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By the Waters of Babylon
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By the Waters of Babylon

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Do your students enjoy a good laugh? Do they like to be scared? Or do they just like a book with a happy ending? No matter what their taste, our Creative Short Stories series has the answer.

We've taken some of the world's best stories from dark, musty anthologies and brought them into the light, giving them the individual attention they deserve. Each book in the series has
Hardcover, Creative Short Stories, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Creative Education (first published July 31st 1937)
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By the Waters of Babylon is a post-apocalyptic short story written in 1937. That's right, a post-apocalyptic story made before the A-bombs were dropped and even before World War II even started. The book is very much ahead of its time, and I respect it for that. However, judging it purely on entertainment value the book fails. It follows a young man as he enters the forbidden "Place of the Gods" which we soon discover is a bombed city. It seems that finding out that it takes place in the future ...more
I read this in the morning of the day people are to gather all over the world to move world leadership to stop the destruction of the world's climate and at the end of a week in which Congress voted again to go to war. Stephen Vincent Benet was a prophet and this is his lamentation. Let us pray with it.
I think I read this story in 8th grade, or that was at least the first time I heard about it. What I love about this story is how well Benet convinces you in the beginning that you are reading a story from an ancient time, as opposed to what the story really is: a story set in the future in which an asteroid or nuclear attack has destroyed our cities, infrastructure, and population. Benet’s word choice gives us the sense of a primitive people, and in a sense they are because human history has be ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thanks to my 9th and 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Bob Schevchik, for having us read brilliant science fiction. He had us read a ton of short stories. If you haven't read any SS since high school or college, run to the library! When well done, they are priceless.
Christopher Brehm
Great first person descriptions of a post apocalyptic world where our everyday world is described from the perspective of someone unfamiliar with it.

The human quest for knowledge is sometimes dangerous but cannot be extinguished.
Andy Phillips
I bought this book without realising that it is VERY short. In fact, I read the whole book in less than 45 minutes. It's clear from the way that it's written that it's aimed at children, but my copy even has a selection of exercises at the end, so it was obviously produced with the classroom in mind.

Aside from the shortness of the story, it's passable. It concerns a priest's son in a primitive society who makes a journey into a forbidden area as part of a kind of self-imposed initiation rite. It
I really liked this short story. I love how the story starts off with just background information, but then the point of the story really hits you. It makes you think about things like "What will mass-destruction in our world look like?" "What major living thing will come after humans?" "Why did the author choose to write a post-apocalyptic story?" This book is truly great and one of my favorite quotes in this story is "It's more important to lose one's life than one's soul".
Yay. More required reading. It was just kinda blah. I mean, the character John was okay. He wasn't anything to write home about. I like the NYC references but not the rest of the story. It was very dystopian but with no real suspense. Eyah!
Revisited an old favorite that I hadn't read in many years. More complex than I remembered. To avoid spoilers, I'll only say that it is a story type that I favor! Recommended short story.
I wasn't sure if I could get into a war short story, but I did. This short story is so much more than that. Accepting the past and moving onto the present. Unconditionally. I was totally engaged
gay sunflower
short and amazign fuk
Greg Fanoe
I read this as an interesting example of early post-apocalyptic literature. It's a curiosity for that reason, I suppose, but there's not much of a reason to really read it. I won't be checking out Mr. Benet's work in any more detail unless somebody tells me otherwise.
Thought-provoking, terrific little read. Hard to believe it's such an old story. At first I wasn't wild about the overly simple narration, but after a few minutes I realized that it's actually quite effective. The concept is probably not as shocking as it may have been at one point, given the recent surge in dystopian novels, but should still be appreciated.
Nov 27, 2011 Janelle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I like when authors write about our society from an outsider's point of view because it's always interesting to see what they find as strengths and weaknesses. This short story will give my 10th graders plenty to talk about on topics about knowledge, point of view, and beliefs.
Rana Osama
A great story that provides so many great ideas that contrast with our real world these days, regarding the beliefs of the people of the hill, and the external and internal conflicts that john was having throughout the story.
I use this short story in my English 10 class. It is so much fun to watch the students attempt to figure out exactly what is going on, where it is going on, and what might have happened in the past. It's awesome.
Great story to read with students. I use it along with "The Portable Phonograph" to discuss futuristic writing and to discuss historical events related to the stories.
I read this in preparation for observing a freshman Humanities class. Really enjoyed it and looking forward to hearing what a group of 14 year-olds perceive.
Brenda Agaro (the wandering ant)
I first read this back in my tenth grade English class. Like Sherryl Jordan's WINTER OF FIRE, this story got me into the post apocalyptic genre.
Nostalgia Reader
"Truth is a hard dear to hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth."

3.5 stars.
Great short story. If you've never read it, the full story is available online.
It was an interesting take on how the humans after mass destruction would view us.
I wasn't really expecting that ending at the beginning!
Sep 05, 2013 Angie added it
HATED IT!!!!!!!!!!!
The north and the west and the south are good hunting grounds but it is forbidden to go east.

Eziamaka marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
Motaher marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2015
Agustin Schiavon
Agustin Schiavon marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2015
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Stephen Vincent Benét was born July 22, 1898, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, into a military family. His father had a wide appreciation for literature, and Benét's siblings, William Rose and Laura, also became writers. Benét attended Yale University where he published two collections of poetry, Five Men and Pompey (1915), The Drug-Shop (1917). His studies were interrupted by a year of civilian milita ...more
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