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Description

Product Description

Nevil Shute’s most powerful novel—a bestseller for decades after its 1957 publication—is an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world.

After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.

Review

“The most haunting evocation we have of a world dying of radiation after an atomic war.” — The New York Times 
 
“The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off.”  — San Francisco Chronicle

“A novelist of intelligent and engaging quality, deservedly popular. . . . Nevil Shute was, in brief, the sort of novelist who genuinely touches the imagination and feeling.” — The Times (London)

About the Author

Nevil Shute Norway was born in 1899 in Ealing, London. He studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. Following his childhood passion, he entered the fledgling aircraft industry as an aeronautical engineer working to develop airships and, later, airplanes. In his spare time he began writing and he published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926, using the name Nevil Shute to protect his engineering career. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they had two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death in 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), A Town Like Alice (1950), and On the Beach (1957).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER ONE

Lieutenant-Commander Peter Holmes of the Royal Australian Navy woke soon after dawn. He lay drowsily for a while, lulled by the warm comfort of Mary sleeping beside him, watching the first light of the Australian sun upon the cretonne curtains of their room. He knew from the sun''s rays that it was about five o''clock: very soon the light would wake his baby daughter Jennifer in her cot, and then they would have to get up and start doing things. No need to start before that happened; he could lie a little longer.

He woke happy, and it was some time before his conscious senses realised and pinned down the origin of this happiness. It was not Christmas, because that was over. He had illuminated the little fir tree in their garden with a string of coloured lights with a long lead to the plug beside the fireplace in the lounge, a small replica of the great illuminated tree a mile away outside the Town Hall of Falmouth. They had had a barbecue in the garden on the evening of Christmas Day, with a few friends. Christmas was over, and this-his mind turned over slowly-this must be Thursday the 27th. As he lay in bed the sunburn on his back was still a little sore from their day on the beach yesterday, and from sailing in the race.. He would do well to keep his shirt on today. And then, as consciousness came fully to him, he realised that of course he would keep his shirt on today. He had a date at eleven o''clock in the Second Naval Member''s office, in the Navy Department up in Melbourne. It meant a new appointment, his first work for five months. It could even mean a seagoing job if he were very lucky, and he ached for a ship again.

It meant work, anyway. The thought of it had made him happy when he went to sleep, and his happiness had lasted through the night. He had had no appointment since he had been promoted lieutenant-commander in August and in the circumstances of the time he had almost given up hope of ever working again. The Navy Department, however, had maintained him on full pay throughout these months, and he was grateful to them.

The baby stirred, and started chuntering and making little whimpering noises. The naval officer reached out and turned the switch of the electric kettle on the tray of tea things and baby food beside the bed, and Mary stirred beside him. She asked the time, and he told her. Then he kissed her, and said, "It''s a lovely morning again."

She sat up, brushing back her hair. "I got so burned yesterday. I put some calamine stuff on Jennifer last night, but I really don''t think she ought to go down to the beach again today." Then she, too, recollected. "Oh Peter, it''s today you''re going up to Melbourne, isn''t it ?"

He nodded. "I should stay at home, have a day in the shade."

"I think I will."

He got up and went to the bathroom. When he came back Mary was up, too; the baby was sitting on her pot and Mary was drawing a comb through her hair before the glass. He sat down on the edge of the bed in a horizontal beam of sunlight, and made the tea.

She said, "It''s going to be very hot in Melbourne today, Peter. I thought we might go down to the club about four, and you join us there for a swim. I could take the trailer and your bathers."

They had a small car in the garage, but since the short war had ended a year previously it remained unused. However, Peter Holmes was an ingenious man and good with tools, and he had contrived a tolerable substitute. Both Mary and he had bicycles. He had built a small two-wheeled trailer using the front wheels of two motor bicycles, and he had contrived a trailer hitch on both Mary''s bicycle and his own so that either could pull this thing, which served them as a perambulator and a general goods carrier. Their chief trouble was the long hill up from Falmouth.

He nodded. "That''s not a bad idea. I''ll take my bike and leave it at the station."

"What train have you got to catch ?"

"The nine-five." He sipped his tea and glanced at his watch. "I''ll go and get the milk as soon as I''ve drunk this."

He put on a pair of shorts and a singlet and went out. He lived in the ground floor flat of an old house upon the hill above the town that had been divided into apartments; he had the garage and a good part of the garden in his share of the property. There was a verandah, and here he kept the bicycles and the trailer. It would have been logical to park the car under the trees and use the garage, but he could not bring himself to do that. The little Morris was the first car he had ever owned, and he had courted Mary in it. They had been married in 1961 six months before the war, before he sailed in H.M.A.S. Anzac for what they thought would be indefinite separation. The short, bewildering war had followed, the war of which no history had been written or ever would be written now, that had flared all round the northern hemisphere and had died away with the last seismic record of explosion on the thirty-seventh day. At the end of the third month he had returned to Williamstown in Anzac on the last of her fuel oil while the statesmen of the southern hemisphere gathered in conference at Wellington in New Zealand to compare notes and assess the new conditions; had returned to Falmouth to his Mary and his Morris Minor car. The car had three gallons in the tank; he used that unheeding, and another five that he bought at a pump, before it dawned upon Australians that all oil came from the northern hemisphere.

He pulled the trailer and his bicycle down from the verandah on to the lawn and fitted the trailer hitch; then he mounted and rode off. He had four miles to go to fetch the milk and cream, for the transport shortage now prevented all collections from the farms in his district and they had learned to make their own butter in the Mixmaster. He rode off down the road in the warm morning sunlight, the empty billies rattling in the trailer at his back, happy in the thought of work before him.

There was very little traffic on the road. He passed one vehicle that once had been a car, the engine removed and the windscreen knocked out, drawn by an Angus bullock. He passed two riders upon horses, going carefully upon the gravel verge to the road beside the bitumen surface. He did not want one; they were scarce and delicate creatures that changed hands for a thousand pounds or more, but he had sometimes thought about a bullock for Mary. He could convert the Morris easily enough, though it would break his heart to do so.

He reached the farm in half an hour, and went straight to the milking shed. He knew the farmer well, a slow speaking, tall, lean man who walked with a limp from the Second World War. He found him in the separator room, where the milk flowed into one churn and the cream into another in a low murmur of sound from the electric motor that drove the machine. "Morning, Mr. Paul," said the naval officer. "How are you today?"

"Good, Mr. Holmes." The farmer took the milk billy from him and filled it at the vat. "Everything all right with you?"

"Fine. I''ve got to go up to Melbourne, to the Navy Department. I think they''ve got a job for me at last."

"Ah," said the farmer, "that''ll be good. Kind of wearisome, waiting around, I''d say."

Peter nodded. "It''s going to complicate things a bit if it''s a seagoing job. Mary''ll be coming for the milk, though, twice a week. She''ll bring the money, just the same."

The farmer said, "You don''t have to worry about the money till you come back, anyway. I''ve got more milk than the pigs will take even now, dry as it is. Put twenty gallons in the creek last night-can''t get it away. Suppose I ought to raise more pigs, but then it doesn''t seem worth while. It''s hard to say what to do ..." He stood in silence for a minute, and then he said, "Going to be kind of awkward for the wife, coming over here. What''s she going to do with Jennifer?"

"She''ll probably bring her over with her, in the trailer."

"Kind of awkward for her, that." The farmer walked to the alley of the milking shed and stood in the warm sunlight, looking the bicycle and trailer over. "That''s a good trailer," he said. "As good a little trailer as I ever saw. Made it yourself, didn''t you ?"

"That''s right."

"Where did you get the wheels, if I may ask?"

"They''re motor bike wheels. I got them in Elizabeth Street."

"Think you could get a pair for me ?"

"I could try," Peter said. "I think there may be some of them about still. They''re better than the little wheels they tow more easily." The farmer nodded. "They may be a bit scarce now. People seem to be hanging on to motor bikes."

"I was saying to the wife," the farmer remarked slowly, "if I had a little trailer like that I could make it like a chair for her, put on behind the push bike and take her into Falmouth, shopping. It''s mighty lonely for a woman in a place like this, these days," he explained. "Not like it was before the war, when she could take the car and get into town in twenty minutes. The bullock cart takes three and a half hours, and three and a half hours back; that''s seven hours for traveling alone. She did try to learn to ride a bike but she''ll never make a go of it, not at her age and another baby on the way. I wouldn''t want her to try. But if I had a little trailer like you''ve got I could take her into Falmouth twice a week, and take the milk and cream along to Mrs. Holmes at the same time." He paused. "I''d like to be able to do that for the wife," he remarked. "After all, from what they say on the wireless, there''s not so long to go."

The naval officer nodded. "I''ll scout around a bit today and see what I can find. You don''t mind what they cost ?"

The farmer shook his head. "So long as they''re good wheels, to give no trouble. Good tyres, that''s the main thing-last the time out. Like those you''ve got."

The officer nodded. "I''ll have a look for some today."

"Taking you a good bit out of your way."

"I can slip up there by tram. It won''t be any trouble. Thank God for the brown coal."

The farmer turned to where the separator was still running. "That''s right. We''d be in a pretty mess but for the electricity." He slipped an empty churn into the stream of skim milk deftly and pulled the full churn away_ "Tell me, Mr. Holmes," he said. "Don''t they use big digging machines to get the coal? Like bulldozers, and things like that?" The officer nodded. "Well, where do they get the oil to run those things ?"

"I asked about that once," Peter said. "They distil it on the spot, out of the brown coal. It costs about two pounds a gallon."

"You don''t say!" The farmer stood in thought. "I was thinking may be if they could do that for themselves, they might do some for us. But at that price, it wouldn''t hardly be practical ..."

Peter took the milk and cream billies, put them in the trailer, and set off for home. It was six-thirty when he got back. He had a shower and dressed in the uniform he had so seldom worn since his promotion, accelerated his breakfast, and rode his bicycle down the hill to catch the 8. 15 in order that he might explore the motor dealers for the wheels before his appointment.

He left his bicycle at the garage that had serviced his small car in bygone days. It serviced no cars now. Horses stood stabled where the cars had been, the horses of the business men who lived outside the town, who now rode in in jodhpurs and plastic coats to stable their horses while they commuted up to town in the electric train. The petrol pumps served them as hitching posts. In the evening they would come down on the train, saddle their horses, strap the attache case to the saddle, and ride home again. The tempo of business life was slowing down and this was a help to them; the 5.3 express train from the city had been cancelled and a 4. I 7 put on to replace it.

Peter Holmes travelled to the city immersed in speculations about his new appointment, for the paper famine had closed down all the daily newspapers and news now came by radio alone. The Royal Australian Navy was a very small fleet now. Seven small ships had been converted from oil burners to most unsatisfactory coal burners at great cost and effort; an attempt to convert the aircraft carrier Melbourne had been suspended when it proved that she would be too slow to allow the aircraft to land on with safety except in the strongest wind. Moreover, stocks of aviation fuel had to be husbanded so carefully that training programmes had been reduced to virtually nil, so that it now seemed inexpedient to carry on the Fleet Air Arm at all. He had not heard of any changes in the officers of the seven minesweepers and frigates that remained in commission. It might be that somebody was sick and had to be replaced, or it might be that they had decided to rotate employed officers with the unemployed to keep up seagoing experience. More probably it meant a posting to some dreary job on shore, an office job in the Barracks or doing something with the stores at some disconsolate, deserted place like Flinders Naval Depot. He would be deeply disappointed if he did not get to sea, and yet he knew it would be better for him so. On shore he could look after Mary and the baby as he had been doing, and there was now not so long to go.

He got to the city in about an hour and went out of the station to get upon the tram. It rattled unobstructed through streets innocent of other vehicles and took him quickly to the motor dealing district. Most of the shops here were closed or taken over by the few that remained open, the windows still encumbered with the useless stock. He shopped around here for a time, searching for two light wheels in good condition that would make a pair, and finally bought wheels of the same size from two makes of motor cycle, which would make complications with the axle that could be got over by the one mechanic still left in his garage.

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
2,161 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Amazon paperback version is not the full book.
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2016
This copy (produced by Amazon LLC) is not in fact the actual book by Nevil Shute, but a poor abridgement of it. It clocked in at 207 pages, 23 lines per page, versus 320 pages at 33 lines per page in my 1957 edition. It reads like the book condensed for English language... See more
This copy (produced by Amazon LLC) is not in fact the actual book by Nevil Shute, but a poor abridgement of it. It clocked in at 207 pages, 23 lines per page, versus 320 pages at 33 lines per page in my 1957 edition. It reads like the book condensed for English language learners. First line, second paragraph, has gone from "He woke happy, and it was some time before his conscious senses realized and pinned down the origin of this happiness," to "He woke happy, and was not sure why."

Amazon should be embarrassed to put out this product without labeling it for what it is.
281 people found this helpful
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Gloria Henderson
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"On the Beach" is great. This is NOT that book
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2016
This is a severely abridged version of the book, and yet nothing is said about that in the presentation. I feel I should get my money back as this was not the product that I intended to purchase. The real book, "On the Beach" is great. This is NOT that book.
129 people found this helpful
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R Retzler
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The version published by Ball99 is not the actual book - the version titled (Vintage International) is
Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2017
I echo everyone else - the Kindle version published by Ball99 and distributed by Amazon is not the original book by Nevil Shute. I believe the Kindle version identified as Vintage International is the correct book. I have read other books by Shute, and have wanted to read... See more
I echo everyone else - the Kindle version published by Ball99 and distributed by Amazon is not the original book by Nevil Shute. I believe the Kindle version identified as Vintage International is the correct book. I have read other books by Shute, and have wanted to read On the Beach for some time. I noticed that it was a Kindle book, so I downloaded it without looking at the reviews, as I knew this book was highly recommended. Shute''s A Town Like Alice was a very well-written book and deserves its position on many Top 100 reading lists. As I started to read this book, I felt as though it were written by a different author. The writing does not flow, and the dialogue feels like it was written by or for a third grader. It is very stilted, and I found it difficult to read. Still, I kept on, thinking that it was Nevil Shute, it would have to get better. NOPE - I slogged through all the way to the end. Fortunately, it was only 112 pages. How could the author of A Town Like Alice have written something so awful? I felt very disappointed. That is until I happened to look at the reviews to see that this is not the actual book. After some research, I determined that this Kindle version is NOT the correct version. So I will now be purchasing and reading the actual On The Beach, and I am sure that it will be 100% better than this trash.
94 people found this helpful
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distantplanet
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The aftermath would not be plucky bands of survivors riding around in cool RV''s, but quite simply
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2018
I bought this one because I wore out my previous copy. This is the most depressing, horrifying book I''ve ever read, but it is an accurate portrayal of what would happen if we were to unleash a real nuclear war. The aftermath would not be plucky bands of survivors riding... See more
I bought this one because I wore out my previous copy. This is the most depressing, horrifying book I''ve ever read, but it is an accurate portrayal of what would happen if we were to unleash a real nuclear war. The aftermath would not be plucky bands of survivors riding around in cool RV''s, but quite simply, death. For everyone. The amount of radiation released by the weapons we currently have on hand is enough to spread over the entire earth (that''s right, it doesn''t just drift to the edge and fall off!) and wipe out everyone.
Those who talk so blithely of a "limited" nuclear war are overlooking one critical factor- no one is ever going to let the other side have the last word. Say we drop one bomb just to make a point. Our target, or their allies, will retaliate. We won''t just hang our heads down and say "OK, we deserved that." We''ll throw some more nukes at the allies, and then it''s on. Neither side will quit while they have the capacity to strike back. By the time it''s over, our planet will be uninhabitable. For those who may point to WWII as a limited use, let me point out that we used 100% of the nukes available to us at the time.
With the war-mongers in the current administration, headed by a man who has repeatedly said he doesn''t understand why we don''t use our big, beautiful nuclear weapons, and who taunts another country by saying that he has a bigger button, I think this book should be required reading for all citizens.
33 people found this helpful
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Emily Ann
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
STOP.
Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2016
BEWARE! This isn''t the original book. This is some strange, dumbed down, rewritten version with lots and lots of spelling errors. I makes me think this book is for people who are trying to learn english. This may be the same story line but in no way is this book written by... See more
BEWARE! This isn''t the original book. This is some strange, dumbed down, rewritten version with lots and lots of spelling errors. I makes me think this book is for people who are trying to learn english. This may be the same story line but in no way is this book written by Nevil Shute. There is no indication on the book itself or in the description before you buy it that it was rewritten. This has to be illegal. I''m very dissappointed in you Amazon.
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johnthebaker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Deep Read
Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2018
I am in my eighteenth year as a HOSPICE volunteer. At my initial training all those years ago we were asked about our thoughts on death and dying as a process. We created art and we were asked in a round circle to talk through our views and express ourselves. I explained... See more
I am in my eighteenth year as a HOSPICE volunteer. At my initial training all those years ago we were asked about our thoughts on death and dying as a process. We created art and we were asked in a round circle to talk through our views and express ourselves. I explained that I thought ON THE BEACH, having just finished reading it for the first time earlier in the year, was an incredible treatment of the journey we all take as we approach the end. No long face here - we celebrate our comings and our goings - just a ''what I see'' take on it.

In the story - the world is ending - nuclear war has come and gone killing off most of the planet and the toxic cloud is circling the globe and killing everything in its path. At the bottom of the globe - Australia is the last haven - but the clock it ticking - the cloud approaches and they know the date and time so it''s no secret. From choosing how you exit this life - to how you fill the space with the time you have left - an incredible read.

I recommend it to all caregivers. Put it on your list of contemporary classics and ''must reads''.
19 people found this helpful
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Earthstar
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
NOT THE ORIGINAL: THIS IS FOR COGNITIVELY IMPAIRED PEOPLE
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2017
Very poorly abridged version best left in the outhouse. It may have merit for someone who can''t read higher than a third grade level. I''ts unfortunate that this book is being passed off as an original. I almost ordered a different one but now I''m afraid any... See more
Very poorly abridged version best left in the outhouse. It may have merit for someone who can''t read higher than a third grade level. I''ts unfortunate that this book is being passed off as an original.

I almost ordered a different one but now I''m afraid any book I purchase here will be of the same sloppy grade passed if as a classic. I''ll be heading to the city soon and will stop at a used book store.

Maybe the new editor grew up near Chernobyl: post-nuclear cognition.
32 people found this helpful
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Michael J. Myers
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Classic Nevil Shute Story
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2020
In the midst of the current corona virus lockdown, I''ve had a lot of time to read. Nevil Shute was a very productive novelist from the mid 1930''s until his death in the late 1950s or early 1960s. He was not only very productive his books sold well. His writing is very... See more
In the midst of the current corona virus lockdown, I''ve had a lot of time to read. Nevil Shute was a very productive novelist from the mid 1930''s until his death in the late 1950s or early 1960s. He was not only very productive his books sold well. His writing is very late Victorian or early Edwardian. His views of men and women and their relationships would get him drummed out of the women''s lib movement. His male characters are upright and honest and usually competent at what they do. His female characters either believer, or willingly submit to the idea that they should support the men in their lives. There are no passionate sex scenes or bad language in a Shute novel. He''s a very good writer, creates memorable characters and tells a good, if sometimes simple story. I suppose he could write a good modern "sex scene" but I think that might believe the effort to be simply silly.

On The Beach is an apocalyptic story. It doesn''t have a happy ending--but it has an honorable one. Like every other Shute novel, it was a good read.
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr. Robert M. Walker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Unexpected great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2019
I have quite an eclectic taste in reading but my preferred genre is War fiction and one of my favorite all time reads is Tom Clancy Red Dawn Rising. On the Beach is basically a love story, If I had known I would have stayed well clear of this book. I started reading and...See more
I have quite an eclectic taste in reading but my preferred genre is War fiction and one of my favorite all time reads is Tom Clancy Red Dawn Rising. On the Beach is basically a love story, If I had known I would have stayed well clear of this book. I started reading and found it an incredibly easy read and loved Nevil Shute''s style of writing, becoming extremely wrapped up in this story until the very end. Not my usual type of book but I would recommend it to anyone who is not after a quick fix read with action all the way. This is the first Shute I have read and it will not be my last, I am not ashamed to say I became quite emotional at the end. I am going to try a Town like Alice next.
17 people found this helpful
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BookLover76
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enjoyable story marred by the unrealistic attitudes portrayed..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2020
If you read this as a fantasy or a romance, it''s a great book. If you read it as science fiction, it''s an an interesting (if slightly dated) story. If you read it as political or sociological comment, it''s flawed and unrealistic. SPOILER ALERT! If you knew you were going to...See more
If you read this as a fantasy or a romance, it''s a great book. If you read it as science fiction, it''s an an interesting (if slightly dated) story. If you read it as political or sociological comment, it''s flawed and unrealistic. SPOILER ALERT! If you knew you were going to die in a few months, along with every other member of mankind left on the planet, would you continue going to work as normal? Soldiering on; doing your duty right to the end... Of course you wouldn''t! What happened during the UK Coronavirus lockdown? The sales of alcohol sky-rocketed! Everyone thought, "What''s the point of healthy living if there''s a virus out there that could kill me in a matter of days?" This was the heroine''s attitude at the opening of the story - but the author had to "cure" her and have her convert back to a healthy lifestyle before the end - unlikely, I feel, especially in view of these recent events! As to the idea that the hero and heroine would never consummate their relationship due to one being "faithful" to their deceased spouse, while in the position where this was their last chance of love - that would have been preposterous even when the book was written!
8 people found this helpful
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Judy Marsh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2017
I read this book a long time ago, and always remember it as moving, touching and incredibly sad. I have just re-read it. Although the language is a little old fashioned now, it does not take anything away from what is a very well written story. One of the best books I have...See more
I read this book a long time ago, and always remember it as moving, touching and incredibly sad. I have just re-read it. Although the language is a little old fashioned now, it does not take anything away from what is a very well written story. One of the best books I have ever read, extremely thought-provoking, haunting, and it still moved me to tears at the end. It should be used as a ''must read'' book in today''s education system, it might make future generations realise just how much mankind can destroy itself.
26 people found this helpful
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CloselyObservedEnglish
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A little flat given the subject matter
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2020
I am slightly conflicted about ''On the Beach.'' I had previously read Shute''s ''A Town Like Alice'' and liked it for its restrained simplicity of language and plot - never dramatic, but always interesting and full of the colour of the places it described. ''On the Beach'' is...See more
I am slightly conflicted about ''On the Beach.'' I had previously read Shute''s ''A Town Like Alice'' and liked it for its restrained simplicity of language and plot - never dramatic, but always interesting and full of the colour of the places it described. ''On the Beach'' is likewise restrained, but maybe too much - instead of being simple it comes across as overly basic. But is it worth reading? Perhaps. The story is a moving one - I found the ending very affecting, especially since I had gotten to know the characters so well in the preceding couple of hundred pages. But what of those characters? There isn''t much to report in this regard - the characters are, for the most part, as bland as the language used to describe them. Only one, Moira, has anything resembling a character arc, shifting from being a drunk to being a loyal companion to the American naval officer she befriends early in the tale. The plot too is essentially non-existent. The action happened before page one, the end of the world has already arrived, and what we see are simply the end days. Shute is at his best when he is describing naval matters - the best parts of the story all take place onboard the submarine tasked with investigating the state of things in the northern hemisphere - but he doesn''t think long and hard enough about the societal changes that such a global catastrophe might have wrought. The rich still attend their clubs, where they are waited on by a staff who must be aware that these are the last days of their lives - and yet there is no revolt, there is no dissension, and the essential jobs are still filled by the same people who had filled them previously. Would things have gone that way in real life? It''s impossible to tell - but we are getting a glimpse of that world right now.
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Mark Gannon
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Recommend it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2017
Overall, I enjoyed One the Beach very much, and it is easy to see why it is considered a classic. For me, by far the most frightening aspect of the book is not the impending doom the characters face, but HOW they face it. At times, the radiation cloud is looked upon almost...See more
Overall, I enjoyed One the Beach very much, and it is easy to see why it is considered a classic. For me, by far the most frightening aspect of the book is not the impending doom the characters face, but HOW they face it. At times, the radiation cloud is looked upon almost as a bout of bad weather, an inconvenient aspect of life. Yes, the characters express regret about all the things they won''t get to do, but almost as soon as they express it, it is shrugged off. It is the whole "Stiff upper lip" outlook on life, and while it can be frightening, at times the outlook is inspirational, the way one wishes or imagines one would face the end. This aspect aside, I would recommend this book to people.
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On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale

On discount the lowest Beach online sale