Earth Abides

Earth Abides

Book - 2020
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Returning from a field trip, Isherwood Williams discovers that a mysterious plague has destroyed human civilisation during his absence and makes his way to San Francisco, where he finds a few survivors who build a small community, living like their pioneer ancestors.
Publisher: Boston : Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020
Copyright Date: ©1949
ISBN: 9780358380214
Branch Call Number: STE
Characteristics: xix, 426 pages ; 21 cm

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emilyhart66 Jun 14, 2020

Read this book the first time when I was in 8th grade -- I'm 68 now -- and have revisited it many times. This is one of the best of the apocalyptic, social commentary novels. Interestingly Stephen King was inspired in writing The Stand by George Stewart's Earth Abides. A line from Stewart's book reverberates through King's novel and some of the characters have subtle similarities. I would suggest these as companion reads. Earth Abides was also done as a radio play and is available in a collection from Radio Spirits.

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kdbt
May 31, 2020

Earth Abides by George Stewart is one of those perfect books that transend time. Although it was written in 1949, there is NOTHING stodgy or old-fashioned about this book at all, just a gentle, compelling story of how humans might adapt after a far-reaching flu pandemic (yeah, I know...) decimates Earth's population. Stewart tells a profound and thoughtful tale from one man's view, and I will miss this group of human beings doing their best in an unimaginable situation. Highly recommended.

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INVS
Jul 17, 2019

I'd never heard of this book and so glad I've read it now - it will stay with me for a long, long time. I wish readers born after 1955 would read this & be thoughtful, consider the possibilities, opposed to just thinking some old guy wrote this in the last century. There is much to consider in these pages. If we started in caves, will we return to caves after some devastation? It reads like a novel, the characters are well drawn, as are the locations. I don't see it as Si-fi and find it appropriate for most any age, depending on maturity or interest. I'm so glad it does not contain zombies, vampires, trashy romance or superhumanoids.

At times I kept reflecting on Station Eleven & how those people searched out the 'how to' and the ingenuity of improvising methods for a new way of life. In this scenario, they seem to have reverted to frolicking puppies, to living off the land of scraps instead of living off the land in a productive manner , then they simply live in their own filth and trash. I'm impressed how the author touched on so many relevant subjects. Many have called this read outdated - I suppose so if one believes it couldn't happen to our present world.

This author can testify to the necessity of cleanliness to keep diseases at bay, as all those diseases will readily surface after a devastation. For those living in earthquake zones this proves the necessity for some form of order, as there may be none. Order, laws, civility, the lack of emergency aid will not be available to many.

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Lindaleyva
Sep 15, 2017

Why is this book listed as being published in 2006? It was first published in 1949!

m
mawall
Jun 27, 2016

This was on Justin Cronin list of five favorite post apocalyptic books. It is a great read. The world changes with most of the population killed in a flu pandemic. With little population skills decrease and people resort to bows and arrows. An older book published in 1949 but a great read.

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BWilsoned
Jun 19, 2015

I'll be thinking about this book long after I've written this review, so I'll just say that it is an amazing story. Isherwood "Ish" Williams somehow survives the disease that fells 99% of human life and carries on as he did 'before the Great Disaster', observing things--people, animals, ecology, geology, climate, weather. Though his initial encounters with other survivors don't incline him to seek out others, he finally meets Em, a strong and courageous woman, with whom he will sow the seeds (both literally and figuratively) of humankind's future. I agree with the Christian Science Monitor in its assessment that "The book has more though-challenging elements than a shelfful of ordinary novels." There are so many things to think about beyond the mere survival of humans, and the book is full of asides about how the earth is faring after the "Great Disaster", which can hardly be a useful term as far as the earth is concerned. I cannot even begin to list the quotes I found memorable and thought-provoking. Go get a copy of this book--I'll be off to the 2nd-hand bookshops right away--and read it.

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Russ_A
May 28, 2015

This classic work of post-apocalyptic science fiction sets the standard by which all future PASF should be judged. It was written in the 1940s and exhibits an almost comical yet refreshing look into the recent past as well as an equally prescient one into the future. My, how things have changed. If your idea of good sci-fi is a space opera with lots of shooting, this isn’t it. Star Wars fans need not apply.

Earth Abides is thoughtful, thought-provoking, literary, and unpredictable. It is in many ways disturbing, yet also hopeful. The author was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, a true scholar and polymath. If you have an IQ below 125 and less than a college degree you are probably going to have trouble in places, for he can be pretentious and pedantic in his writing at times. It tested my vocabulary. Still, the story isn’t hard to follow and the characters are engaging and original. I really enjoyed this book.

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rationallady
Nov 05, 2013

I read this book over 30 years ago and still remember it well. I have thought of it often over the years. I often think of it when I open a can of tunafish, and I've always liked to have an extra supply of tunafish on hand. After the collapse of civilization, people will survive on tunafish for years.

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ljsteph
Nov 05, 2013

I read this book in 1971 and I never forgot it. The only book I have remembered by title. I looked for the book over the years but was not successful in finding it. When I became computer literate I looked it up on used book sites but refused to pay $70 for a copy. The funny thing is that in my memories of it in the past and my rereading it just last month there is very little in common. I remembered it being about how the earth took over, nature reclaiming cities, overgrowing everything, the different plagues of rats and cockroaches. Yet the book only touched on these topics lightly in passing. I thought Ish took his people and traveled more but not so.. Funny how your memory can be so wrong. That is a great lesson. Makes me question my life's memories. But I still enjoyed it the second time.

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thomd
Aug 10, 2012

This post apocalyptic tale is from the perspective one one man, and that works very well. Especially enjoyed how disease and the breakdown of infrastructure tied in with the story of his small community. Very thought provoking, and made more enjoyable by other recent reads - The World Without Us; Genes Germs and Civilization; The Ecotechnic Future. I can see why this is on 6 different "best" science fiction lists.

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waltzingechidna
Sep 28, 2013

waltzingechidna thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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PhillipLouie
Dec 12, 2011

Men go and come, but earth abides

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