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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Much better then the movie!
I remember when this book, and then the movie came out. Chilling!
Still relevant almost 50 years after it was written. Absorbingly despressing, however, it will make you think.
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.
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