One Second After by William R. Forstchen

General Description (from Publisher’s Weekly)
In this entertaining apocalyptic thriller from Forstchen (We Look Like Men of War), a high-altitude nuclear bomb of uncertain origin explodes, unleashing a deadly electromagnetic pulse that instantly disables almost every electrical device in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Airplanes, most cars, cellphones, refrigerators—all are fried as the country plunges into literal and metaphoric darkness. History professor John Matherson, who lives with his two daughters in a small North Carolina town, soon figures out what has happened. Aided by local officials, Matherson begins to deal with such long-term effects of the disaster as starvation, disease and roving gangs of barbarians. While the material sometimes threatens to veer into jingoism, and heartstrings are tugged a little too vigorously, fans of such classics as Alas, Babylon and On the Beach will have a good time as Forstchen tackles the obvious and some not-so-obvious questions the apocalypse tends to raise. Newt Gingrich provides a foreword. (Mar.)
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Why the President Should Read It
Unlike climate change, there is no debate on the science behind electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Simply put, anything electronic within line-of-sight for hundreds or thousands of miles gets fried when a nuclear device is detonated high above the earth. It wouldn’t take much for a rogue nation such as North Korea or Iran, or even a well-organized terrorist group, to launch 2-3 inexpensive missiles from small ships at sea, have them explode in the upper atmosphere above the United States, and permanently disable every computer in the country, effectively sending us back to 1850 in terms of technology. Yes, we could quickly rebuild the technology in a few years, but what would happen during that time? Tens, if not hundreds, of millions would die in the first year of starvation and disease. We would be completely vulnerable to conventional attacks or invasion by other countries.

While the book is fiction, the possibility of such an attack and the consequences are quite real, and worthy of attention as a matter of national defense. The message of the book is not that there is no hope of protecting the country from an EMP attack, but rather that there are concrete steps we can take to protect ourselves from such an attack, and to recover more quickly in the case of a successful attack.

Personal Notes
If you need any motivation to build up your food storage or learn to hunt, this is the book.