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Level 7
Mordecai Roshwald
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Level 7

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,004 ratings  ·  99 reviews
The text makes it impossible to determine which side is which. References to democracy are structured as to be just as applicable to the statements made about democracy by the USSR of the time. The book contains no geographical references or individual names. The theme of the book is the dehumanisation & abstraction of nuclear warfare & the dangers this leads to wh ...more
Published June 1st 1969 by Roc (first published 1959)
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Erik Graff
Jan 18, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cold war fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I read this book during the 1961 Berlin crisis while still in primary school. Science fiction was already an addiction and I'd put away a book or two a day when school wasn't in session. Politics was also of interest since Dad had been a vocal supporter of Kennedy against Nixon the previous year as well as active in community affairs. Indeed, he took me to village board meetings, encouraging my interest in public affairs and reading of the newspaper.

The Berlin crisis had lasted from the previous
***Review below contains some spoilers.***

Bleak. With no chance of redemption whatsoever. If you like happy endings, you might want to stay away from this book.

This book is quiet similar to On the Beach and Alas, Babylon, both in the era in which they were published and the primary subject matter with which they deal: nuclear apocalypse. While I personally found On the Beach totally unimpressive and a drag, Alas, Babylon became one of my favorite novels.

So where does "Level 7" stand?

Well, whi
Diana Welsch
Level 7 is the tale of a military man who lives in a bunker 4,400 feet below the surface of the earth. His job is to sit in a room and wait for the command to push a series of buttons which will unleash complete nuclear destruction on the earth. He is not told why he is to go into the bunker beforehand, and when he gets there he finds out that he must spend the rest of his life there.

He's not the only one down there. There are two more people like him who wait in shifts for the command to come.
John Walsh
This is one of those books that rewards patient reading--its cumulative power is immense. We follow the diary of a man who lives on Level 7 of a bunker where the best and brightest go in a kind of experiment to see how humans would endure extended life in isolation after a nuclear holocaust. The details of day to day life are interesting enough, but the book's best aspect is the growing sense of dread that our protagonist will have to do his duty in case of war.

Once he does this simple, unremar
I'm not sure where this book would rank on my list if I re-read it now - but it left an indelible mark on the mind of my twelve-year-old self. Aside from weeks of nightmares about an atomic war, it’s influenced my opinion of every other post-apocalyptic novel I’ve read since . . . usually to their detriment, as none of them ever hit me emotionally in quite the same way.
"I am the god who pushed the buttons," says the narrator, a dull nuclear weapons technician who happens to be the proximate cause of starting World War III. Later, he apologizes for this atypical and unprofessional lapse into poetry.
Level 7 isn't truly a book that I just read. It's a book that I've just re-read, which is a bit different. With over 25 years since the first reading, however, my views and appreciation for the art intrinsic in the novel have changed a bit.

First off, I should say that the copy I first read was without the preface found in my new copy. For first time readers I'd recommend reading that preface after the whole of the novel. It's rather heavy-handed in reinforcing the spin of the novel and rather ru
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What I found most disturbing about this novel was not the hopelessness of the Level 7 dwellers, buried thousands of feet beneath the earth, then assigned to annihilate humanity and continue living for 500 years. I suppose we've heard that story before and become dulled to the prospect of a fusion armageddon. I was more repelled by the personalities of the individuals on level 7. X-127 guesses that they must have all been chosen for their mission because they don't like others, and are all somewh ...more
No Remorse
This book starts off really good and grabs your attention right away, and it ends even better. Its basically about a man who is in training and gets promoted and taken 4,300 feet below ground to do his job, with a select group of other people. The earth is scorched due to nuclear war and the only survivors are those who went underground. The book is written in a diary format as the main character enters level 7 and all the way until the end. This is a must read if you ask me, great book... well ...more
I just finished reading Wool, another post-apocalyptic book about life underground, and decided it was time to read Level 7 again. About ten years ago my teenage son and I both read it and agreed it was quite good.

Level 7 is written in the form of a diary. It is the diary of a military man who has been assigned to Level 7, a subterranean command post/bomb shelter that has been built to endure for 500 years if need be. The personnel who are “stationed” here are technicians, doctors, psychologist
A little difficult to find a copy of this. This is a quick read, which surprised me. I expected a much worse novel, to be honest. I expected tedious preaching and vague droning. Instead, this is the novel that happens after all the faux-conundrums get asked. You know, "If you got paid a trillion dollars if you just pressed a button - but that button destroys so many people... would you do it?" This is that novel. Very clinical and scientific approach to the worst situation: mutual destruction vi ...more
Michael Scott
Level 7 is the story of an atomic war, and of the post-apocalyptic world briefly succeeding it. Written at the start of the race for nuclear domination, in plain Cold War's mid-1950s, Mordecai Roshwald 's book was aimed to be a deterrent to atomic weapons and related politics. Overall, a frightening book that reads poorly; had it not been for the topic, a solid 1-star.

The plot is simplistic--the two world super-powers have both acquired nuclear bombs sufficient to wipe each other out. When the t
Patrick Gibson
I am so glad this novel is now available in e-book form. I read it in high school, loved it, and have wanted to read it again. I’m sure that beat up library copy was out of print even then. What? I just noticed it was published in 1960. No wonder it was in crappy condition and smelled of mildew. I am even more impressed the story feels so 2011ish.

The story is told in diary form, written by a missile technician only known as x-127. The story starts out as the solider x-127 and 250 other soldiers
Michelle Kisner
Very chilling book. I have always been obsessed with stories/films about nuclear holocaust. This is an older book, written during the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia. As was common at that time, the story focuses on the absurdness of the concept of "Mutual Assured Destruction", wherein if two parties are engaging in nuclear war, both sides try to completely destroy the enemy even if they themselves have already been decimated.

Level 7 revolves around a multi-level underground bunker that hol
I struggled with whether to give this three or four stars. I settled on four because any novel written almost 55 years ago that feels this fresh and relevant is really quite remarkable.
While reading, I found myself wishing that more detail had been given, and time devoted, to background and personal information about the characters, particularly the narrator. I suppose, however, that it was more effective to maintain the "nuclear war mentality" by not making it so much a human story as an inhum
This is a book from 1959, written at the height of the cold war. The premise is that two opposing countries are preparing for nuclear war and some military people are assigned to the deepest level shelters to survive the war. Of course, eventually everyone dies.

The story revolves around one soldier whose job is to push the buttons that will detonate the missiles when prompted by the automated voice. Throughout his stay on level 7, he keeps a journal and records his impressions, thoughts and fee
Sep 16, 2007 Sheehan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: apocalit fans
Pretty straight-forward post-nuke serving of the everyman, the consummate serviceman, "cog-in-the-wheel." A pretty enjoyable treatment on the power of passivity, I think this might be a good preface to reading the Stranger (finish strong of course), both are heavy with the hand of hopelessness, resolved faith in the faithless, it's worth a read.
Raegan Butcher
May 02, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: peacniks & war-mongers
Grim and horrifying depiction of life in an underground bunker, waiting to unleash the missiles that will destroy the outside world, then doing just that and reaping the consequences. Written in first person diary form. Highly recommended.
I like books about the end of the world.I know, call me weird! This was different than most I've read. It was kind of chilling and the personalized approach made it all the more real.
I am disturbed, but this is probably the most realistic ending to a post apoctalipic everyone live underground story I have ever read.
Mark Speed
I didn't realise this was such a seminal sci-fi novel until coming to write this review. It would explain why it was in the library at university (which had very little fiction).

It's still fresh in my mind after nearly 24 years. I will give you this advice when you read it. When reading it, you might think that the writer is an idiot. It's written in the first person, and the protagonist is... a bit of an idiot. It would have been easy for the author to write it in an intelligent way to make his
I think this one will stick with me for quite some time.
I thought a lot - mainly about the development from a man who thought he was incapable of love and affection towards others, towards finding that capacity awakened or at least identified within himself after an act of genocide, not for the nameless faceless millions killed, but in the realisation that, easy as it had been to push the buttons and kill half the world, he believes that he would have been unable to push a button to execute one man he knew. The introduction was really engaging and in ...more
This novel is a post-apocalypse novel written during the Cold War. It is in the form of a diary written by the main character Officer X-127.

Officer X-127 lives in a underground bunker where he has an group of personnel to take care of his everyday needs. His job is to push buttons to active nuclear missiles on the command of another person.

The novel was very good because of the attitudes of the main character. He is cold, heartless and merciless yet you can understand why he feels this way. He
Damn. Well this book was fucking dark. No question. I would say it is similar to Nevil Shute's On the Beach. More like if On the Beach had a baby with McCarthy's The Road you'd get Level 7. If morbid curiosity propels you forward, then this book is for you.

I think Level 7 does a really good job showcasing the futility, the frustration and fear that the Cold War and its mutually assured destruction policy instilled on average people. It outlines the limits humanity posed upon itself by using war
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Giulia Napoli
My dad had this book from the scifi bookclub - from when he was a teenager, I think. I borrowed it from him this summer and just finished it. While I was reading it, it scared the hell out of me. It gave me my best understanding of what it must have been like to live under the threat of nuclear war in the 50s and 60s (I was born in 1979).

The story is told from the view of a guy who must "push the button."

Well-written and poignant. Perhaps a bit naive now, it still got to me.
Tom Britz
This grim apocalyptic novel speaks some truths that have parallels in today's world. The end of the world in this novel was a nuclear war, but a push button war. There were no battlefields, only instant death. This brought to mind our own uses of drones and other missiles. We no longer see the humanity we destroy, thus making it that much easier to do that, to push that button. Let's hope that reason starts to seep back into humanity, and soon.
Christopher Taylor
Similar to others I read this book back in the early 60's. This was my first book into the realm of Science Fiction. It captured my imagination and has been a good reference to the culture of living under the threat of nuclear world war. What would you do? Where would you go? Those were a few of the questions that I pondered for years after reading it. It is a good read and I would recommend its reading.
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Roshwald was an American academic and writer. Born in Drohobycz, Poland, Roshwald he later emigrated to Israel. His most famous work is the novel Level 7, a post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel. He is also the author of A Small Armageddon (1962) and Dreams and Nightmares: Science and Technology in Myth and Fiction (2008).

Roshwald was a "professor emeritus of humanities at the University of Minne
More about Mordecai Roshwald...
A Small Armageddon Moses: Leader, Prophet, Man Liberty: Its Meaning and Scope Modern Technology: The Promise & the Menace (Great Issues of the Day, #8) Biblical Revisions and Para-Biblical Visions

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