a young woman struggling to accept the harsh realities of their situation. Then a Morse code signal is picked up and the submarine must set sail through the bleak ocean to search for signs of life.
This is a famous book about the period right after the nuclear Armegeddon. It is a bit dated to the 50's-60's, but is a very good story.
On the Beach is a horrifying portrayal of how people react when they know they will die. This is not the story of those who have an atomic bomb dropped on them, with bodies and raging war in front of their eyes, but rather the view of those who saw the whole war, did not take part in it, but eventually face the same consequences as those who waged it. It shows how these members of society act to preserve themselves and the lives they lead, and at a certain point give in to everything they wanted to do to begin with. It is hopelessness and acceptance, wrapped up in a disturbing package.
I remember when this book, and then the movie came out. Chilling!
Very colorful characterization and the plotting was just as fine. The circumstances described probably aren't very applicable anymore but it is an interesting story, nonetheless. I think after reading all of the reviews here and on other sites I was expecting a more survivalist story so I was not prepared for the ending or the pervasive tone of sadness throughout the book.
Still relevant almost 50 years after it was written. Absorbingly despressing, however, it will make you think.
I read this a number of years ago. Excellent apocalyptic novel dealing with total decimation of the human race by nuclear war.
Much better then the movie!
I had seen this movie years ago, & it was recently aired again (I think because of the "end of the world predictions") recently. I enjoyed it again & thought I would like to read it. Radiation from a senseless war has spread all over the world except for Australia, & the people there await their deaths, coping in different ways. I liked the book very much & it did not seem that "dated" although it is set in the late 1950s, I believe.
An interesting look at Mr. Shute's expectations of what world-ending crisis would look like. Maybe it's the fact that I didn't grow up in the 1950's, but none of what was going on seemed accurate to me and my expectations. The last 20 pages were, for me, the only interesting part of the whole book.
Depressing, but a good read. Very interesting!
I love apocalyptic literature and as this one goes, it's a pretty good read and holds your interest. What differs in this book is that it dealt more with the personal and emotional experiences of the characters, not the chaos of a disrupted society as seen in most apocalyptic literature.
I found this book to be quite a bit out dated and not easy to relate to in a sense that it does not take place in the western hemisphere. Otherwise, this is a great book. The style is slow but you get a real feeling of what is going to happen. I found it amazing that the general consensus of the characters is a resigned acceptance. Perhaps they are like that in Australia...? I highly recommend this book to those that appreciate history and/or what-if scenarios.
This is an early post-apocalypse novel (1957) of the penultimate war initiated, in of all places, Albania. North of Capricorn everything not blasted away is dead from radiation. Slowly, the wind is bringing the radiation further south. What does one do when the means and approximate time of the end is known? Disturbing at best: maybe even more so today than during the cold war.
The last generation...innocent victims of an accidental war, living out the last days, making plans that will never be carried out,making do with what they have--however temporary it might be--hoping for a miracle that will not come. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, and the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end.
After a nuclear war, radiation slowly drifts southwards, gradually killing off humanity there as it has already been killed off in the Northern Hemisphere. The end is less than a year away, yet Australians, and a few American naval refugees seek to maintain their daily lives in the face of doom, and even send an exploratory submarine northwards.
From the back cover:
A wold-wide nuclear war-launched by accident-leaves only a handful of survivors. They hope for a miracle, but they know they are doomed.
How does a person live when he knows how he is going to die? Some carry on as usual...a few destroy themselves in a last mad grasp at life.
A shocker. "The most important novel of the atomic age. if you read only one book a year, this should be the one."-Washing Post
Title - "ON THE BEACH" by Nevil Shute.
They are the last generation, the innocent victims of an accidental war, living out their last days, making do with what they have, hoping for a miracle. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end....
Following a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere, the inhabitants of a small Australian community await the inevitable after-effects of the bombs to reach them.
The last generation....innocent victims of a n accidental war. living out the last days, making plans that will never be carried out, making do with what they have--however temporary it might be--hoping for the miracle that will not come. As the deadly rain moves ever closer, and the world as we know it winds toward an inevitable end.
Written around 1957. When I read it long ago (1970s or 80s), I remember it being so matter of fact, so non-melodramatic. That's the 1950s for you.