Items related to The Last Town on Earth

Mullen, Thomas The Last Town on Earth ISBN 13: 9780007234998

The Last Town on Earth - Softcover

 
9780007234998: The Last Town on Earth
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Set against the dual backdrop of World War I and the devastating 1918 influenza epidemic, ‘The Last Town On Earth’ is a brilliantly drawn tale of morality and patriotism in a time of upheaval.

Deep in the evergreen woods of Washington State lies the mill town of Commonwealth, a new community founded on progressive ideals, and a refuge for workers who have fled the labour violence in the surrounding towns. When rumours spread of a mysterious illness that is killing people at an alarming rate, the people of the uninfected Commonwealth vote to block all roads into town and post armed guards to prevent any outsiders from entering.

One day two guards – Philip Worthy, the sixteen-year-old son of the town founder, and his friend Graham Stone, a hardened survivor of vicious strikes – are confronted with a moral dilemma. A starving and apparently ill soldier attempts to enter the town, begging them for food and shelter. Should Worthy and Stone admit him, possibly putting their families at risk? Or should they place their lives above his and let him die in the woods? The choice they make – and the reaction it inspires not only in their town but in the neighbouring town's league of suspicious patriots – sets into motion a series of events that threaten to tear Commonwealth apart. From the rich threads running through this period of history, Thomas Mullen has created a truly gripping tale, which grows in tension and suspense as the panic and conflict within the town take hold.

A sweeping cinematic novel, with a compelling cast of characters, ‘The Last Town On Earth’ powerfully grapples with the tensions of individual safety and social responsibility, of moral obligation and duty in the face of forces larger than oneself.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

‘Thomas Mullen is an old-fashioned storyteller, and his epic novel dramatises the complex tensions between individual rights and group responsibilities. Mullen is both merciless and measured in his depiction of the natural forces that can drag idealism down to earth.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A subtle, robustly written novel of compelling contemporary resonance. The ensuing crisis involves the entire community, pitting principles against passion, values against instinct.’ Observer

‘Thomas Mullen’s debut novel is an exceptionally powerful portrait of a community losing its soul under intense pressure.’ Waterstones Books Quarterly

From the Author:
About the Book
`But They Never Talked About It' - by Thomas Mullen
One tip an aspiring novelist often will hear is `don't try to write something trendy or marketable'. The reason for this is that novels take so long to research, write, edit, and publish that by the time your book hits the stores, the trend that you were hoping to capitalize on will be last year's news - or, more likely, news from five years ago.

So I thought I was safe from this quandary by writing about the 1918 influenza, a historical footnote that few Americans other than historians, virologists, and public health officials seemed to know about as I began my work in 2002. Indeed, one of the only books I could find on the event was titled `America's Forgotten Pandemic'. I myself had been a history major in college and had even focused on Twentieth Century history, yet I'd never heard of the 1918 flu until I saw mention of it in a long article about an AIDS virologist who had once studied the fatal flu strain. What truly got my attention was the striking fact that some uninfected towns in 1918 had posted armed guards to keep outsiders away - the novel's opening confrontation took form in my mind immediately - but I was equally amazed that such a horrific and worldwide event could have become, as the book's title suggests, forgotten.

Why had this major catastrophe been swept under the carpets of history? Possibly because it had occurred during World War I; history texts from this era spend all their ink on the war and can't be troubled to mention the flu - it merits a sentence or two if it gets mentioned at all, even though it killed as many as 100 million people worldwide, far more than the war itself.
I was further intrigued by the fact that, although the 1918 flu took place during the formative years of such literary giants as Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Dos Passos, none of them had written about it. Many writers of that golden literary age found war a weighty topic to expound upon, allowing exploration of such themes as manhood, patriotism, and courage. But a senseless illness that killed so many, without discrimination, did not appeal to these writers the same way, apparently. Perhaps it was too reminiscent - albeit in much greater form - of past typhoid or yellow fever or cholera outbreaks, a reminder of pre-modern times best ignored by young writers hoping to forge a bold new artistic path. Perhaps people had so internalized the incessant propaganda of World War I - to be strong and patriotic and never admit fear - and as a result it would have been unseemly to expound upon or even write about the lives lost to the flu, to stare in the face of such issues as failure and helplessness, to recount such undignified deaths.
Or perhaps the flu was a bitter memory they just wanted to forget.
A number of readers have approached me after reading The Last Town on Earth and told me that its subject reminded them of a great-aunt or a great-grandfather who lost a spouse or parents or children to the epidemic. I have been struck by the fact that their stories always end with some variation of the line: `But she never talked about it.' There seemed to be a wall of silence surrounding survivors' memories of the 1918 flu, which, after the passing of many generations, was quickly leading to the very erasure of those memories. I can only imagine that this is due to the unimaginable horror of the time, the mind's inability to fully grasp what it had experienced and what it had lost. In our current age of psychoanalysis, talk shows, and tell-all memoirs, it is argued that the best way to recover from traumatic events and difficult pasts is to dredge up those memories, to `come to terms' with the fact of those wounds and their effect on our present selves - only then, the theory goes, can we achieve `closure' and become a healthier person. But the mindset in the 1910s was very different, and perhaps survivors felt the only way they could possibly recover from such an event was if they built a wall around those memories and tried, ever so slowly, to walk away from them.

One of the reasons I wrote The Last Town on Earth, then, was that it felt needed, that it would not only fill a gap in the literary canon but also, hopefully, would help retrieve some of the memories that were fading, would provide a new echo for stories that had not been voiced in many years.

By the time the book was published, of course, fear of bird flu - and virologists' warnings that mankind was overdue for another major influenza outbreak - had brought the 1918 flu out of history's dustbin and onto the front pages. Suddenly I was being told that the novel that I thought would be most interesting due to its unknown setting was now `timely', though such timing was unintended and certainly unexpected.

Although the 1918 flu was largely a natural disaster, human actions certainly exacerbated the situation. Governments were too distracted by war to devote sufficient resources to protecting public health, newspapers were cowed by censors into reporting only good news, and citizens showed distrust and suspicion toward their neighbors most in need of aid. People, quite simply, did not know what to do; they had neither government nor media nor family legends and stories to guide them. Even today, despite our many medical advances, it is sobering to realize how much more vulnerable our globalized world would be to such an outbreak. Eighty-nine years since that most awful epidemic, perhaps now is the time to remember what those before us have endured, to understand how the earlier versions of our societies reacted, and to talk about how we might respond if cast in a similar crucible.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

  • PublisherFourth Estate
  • Publication date2006
  • ISBN 10 0007234996
  • ISBN 13 9780007234998
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages416
  • Rating

Buy Used

Condition: Good
All orders are dispatched the following... Learn more about this copy

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom

Destination, rates & speeds

Add to Basket

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Stock Image

Mullen, Thomas
Published by Fourth Estate (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Paperback Quantity: 1
Seller:
Goldstone Books
(Llandybie, United Kingdom)

Book Description Paperback. Condition: Good. All orders are dispatched the following working day from our UK warehouse. Established in 2004, we have over 500,000 books in stock. No quibble refund if not completely satisfied. Seller Inventory # mon0004457777

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
3.41
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Mullen, Thomas
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Better World Books Ltd
(Dunfermline, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Good. Ships from the UK. Former library book; may include library markings. Used book that is in clean, average condition without any missing pages. Seller Inventory # 42285434-75

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
4.47
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Mullen, Thomas
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Better World Books Ltd
(Dunfermline, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Ships from the UK. Former library book; may include library markings. Used book that is in excellent condition. May show signs of wear or have minor defects. Seller Inventory # 49006293-75

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
4.47
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Mullen, Thomas
Published by Fourth Estate (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Paperback Quantity: 3
Seller:
WorldofBooks
(Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)

Book Description Paperback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR007170119

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
1.68
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.80
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Thomas Mullen
Published by Fourth Estate 04/09/2006 (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
AwesomeBooks
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Seller Inventory # 7719-9780007234998

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
4.74
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Thomas Mullen
Published by Fourth Estate 04/09/2006 (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Bahamut Media
(Reading, United Kingdom)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Seller Inventory # 6545-9780007234998

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
4.74
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Thomas Mullen
Published by Fourth Estate (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used paperback Quantity: 1
Seller:
Re-Read Ltd
(Doncaster, United Kingdom)

Book Description paperback. Condition: Fair. Wear present.Discolouration present.Fold creasing present.Foxing.Scruff marks and small marks present on the front cover and back cover.Scruff mark present at the sides of pages.Small mark present on a few pages. Tearing present.3 for 2 price sticker present on the front cover. Seller Inventory # E0191099

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
7.19
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Mullen, Thomas
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Better World Books: West
(Reno, NV, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Used book that is in excellent condition. May show signs of wear or have minor defects. Seller Inventory # 48559122-75

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
7.26
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 6.68
From U.S.A. to United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Thomas Mullen
Published by Fourth Estate (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
GF Books, Inc.
(Hawthorne, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Book is in Used-VeryGood condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain very limited notes and highlighting. 1.15. Seller Inventory # 0007234996-2-3

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
6.69
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 11.79
From U.S.A. to United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

Thomas Mullen
Published by Fourth Estate (2006)
ISBN 10: 0007234996 ISBN 13: 9780007234998
Used Softcover Quantity: 1
Seller:
Book Deals
(Tucson, AZ, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: Very Good. Very Good condition. Shows only minor signs of wear, and very minimal markings inside (if any). 1.15. Seller Inventory # 353-0007234996-vrg

More information about this seller | Contact seller

Buy Used
7.24
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 11.79
From U.S.A. to United Kingdom
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book