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Warday and the Journey Onwards
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Warday and the Journey Onwards

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,152 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Essef - Vividly imagined earth five years after a "limited" nuclear war and describing it in the compelling details of day-to-day life.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 1985 by Coronet Books (first published April 1st 1984)
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11811 (Eleven)
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book-blast
A first person tour of America post-nuclear exchange with the USSR. This is dated material, obviously, but those days are still clear in my memory and it was refreshingly different from most of the post-apocalyptic literature out there today. Because the nuclear war was limited, it's not quite an end of the world scenario - more like the world just got really fucked up but has every intention to survive and rebuild with a realistic capability to do so. No zombies.

The first person journalistic ap
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for all Americans, and maybe for everyone worldwide.

It takes place a few years after Russia, panicked at being outdistanced in technology, has dropped a few nuclear bombs on the US. Naturally, we retaliated, so the government, and indeed the entire infrastructure of both countries are gone.

In this book, the two authors write as if they were writing a nonfiction story in a world where this has actually happened. They decide to travel together around the countr
Raegan Butcher
WARDAY is the literary equivalent of a Peter Watkins film. Indeed what it most closely resembles is his brilliant 1965 "documentary" THE WAR GAME. What the writers of WARDAY share with Watkins is a wholly original concept for dealing with a work of art that depicts the possible effects of a nuclear war: treat it like a documentary about the dread event--as if the nuclear war HAD occurred. The scenarios (spun out and supported by a ton of research)of what occurs after a "limited" nuclear war( jus ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On Warday in 1985, the Soviets bomb the hell out of the US, completely obliterating DC, New York, and other major cities (LA becomes the new US capitol). Concurrent with the nuclear attack, the Soviets let loose a technology that destroys most advanced electronics, effectively disabling the US communications infrastructure and isolating the various regions of the country. The book attempts to predict what might happen in the wake of such an event-- chaos, hunger, plague, fallout...Four years fol ...more
Stan James
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I first read this book back in 1984 when the Cold War was still a legitimate threat--just before Gorbachev started the policy of Glasnost and Reagan was still joking about bombing the Russians. It left an indelible impression of how even a limited nuclear attack could have devastating, world-changing consequences that could stretch on for decades. Reading it now there is a certain sense of distance with the old U.S./USSR rivalry long dead, Putin's efforts to turn back the clock notwithstanding, ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was an experience! I thought this was just like any other post apocalyptic book, but it's not. This is told like a documentary and I found it was such a unique way to tell the story but I didn't enjoy it that much. I think it was because I was expecting something totally different and was a little disappointed.

The story is told by 2 writers who travel the US a few years after Warday, to document what life is like now. The idea behind the story is amazing but I just found parts to be tellin
Erik Graff
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kunetka/Strieber fans
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: sf
Starting in the late eighties I began to exchange visits with my old friend and former roommate, Mike Miley, now a resident of Sonoma, California. Michael, always entranced by what he calls "high weirdness", had introduced me to Streiber's supposedly autobiographical Communion ('87), an account of what might be interpreted as encounters with extraterrestrials. I didn't read it, still haven't, but did see the movie based upon it and endeavored to read some of Strieber's other books in order to se ...more
Very believable story about a nuclear war between Russia and the US that lasted a day in 1988 and that annihilated New York, Washington, and some military bases in Wyoming, the Dakotas and a few others.

The 2 protagonists decide to travel across the US five years after the war to document the aftermath of the war. Part novel part documentary style, the inetrviews and the observations are spot on and keep the story relevant even though it was written in the 1980s.

Interesting read.
Andy Nieradko
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The old saying about art comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable comes to mind while reviewing War Day. This book is an important artistic statement, as fresh and eerily current as it was when it was written in the 1980's. I can't help but think some powerful individuals in Washington read this book and it possibly helped end the cold war.
Dan Kenkel
Finally finished this book. This is the second time I've read the book. It was so much better 20+ years ago.
I wouldn’t call it “wish fulfilment,” exactly, but I think the appeal of post-apocalyptic fiction is that it’s always a fascinating thought exercise: how would you survive? What would you do? Where would you go? Yet whenever people imagine an apocalyptic scenario – be it virus, climate change, zombies, whatever – they never fail to assume that they’d be amongst the survivors. I had a greater than normal interest in the post-apocalyptic genre when I was growing up, but nuclear fiction never engag ...more
Pam Shelton-anderson
This book was written decades ago and the event takes place in 1988, however, with current loud dialogue on nuclear war between the US and North Korea, this does not seem as dated. Rather than near total destruction, the Warday conflict occurs in several areas of the US and Russia. The story is told by two friends who were writers/journalists before the war and, besides the tales of recollections of "The Day", this unfolds as a documentary on how America and the world has changed as a result. It ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic, documentary-style book on the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear exchange. Not entirely sure on how accurate some of the details are - scale of EMP damage, for example - but a great thought experiment that is sadly relevant again.
Michael Havens
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An honest examination of the cost of nuclear war and its aftermath. This is to the novel what "The Day After" the television drama was in the eighties.
Stephen Scutt
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was fantastic. Absolutely brilliant.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit like The Good War and a bit like Alas, Babylon except written by (and god help me, starring) Whitley Strieber. So, you know, not good.
Mary Overton
Two journalists take a working road-trip, Studs Terkel style, across post-nuclear-war America.

From "Interview - Terry Burford, Midwife and Witch":

"I'm working toward delivering a baby a day. Right now I do about three or four a week. At the moment I've got fifty-eight patients in the midwifery and about two hundred in my general practice. I've got thirty psychiatric patients divided into four groups...." pg. 385

"... and then it's time to meet one of my psychotherapy groups. Since Warday the numb
Brett Thomasson
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka's first collaboration was the 1984 post-apocalyptic novel Warday. Set five years after a limited nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, it describes conditions around the country via journal-like entries from the authors and interviews with people representing the changed features of the post-war society.

The "limited" nature of the exchange meant that only parts of the U.S. were destroyed by missiles -- but much of the rest of the coun
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five years after a nuclear war devastates the USA and USSR two journalists travel across country collecting stories and documentation providing a 'state of the nation' documentary. The book is told in a sort of memoir / documentary style. An oral history of life post war. The book is written in such a way that it falls into a strange fictional non-fiction category. The two journalists in the book are the two authors of the book, basically placing themselves as the main 'characters' of the book; ...more
Rob Sobieck
wow this could actually happen. scary thought.
Ryan Lackey
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best of the "Cold War goes hot" nuclear apocalypse stories. The "a bunch of stories from the perspective of the narrator, a reporter, interviewing people" worked well. Good audiobook quality as well.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, audiobooks
Disclaimer: I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com

I liked the idea behind this book. Two writers, one a journalist and the other a former novelist, travel and document the US roughly a decade after a nuclear war. Think World War Z with bombs instead of zombies (yes, I know this book far predates World War Z, so if there was any cross-contamination, it went the other way). Written in the ear
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
War Day is a post nuclear apocalypse written in the early 1980’s that I found strangely relevant in 2015. The premise of War Day is that there has been a nuclear war between the United States and the USSR (remember 1980’s). What is different about this war is it was very limited. Only a few areas of the USA are actually hit. No countries have nuclear hits other than the USA or USSR. Every country though feels the political and economic balance change drastically.

The two main characters, who are
This was a very interesting book. It was originally published in the mid 1980's during the Cold War.

The premise is that when the US decide to implement what is now known as the Star Wars program (not the name in the book) the Russians were so spooked they launched a preemptive nuclear war. They also detonated EMPs that were far more powerful than any shielding the US had in place.

This is the story of two men who decide to traverse America five years after the bombs fell to record the war's impa
Jeff Swystun
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to the authors for an inventive premise especially since it was first published in 1984. The novel begins with Strieber's (fictional, of course) account of a nuclear attack on New York City in 1988. So it projects ahead though that has little bearing on readers now...I just found it interesting. Within the novel, it projects ahead further when the co-authors fictionally set out to explore the realities of America's shattered system, culture and landscape five years after the bombs hit. We ...more
Janet Brand
I read this a few years after it originally came out in the 80's and just finished it again. This is one of those books that lives better in memory than it does in the rereading. It has a lot going for it in some aspects. It certainly makes one think about the consequences of a "limited" nuclear war would be. We all tend to think of it as something that would happen and life would either 1) move on just fine other than in the areas hit or 2) that we would cease to exist. This book covers the mos ...more
Michael Flanagan
I do love a good story based around a Nuclear War, especially one written during the Cold War. Maybe I should go and see shrink about this, but there is nothing like a book written during the paranoia and fear of the Cold War. So it was with great anticipation I opened this NY best seller written in the mid 80's.

I tried very hard to get into this tale of a limited Nuclear exchange between the USA and USSR but to no avail. The narrative is very promising with two Journalist traveling across the P
Antony Castellano
The unthinkable happened five years ago and now two writers have set out to find what's left of America.

New York, Washington D.C., San Antonio, and parts of the Central and Western states are gone, and famine, epidemics, border wars and radiation diseases have devastated the countryside in between.

It was a "limited" nuclear war, just a 36-minute exchange of missiles that abruptly ended when the superpowers' communication systems broke down. But Warday destroyed much of civilization.

Whitley Strie
Brian Melendez
Two journalists, childhood friends both in real life and in the book, journey across an America that has been partly but not totally devastated by a limited nuclear attack. Some regions are uninhabitable, most have reverted to a plague-ridden substistence economy, and a few--like California--are thriving. But the concept of American nationhood has broken down: California and other "haves" have erected police states with strict barriers that keep the "have-nots" off their territory. The Mexican-A ...more
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