On the Beach – Nevil Shute

On the Beach

Written in 1957, this is the book my father said ruined my life after reading it in the early 1960s. I just read it again as a Kindle eBook. It is still haunting and rings true. I am of the Drop-Duck-Cover generation. Once a week, while in elementary school, the air-raid sirens would sound their plaintive wail, we would climb (en masse) under our desks and cover our necks with interlaced fingers. This was done with the absurd notion that we would actually survive a thermonuclear blast. Bullshit.

This was the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was real. We came close to wiping the human species from planet Earth more than once. We’re apt to do it again. Scary stuff, scary times. I was surprised how well this book held up all these years. It’s worth the read even if fatalistic and depressing. I’m not sure my father was right when he said it ruined my life, but it did impact my thinking at that young age.

WB Sepia IMG_2747

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Photographer, Writer and World Traveler

Lima, Peru


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