The best books about Nuclear holocaust

3 authors have picked their favorite books about nuclear holocaust and why they recommend each book.

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Hiero's Journey

By Sterling E. Lanier,

Book cover of Hiero's Journey

Technically, though it has a fantasy feel, this is a post-apocalyptic science fiction story concerning Per Hiero Desteen, a sort of Knight’s Templar dedicated to recovering the knowledge lost after a nuclear holocaust. Hiero fights antilife telepaths and mutated monsters in a journey to discover a lost, ancient secret in time to save humanity from destruction. Fun stuff, but the charm of the book lies in his telepathic mount, Klootz, a bull morse (think of a giant moose), and Gorm, a telepathic bear who joins him on his mission. Long after you’ve forgotten the battles, the charm of the animals remains.


Who am I?

I’ve always loved fantasy novels, which is why I write them, though I tend more toward epic fantasy. My father had a great love of nature. It wasn’t unusual for him to stop in the middle of building a fence or walking across a pasture in order to examine a bug or watch a hawk in flight. He taught me the value of animals and the wonder of the world we live in. Because of it, I’m especially drawn to stories where the animals act and think like animals really might, so I can imagine their unique perspectives. Every species is unique, a miracle that they exist at all.


I wrote...

The Back of the Beyond

By James Stoddard,

Book cover of The Back of the Beyond

What is my book about?

The elves claim no one can cross the border and live...When Gray Darien's love, Lady Tana, is kidnapped, he leads warriors from different Earth eras to rescue her. They enter Animonea, a land the Elf-King fears so much he raised a wall to keep its denizens out. There, every animal, tree, insect, and bird possesses intelligence. Every object: swords, chairs, garments can speak. Which creatures can they trust? Which merciless predators intend to destroy them?

Gray is soon embroiled in a war against an invading army of mechanical soldiers intent on eradicating the source of Animonea’s sentience. Unless he and his companions can overcome the designs of men, wolves, rivers, and trees, Animonea will perish, and Gray and Tana with it.

A Gift Upon the Shore

By M.K. Wren,

Book cover of A Gift Upon the Shore

One of the best post-apocalyptic books I’ve read to date! Mary and Rachel survive a nuclear apocalypse in Rachel’s seaside home. After many long years of surviving and making a new life for themselves, a strange man appears on their shores. Mary decides to make a long journey that changes life for her and Rachel forever. The characters in this book and the writing are so believable, and the centering of books, art, and hope makes this a stand-out from the gray zombie-infested wastelands of recent mainstream post-apocalyptic stories.


Who am I?

I’m a science fiction writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m drawn to character-driven stories that imagine hopeful and inclusive futures, and I absolutely love anything to do with robots. My post-apocalyptic Patch Project series is published with Adventure Worlds Press. After working in the theatre for a few years, I completed my Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. These days, I write novels featuring ensemble casts, found families, and maybe a con artist or two. These are some of my favourite books of all time, I hope you enjoy them!


I wrote...

The Patch Project

By Brittni Brinn,

Book cover of The Patch Project

What is my book about?

After a mysterious disaster erases most of the world, five survivors find themselves in the middle of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. A married couple is trapped in their domestic setting. Two punks wander the wasteland, pushed further west by fears of retribution. A video game designer, used to living the high life in the city, is stranded at a highway gas station.

Not only do they have hunger and loss to deal with, but some of them have developed strange new abilities that they are only beginning to understand. Their interwoven stories explore the human need for purpose and hope for a better world. In this revised edition of Brittni Brinn's introspective debut, everyone will have to face who they have become in order to survive.

The Wizards of Armageddon

By Fred Kaplan,

Book cover of The Wizards of Armageddon

Kaplan’s book captured the mindset of the Cold Warriors and how the concept of a nuclear holocaust became accepted. Brilliantly researched and written with a dispassionate eye, it remains one of the most insightful accounts of the nuclear weapons race and how it was exploited by the military to build their own empires. It was a great influence on my film Baiting the Bear about General Curtis 'Bomb them back to the Stone Age’ Lemay that I made for BBC's Timewatch in 1996. I haven’t yet read Kaplan’s latest book, The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, which looks like a development of Wizards with new declassified material. 


Who am I?

I started researching the way the West’s intelligence services manipulated the public when I was a student in the mid-1970s. I then became an investigative journalist and often returned to the subject in different ways, especially as a national security correspondent. I fully acknowledge the massive manipulation by the Communist Bloc during the Cold War but believe that it is important the public is aware of the manipulation that the West’s Cold Warriors utilized is fully known and recognized as it has left a legacy that has allowed for the rise of ‘fake news’.



I wrote...

Britain's Secret Propaganda War

By Paul Lashmar, James Oliver,

Book cover of Britain's Secret Propaganda War

What is my book about?

Dr. Paul Lashmar has been researching the secret world of the Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD) for some five decades and James Oliver (now BBC) for thirty. Although the book was published over twenty years ago it is still considered a groundbreaking account of IRD which was the Cold War cultural war department that worked with MI6. IRD was set up in 1948 and our book includes evidence of IRD's hidden hand in domestic politics, overthrowing left-wing governments and assisting Britain's entry into the Common Market.

The opening chapter reveals IRD’s secret hand in inciting the genocide of over 500,000 Indonesians in 1965, those suspected of being communists, an under-recognized historical event that the authors are still researching. The book discusses the impact of IRD both domestically and internationally. The authors have accumulated a substantial archive of material on IRD and cultural warfare.

The Chrysalids

By John Wyndham,

Book cover of The Chrysalids

My high school English teacher introduced me to the work of science fiction writer John Wyndham when I was in my mid-teens and I promptly read every title by this author and found a new favourite genre. Along with encouraging me to read outside my usual choices, this teacher gave me some invaluable writing advice after I handed in a short story: "Continue to write in this light-hearted vein and you will do well." Unfortunately, it took me a while to follow it and I spent quite a few years trying unsuccessfully to write serious literary fiction.


Who am I?

I can’t remember a time in my life without stories in it. I grew up in an English/Italian family where everyone’s tales about their lives captured my imagination. Books also opened a window into the wonderful world of stories and my ambition to be a writer was born. I decided to write for children in 1971 after our son was born. Ten years of rejections later, my author dream came true and my first picture book was published. It was a stranger danger story that attracted some publicity, which led to invitations to speak at schools. Inspiring children to go on their own story writing adventure has become one of my greatest joys.


I wrote...

Just Write: An easy guide to story writing

By Teena Raffa-Mulligan,

Book cover of Just Write: An easy guide to story writing

What is my book about?

Writing stories is like having an adventure. Your imagination can take you anywhere. Yet not every kid finds story writing easy. Sometimes getting started can feel too hard. Making it to the end can look impossible.

Just Write can help to kick-start the process. Find out how to come up with ideas, create interesting characters, paint word pictures, and more in this easy-to-follow guide full of activities and helpful examples. Presented in a friendly, conversational style by a multi-published children’s author, it offers a simple process for children to turn ‘I can’t write stories’ into ‘I can be a writer.’

Command and Control

By Eric Schlosser,

Book cover of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

More recent than Kaplan’s Wizards and more episodic but making it clear how close we came to destruction in the Cold War. With journalistic flair, he drives the narrative with real hair-raising episodes most notably a blow-by-blow account of an accident at a Titan II missile silo in Arkansas, in 1980. It’s a book that every student should read as the new generation needs to know how close to disaster we came in between 1947 and 1991 and the world could easily revert into a new Cold War. 


Who am I?

I started researching the way the West’s intelligence services manipulated the public when I was a student in the mid-1970s. I then became an investigative journalist and often returned to the subject in different ways, especially as a national security correspondent. I fully acknowledge the massive manipulation by the Communist Bloc during the Cold War but believe that it is important the public is aware of the manipulation that the West’s Cold Warriors utilized is fully known and recognized as it has left a legacy that has allowed for the rise of ‘fake news’.



I wrote...

Britain's Secret Propaganda War

By Paul Lashmar, James Oliver,

Book cover of Britain's Secret Propaganda War

What is my book about?

Dr. Paul Lashmar has been researching the secret world of the Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD) for some five decades and James Oliver (now BBC) for thirty. Although the book was published over twenty years ago it is still considered a groundbreaking account of IRD which was the Cold War cultural war department that worked with MI6. IRD was set up in 1948 and our book includes evidence of IRD's hidden hand in domestic politics, overthrowing left-wing governments and assisting Britain's entry into the Common Market.

The opening chapter reveals IRD’s secret hand in inciting the genocide of over 500,000 Indonesians in 1965, those suspected of being communists, an under-recognized historical event that the authors are still researching. The book discusses the impact of IRD both domestically and internationally. The authors have accumulated a substantial archive of material on IRD and cultural warfare.

On the Beach

By Nevil Shute,

Book cover of On the Beach

Another oldie, copyright 1957. These days, preoccupied with diseases or terrorists, we tend to forget that nuclear war is still possible. It hasn't happened yet so we've relegated it to a back shelf. On the Beach remarkably combined the gentlest writing with a portrait of humankind's final days. It left millions of readers weeping. It galvanized the real world.

Who am I?

This will sound corny but if writers aren’t dreamers, who is? As a journalist, I got to cover real events, but I was also concerned about what could happen. But how do you write about something you fear will happen, but hasn’t happened yet? How to drive across future consequences when you are limited by that moment’s reality? A journalist will quote leaders, or reports, and hope that does the trick. A novelist can bring characters to life who will one day have to live with a tragedy and their own choices. My short story collection Still Hungry will be published in January 2023.


I wrote...

The Last Spy

By Bob Reiss,

Book cover of The Last Spy

What is my book about?

It’s Russian against Russian in Cold War Washington and no American ever finds out. Ash, Corrina, and David were raised in a mock US town in Siberia, snuck into the US at the height of the cold war, and made interns for famous people. They’ve risen to prominence now as well-placed spies - Ash a prize winning reporter, David a former Undersecretary of State and high-level lobbyist, Corrina a Justice Department lawyer - but the Soviet Union is collapsing.

These three never met their parents. Their memories of home are of a mock town surrounded by barbed wire. Their assignments are getting very odd and they must turn against each other to live. Can’t stay in DC. Can’t go home. Can’t tell anyone who they are. 

Spider World

By Colin Wilson,

Book cover of Spider World: The Tower

Not one for the arachnophobes! In the 25th century a nuclear holocaust has driven humans to hide in the desert from the predatory giant spiders who now rule the earth. But main character Niall has a secret, he shares the spiders' gift of telepathy, and moves to liberate humanity from the Spider Lord.

The description of the giant spiders' use of will to control their prey is fascinating, and the move from pure adventure story into political intrigue and power games is genius. A very underappreciated fantasy novel.


Who am I?

I'm a spec-fic writer who has been fascinated by the world building and deep creativity of sci-fi and fantasy novels for over 40 years. A common theme in these genres is the use and abuse of power, especially of systems of authority that the main characters battle against—not always successfully! I've recently published a complete fantasy trilogy dealing with these same themes—The Wraith Cycle—and am looking forward to the publication of my next stand-alone sci-fi novel—The Currents Of Infinity—due to come out within the next year.


I wrote...

The Blood Within The Stone

By T.R. Thompson,

Book cover of The Blood Within The Stone

What is my book about?

In the isolated traders’ town of Greystone, two young thieves named Wilt and Higgs scratch out a living on the street. Both have quick minds and even quicker fingers, but Wilt has another weapon, an ability to sink into others' thoughts, reading them, knowing before they do what action they will take. Such power is not easily hidden when the Prefects of Redmondis come through town on a pilgrimage to recruit skilled ones, wielders, those who have an affinity with the secret welds that join all living things.

Epic fantasy with an original magic system, likable characters, and enthralling prose—a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by YA and older readers alike.

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