Quotes From Classic Novel 'Alas, Babylon'

Alas Babylon Cover

Pat Frank's classic novel "Alas, Babylon" is filled with provocative quotes. Published in 1959, the book takes place in Florida and is centered around the Braggs. One of the first novels of the nuclear age, "Alas, Babylon" has a distinctly post-apocalyptic bent. With this roundup of quotes, categorized by chapter, familiarize yourself with the prose that made this novel so unique. 

Chapters 1-2

  • "Urgent you meet me at Base Ops McCoy noon today. Helen and children flying to Orlando tonight. Alas Babylon." (Ch. 1)
  • "Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come." (Ch. 2)
  • "Sure. Time-on-target. You don't fire everything at the same instant. You shoot it so it all arrives on target at the same instant." (Ch. 2)

Chapters 4-5

  • "Peewee may be a mouse aboard ship, but he's a tiger in a Tiger. If I sent him up with orders to shoot down the moon, he'd try." (Ch. 4)
  • "'So here comes our local Paul Revere,' he greeted Randy. 'What are you trying to do, frighten my wife and daughter to death?'" (Ch. 4)
  • "Ben Franklin, staring to the south, said, 'I don't see any mushroom cloud. Don't they always have a mushroom cloud?'" (Ch. 5)
  • "Edgar hesitated. To refuse to cash government savings bonds was fiduciary sacrilege so awful that the possibility never before had entered his head. Yet here he was, faced with it. 'No,' he decided, 'we don't cash any bonds. Tell those individuals that we won't cash any bonds until we find out where the government stands, or if.'" (Ch. 5)

Chapters 6-9

  • "As Chief Executive of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, I hereby declare a state of unlimited national emergency until such time as new elections are held, and Congress reconvenes." (Ch. 6)
  • "Who's winning? Nobody's winning. Cities are dying and ships are sinking and aircraft is going in, but nobody's winning." (Ch. 6)
  • "'In four months,' Randy said, 'we've regressed four thousand years. More, maybe. Four thousand years ago the Egyptians and Chinese were more civilized than Pistolville is right now. Not only Pistolville. Think what must be going on in those parts of the country where they don't even have fruit and pecans and catfish.'" (Ch. 8)
  • "I think most of us sensed this truth, but we could not accept it. You see, no matter how well we understood the truth it was necessary that the Kremlin understand it too. It takes two to make a peace but only one to make a war. So all we could do, while vowing not to strike first, was line up our lead soldiers." (Ch. 9)
  • "'It was a wolf,' Randy said. 'It wasn't a dog any longer. In times like these dogs can turn into wolves. You did just right, Ben. Here, take back your gun.'" (Ch. 9)

Chapters 10-13

  • "No. A company under martial law. So far as I know I'm the only active Army Reserve officer in town so I guess it's up to me." (Ch. 10)
  • "The end of the corn and exhaustion of the citrus crop had been inevitable. Armadillos in the yams was bad luck, but bearable. But without fish and salt their survival was in doubt." (Ch. 12)
  • "Ben Franklin was credited with discovering a new source of food, and was a hero. Peyton was only a girl, fit for sewing, pot washing, and making beds." (Ch. 12)
  • "It was proof that the government of the United States still functioned. It was also useful as toilet paper. Next day, ten leaflets would buy an egg, and fifty a chicken. It was paper, and it was money." (Ch. 13)
  • "'We won it. We really clobbered 'em!' Hart's eyes lowered and his arms drooped. He said, 'Not that it matters.'" (Ch. 13)
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Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From Classic Novel 'Alas, Babylon'." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/alas-babylon-quotes-738461. Lombardi, Esther. (2023, April 5). Quotes From Classic Novel 'Alas, Babylon'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/alas-babylon-quotes-738461 Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From Classic Novel 'Alas, Babylon'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/alas-babylon-quotes-738461 (accessed June 8, 2023).