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Red Alert

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  772 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
It was the worst of all possible worst-case scenarios in the Cold War - an American general loses his reason and orders a full-scale nuclear attack on the U.S.S.R.
From that premise, Peter George's 1958 novel Red Alert spins a grim tale of just how close to nuclear destruction the world can be. A dying man suffering from the paranoid delusion that he will make the world a b
ebook, 191 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by RosettaBooks (first published January 1st 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,982)
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May 11, 2011 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
I began Red Alert knowing it would be a straightforward thriller about mutually assured destruction and that the satire present in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which is based on the book, would not be present. Essentially, excluding the ending, both the movie and the book are similar in structure and events. The book was simply missing the satire. There was a great deal of military style technicalities and I remember beginning to feel invested when readin ...more
May 20, 2011 Marvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This may be the last review I write. I am told by a semi-reliable source that this is the eve of the end of the world. Tomorrow, May 22nd, 2011, the earth will be destroyed. I was offered a spiritual ticket on something called the S. S. Rapture. However I doubt that I am destined for sainthood and will remain on planet Earth to watch the rest of us perish. My one and only hope is that the end of the world is not nearly as boring as Red Alert.

A little background may be needed here. Red Alert was
May 01, 2015 Corey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Peter George wrote a novel called ‘Red Alert.’ Stanley Kubrick made a movie loosely based on it, calling in both George and Terry Southern to help with the screenplay. Then George wrote another novel called ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ based on that screenplay. This is that book. What’s remarkable about this is how bad this is. ‘Dr. Strangelove’ just might be my favorite film, so I must assume Peter George had little to do with its excellent screenplay. And, even curi ...more
A.L. Sowards
I was introduced to the movie Dr. Strangelove in college, and this is the book the movie was based on. An Air Force general decides the only way to beat the Soviet Union is to strike first, so he initiates a plan designed in case of a nuclear attack on the US that leaves it leaderless, thus the plan doesn’t need a politician’s approval. Thirty-one bombers set out to drop their nukes on the Soviet Union, and no one but the general can stop them or communicate with them.

Bryant created an interest
May 22, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is unique - a novelization of the screenplay to Kubrick's great film (probably the most brilliant, darkly comic anti-war film ever made), written by one of its screenwriters. So obviously the story is great, but unfortunately the book doesn't add much that the film didn't already cover, and also misses the unforgettable performances of Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden. And for some reason the book omitted my two favorite lines from the film: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in ...more
Rich Meyer
Nov 09, 2011 Rich Meyer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
If you're looking at reading this book because the Stanley Kubrick black comedy film Dr. Strangelove was based on it, you might want to put it down and go and try to find the novelization of the actual film. I've read them both, and can tell you that Red Alert had absolutely NONE of the humor of the film.

Red Alert is a straight-forward cold war thriller. In fact, anyone familiar with the book or movie Fail-Safe will find a nearly identical story here. The writers of Fail-Safe actually sued Pete
May 28, 2012 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, politics

I read Peter Bryant's 1958 novel Red Alert, which was the inspiration for the movie Dr. Strangelove. The two diverge in very significant ways that ultimately highlight Stanley Kubrick's creative talents, not to mention Peter Sellers'. The novel is earnest and dead serious. A rogue general (the novel's Quentin becomes Jack D. Ripper in the movie) decides the only way to save the world is to destroy the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal, even though that m
Sean O'Hara
Everyone's familiar with the bizarre history of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the novel is by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick based upon the film by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, which was based upon the novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick ... However, this is nothing compared to the convoluted history of Dr. Strangelove.

In 1958, RAF officer Peter George (using the pseudonym Peter Bryant) wrote Red Alert, a straight thriller about a nuclear war started by a deranged USAF of
Erik Graff
May 28, 2008 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: seeing the movie
Shelves: literature
After seeing this darkly funny movie at Park Ridge's Pickwick Theatre, I went off to the bookstore near the Post Office to purchase the novelization, not knowing that the film had been based on a previous novel by the same primary author, George, entitled Red Alert. The book did not disappoint as it followed the screenplay very closely.

Both Seven Days in May and Failsafe, two other movies about the threat of global war, were released at about the same time, not long after the Kennedy assassinati
May 19, 2013 Jacque rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Would have been a whole lot scarier reading it in 1982, when I was 12 years old and living just across the river from Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. We knew that was a target for Russian missiles. Glad I didn't know about this book then or I wouldn't have slept for weeks.
My first reaction when I got to the ending was - what the hell?!
The point supposedly is the farcical nature of life at times and how worrying serves no purpose. With that end, it serves its purpose. And does it well!
Nov 02, 2008 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of the movie, I enjoyed this book, although someday I think I'd like to read the original novel, "Red Alert," from which this book was based.
Preston Sinclair
Feb 12, 2013 Preston Sinclair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in a row I've read from the war genre, including The Hunger Games, and War by Sebastian Junger. George's war is in the nuclear era and is written in a dark, comedic style which lent itself to Stanley Kubrick's classic movie version of Dr Strangelove. While George's characters are based on real people, he paints the Leaders as bumbling idiots who fumble there way to nuclear war. Having observed the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan I don't believe this to be true. If what Peter ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose it's pretty bad to read this having not seen the film, but I love anything about nuclear war, it fascinates me, so this really was a must-read.

The story is meant to be a comedy, and although there were moments that did make me smile, there weren't any laugh out loud moments. I read that this book was written based off the script, so perhaps some of the elements that made the film so enjoyable are lost in the text? The idea is that the Cold War is basically ended by a sequence of milit
May 22, 2013 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2013
This is an interesting little curiosity of a book (long novella, really). I have an odd fondness for nuclear apocalyptic 50s fiction, and Red Alert is one of the earliest of the genre. The story is written very soberly and seriously, with many fiddly details of military procedure. The men are all manly and stoic, and overall almost no one has any particular personality. Still, it did provide a pretty compelling example of the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, and while it dragged very ba ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
For those who don't know this 1958 book was the basis for Stanley Kubrick's 1964 movie "Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."
However, the book is not at all like the movie. The book is written in all seriousness by a man who was very anti-nuclear weapons. It covers two hours in which the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
A SAC general, dying, decides to launch a pre-emptive strike on Russia to save the United States. The next two hours follow the action at h
Nov 08, 2013 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you probably know (and would have learned from the cover had you not) this book is the basis for "Dr. Strangelove" and, as you may learn from other reviews, provides only the basis, even though a substantial one. The story is the same as the movie, but this is a serious, sober examination of what the movie treats as a dark comedy. The movie also changes all the names for some reason.

I also read somewhere that the author, Peter Bryant, sued the author of Fail Safe saying it was essentially th
Roger L.
Feb 07, 2015 Roger L. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is stupid. I can see why Kubrick decided to send it up. The idea that the President of the US would willingly let the USSR nuke Atlantic City as a tit-for-tat is absurd (although, as the character Falken said of the same thing happening to Las Vegas in the film "Wargames", it would have been a "fittingly biblical end to the place"). Read it only if you've seen Dr Strangelove first, otherwise it will just seem dumb.
May 27, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went back and forth between a 3-star rating and a 4-star and finally settled on 3 when I asked myself if I would ever recommend this book to anyone else and the answer was, "Eh, not really."

I picked it up because of an Amazon sale on books upon which famous movies were based. This one is the foundation for 'Dr. Strangelove' which I have somehow never seen (though I intend to rectify that shortly). Red Alert is written as deadly serious, very much a product of exactly its time and place during
Jun 07, 2011 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, kindle
Interesting read, especially when you compare and contrast it to the movie, "Doctor Strangelove", which was based on this novel. The book is serious, while the movie is darkly satirical. Much of the basic story is the same, though details vary.

The entire (though not long) novel takes place during only about a 2-3 hour period. That, along with the nature of the story (nuclear war) makes for a fairly high state of tension throughout, but it is never sensationalized or over the top.

Interestingly, t
Chris McClinch
The novel that spawned both Dr. Strangelove and Fail-Safe. This book was an intriguing product of its times: a book from the time before mutually assured destruction was a reality and when a "winnable" nuclear war was a theoretical possibility. As you'd expect, this made the world a much tenser place; an enemy who thinks he can survive attacking you is more likely to attack than one who knows it would be his death sentence. The level of the writing and characterization isn't really up to the lev ...more
Read this as context for a fall class in which we will watch Dr. Strangelove, which was based on it. Interesting to see how closely the structure of this matches the movie, though this is a straightforward thriller, not a satire. Helpful to get some more background info on military policies & procedures during the Cold War.
Aug 21, 2014 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this out of curiosity recently, because I like 'Dr. Strangelove'. The book doesn't have the humor of the movie - no conspiracy theories about fluoridation of tap water, and no George C. Scott yelling about 'the Big Board'. It was an interesting read, though, and helped me appreciate the film even more.
Apr 20, 2014 Vheissu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp
Not a bad read. It takes about as long to read it as the story's chronology, 2 hours. The film has a greater debt to the book than I imagined, right down to OPE and the CRM 114. If you liked the picture, you'll enjoy the book, which has a much more optimistic outlook than Kubrick's vision.
This was an interesting read and a bit hard to rate. Film geeks will like it (as I did) if only to see the kernel that inspired Dr. Strangelove (who unfortunately does not appear in the book). From a strictly literary perspective though, this is more of a 2 star book. It's not great - the writing is a bit stilted, shifting from academic to preachy at times. But there is a story here. I didn't go in to this expecting a funny book as some other reviewers did, and maybe that's why I wasn't truly di ...more
Feb 14, 2008 علی rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The bomb explodes, and life on Earth's surface will be extinct in ten months due to the Doomsday Machine. Dr. Strangelove recommends to the President that a group of about 200,000 people be relocated deep in a mine shaft, where the nuclear fallout cannot reach them, so that the USA can be repopulated afterwards. Because of space limitations, Strangelove suggests a gender ratio of "ten females to each male, "with the women selected for their sexual characteristics, and the men selected on the bas ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Graham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book a little hard to read at times as I'm not a fan of war books and stuff along those lines but there were a few good 'oh shiiiit' moments in the latter half of the novel. I found the ending a little anticlimactic but overall I thought it was a good enough read
Michael P.
Nov 16, 2013 Michael P. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rather impressed and certainly surprised...especially since I expected a bit more dark humor, based on the treatment the book received in "Dr. Strangelove."

Instead, I found the text profound, suspenseful, and thoughtfully written. The book offers a better overall treatment of themes than the movie, with considerable examination of deterrence theory and targeting strategy. It's certainly not surprising that the book is better than the movie it inspired, but the narrative and story itself in this
Paul A. Robinson
Jul 25, 2015 Paul A. Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Thought provoking, quite a different ending from Dr. Strangelove. Many technical inaccuracies, but ok nonetheless. I need to watch the movie again.
Dad Bowers
Jan 10, 2015 Dad Bowers rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, sci-fi
OK, on my Kindle somehow; I was surprised how it was similar to Dr Strangelove, but different and more serious.
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