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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,570 ratings  ·  161 reviews
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
Paperback, 515 pages
Published April 2nd 1985 by Warner Books Inc. (first published April 1st 1984)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  2,570 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
11811 (Eleven)
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
Raegan Butcher
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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( ...more
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 ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: notinlibby
I wavered right from the beginning with what to rate this, because it hit so many of my personal interests, but it’s also kinda old and it shows, but also it’s also old and maybe a little overlooked. Let’s say 3.5, rounded to 4 because I’m in a generous mood.*

First, I apologize for my snarky status of November 28, 2019. I maintain that there is a veneer of pretentiousness to this whole thing, but it did become clear that Strieber and Kunetka were pretty worked up about the possibility of nuclear
Stan James
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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 ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is fictional reporting about an event that didn't happen, but very well could of. It's amazing, my first five star read of the year.

So. In 1988 the US and USSR had a limited nuclear war. In this case, "limited" means the world didn't blow up completely. Several cities in the US have been turned into craters and radioactive fallout is drifting over the landscape but there are indeed survivors. The authors are making a trip around America five years after what has become known as Warday
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 ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written in epistolary style in wich authors cast themselves as main characters,this is very powerful and frightening novel about USA after limited nuclear exchange with Soviet Union.Though today this book is alternate history,Kunetka's and Streiber's chilling scenario presented in this book is very possible.And that is the scariest part.Stunning novel.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
The worldbuilding was cool.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Finally finished this book. This is the second time I've read the book. It was so much better 20+ years ago.
Lora Shouse
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several books now by Whitley Strieber, some of them with various co-authors. Warday is by far the best of them.

The authors tell the story of the aftermath of a very small nuclear war using themselves as the main characters in an exploration of the country five years after the war. They are ostensibly making this report for a newspaper. They include fictional interviews with various people across the country giving their accounts of either their experiences of the war itself or their
David Pappas
Apr 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Of course the book is badly out of date by about 35 years which makes it considerably less compelling then once it may have been. The series of disconnected snippetted correspondent style interviews are not a particularly compelling narrative device either. The likelihood of such an extremely limited nuclear conflict back then is not very believable, but nowadays (2019) perhaps more so hmm...? The only thought provoking bit is the discovery half-way through of the parallels found with the slow ...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
Michael Harry
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-fiction
Really well researched and I appreciate the knowledge and study that went into creating something like this. Its very impressive. However it can be TOO detailed and too long in parts. I got the points and themes and it just kept going. Stats and numbers and descriptions of fictional Americas situation get repetitive. Some of the politics seem a little dated but suprisingly most of it still applies.

At first it was suitably scary and poignant though. I like this style of book.

A series of
Alex  Bradford
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book hits a little too close to home considering I live in San Antonio during a time in which we have a president who might get us into a nuclear war with [insert country here]. Regardless, it's still entertaining to read and it's good to know what could potentially happen in this type of scenario.

This was both a recommendation and a gift from my father (Thanks Dad!), and I generally have to say it's well-written and a very interesting read. It can get a bit dry at times during the portions
Melissa Gors-Schafer
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, frightening book - not in the horror movie genre way but, in how this could actually occur. The realism in the story is what makes it so disconcerting. Well-written and should be seen as a cautionary tale which could too easily become a reality. Should be required reading for all upper level high school students; though I read it as an adult, its message is one that has stuck with me for years - that this possibility should be avoided at all costs. Highly recommended. I want to read ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book, and have read it 2-3x per year since publication. It's completely immersive, particularly because it includes anecdotal documents and interviews with other individuals, all of which enhances the veracity of the story. Post apocalyptic fiction can often be overly militaristic for my taste; what stands out with Warday is that it's, normal everyday Americans living through the unthinkable. There's nothing sensational about it.
Michele Benson
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The science behind this depressing apocalyptic story is really thought provoking. I enjoyed the factual way the story was told. It's not hard to imagine California becoming its own country with closed borders. The explanation of how the medical community triaged the radiation victims was really interesting. Resource allocation after a nuclear war is something I have never considered. This is not a new book and technology has advanced since it was written, but it is still worth reading.
Richard Bartlett
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accurate and disturbing in many respects but made no mention of nuclear winter, the effects of which were well known by the time the book was published.

Possibly it's because the fictional war was relatively small-scale and localized (specifically, affecting a few cities within the US and USSR and not Europe.)

Definitely worth a read though.
Peter Blomquist
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story; creative approach to the post-apocalyptic story

Good story; creative approach to the post-apocalyptic story of a limited 1-day nuclear exchange with the USSR. Middle of book is tedious when recounting government reports and data. Last few chapters make up for that tedium. In the end, a good read.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Surprised how much I enjoyed this. Discovered Whitley Strieber earlier this year and wanted to read some of his earlier books. Especially considering its 1984 publication date, Warday is eerily prophetic and fits in well with the trend toward dystopian books, television shows and movies during the past few years.
Mayara Arend
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I've actually caught myself skipping most of the "report" parts, science reports.
The plot was incredible, truly interesting, but I felt it could've been so much more without the technical science stuff which could be interesting but after a couple really started to bore me and had me having to put down the book for hours until I got into the right "mind" for it.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Kay Smillie
An okay book about a limited nuclear world war, including EMP strikes. Written as if it was fact but a little dry with over emphasis on stats. A very American book aimed at that very market. Okay is an honest opinion. Read better, read worse.

Ray Smillie
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American writer best known for his novels The Wolfen,The Hunger and Warday and for Communion, a non-fiction description of his experiences with apparent alien contact. He has recently made significant advances in understanding this phenomenon, and has published his new discoveries in Solving the Communion Enigma.

Strieber also co-authored The Coming Global Superstorm with Art Bell, which inspired
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