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The Last Town on Earth

by

The Last Town on Earth Cover

ISBN13: 9781400065202
ISBN10: 1400065208
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set against the backdrop of one of the most virulent epidemics that America ever experienced — the 1918 flu epidemic — Thomas Mullen's powerful, sweeping first novel is a tale of morality in a time of upheaval.

Deep in the mist-shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest is a small mill town called Commonwealth, conceived as a haven for workers weary of exploitation. For Philip Worthy, the adopted son of the town's founder, it is a haven in another sense — as the first place in his life he's had a loving family to call his own.

And yet, the ideals that define this outpost are being threatened from all sides. A world war is raging, and with the fear of spies rampant, the loyalty of all Americans is coming under scrutiny. Meanwhile, another shadow has fallen across the region in the form of a deadly illness striking down vast swaths of surrounding communities.

When Commonwealth votes to quarantine itself against contagion, guards are posted at the single road leading in and out of town, and Philip Worthy is among them. He will be unlucky enough to be on duty when a cold, hungry, tired — and apparently ill — soldier presents himself at the town's doorstep begging for sanctuary. The encounter that ensues, and the shots that are fired, will have deafening reverberations throughout Commonwealth, escalating until every human value — love, patriotism, community, family, friendship — not to mention the town's very survival, is imperiled.

Inspired by a little-known historical footnote regarding towns that quarantined themselves during the 1918 epidemic, The Last Town on Earth is a remarkably moving and accomplished debut.

Review:

"It is the autumn of 1918 and a world war and an influenza epidemic rage outside the isolated utopian logging community of Commonwealth, Wash. In an eerily familiar climate of fear, rumor and patriotic hysteria, the town enacts a strict quarantine, posting guards at the only road into town. A weary soldier approaches the gate on foot and refuses to stop. Shots ring out, setting into motion a sequence of events that will bring the town face-to-face with some of the 20th-century's worst horrors. Mullen's ambitious debut is set against a plausibly sketched background, including events such the Everett Massacre (between vigilantes and the IWW), the political repression that accompanied the U.S. entry into WWI and the rise of the Wobblies. But what Mullen supplies in terms of historical context, he lacks in storytelling; though the novel is set in 1918, it was written in a post 9/11 world where fear of bird flu regularly makes headlines, and the allegory is heavy-handed (the protagonist townie, after all, is named Philip Worthy). The grim fascination of the narrative, however, will keep readers turning the pages. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"No man is an island, John Donne wrote, and if you dare try to be one, the world will come ram down your door and give you what for. Well, Donne didn't write that second part, but it's a truth pretty universally acknowledged, if you'll pardon the literary allusion-mixing. And it's never truer than in bad times. The harder you try to hide, the more brutally you'll be yanked back into the fray.

... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A brisk pace and good storytelling bring to life a historical period that seems as fraught and fascinating as our own." Seattle Times

Review:

"[A] timely and sobering look back at a nation during a deadly war involving a human enemy far away, a disease at home, fear, and political and cultural forces." Library Journal

Review:

"Mullen draws effective parallels with our current fear of contagious viruses, obsession with foreign operatives, and repression of political dissent." Booklist

About the Author

Thomas Mullen was born in Rhode Island and lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife. He is at work on a new novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

reaganjt, March 4, 2008 (view all comments by reaganjt)
Novel regarding the hysteria facing a town during a the flu epidemic, and how its very efforts to protect itself cause it to disintegrate. Sad moving tale.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400065202
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Mullen, Thomas
Author:
Thomas Mullen
Author:
Thomas Mullen
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Ethics
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Community life
Subject:
Influenza
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20060829
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.44x6.48x1.35 in. 1.51 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Last Town on Earth Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Random House - English 9781400065202 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "It is the autumn of 1918 and a world war and an influenza epidemic rage outside the isolated utopian logging community of Commonwealth, Wash. In an eerily familiar climate of fear, rumor and patriotic hysteria, the town enacts a strict quarantine, posting guards at the only road into town. A weary soldier approaches the gate on foot and refuses to stop. Shots ring out, setting into motion a sequence of events that will bring the town face-to-face with some of the 20th-century's worst horrors. Mullen's ambitious debut is set against a plausibly sketched background, including events such the Everett Massacre (between vigilantes and the IWW), the political repression that accompanied the U.S. entry into WWI and the rise of the Wobblies. But what Mullen supplies in terms of historical context, he lacks in storytelling; though the novel is set in 1918, it was written in a post 9/11 world where fear of bird flu regularly makes headlines, and the allegory is heavy-handed (the protagonist townie, after all, is named Philip Worthy). The grim fascination of the narrative, however, will keep readers turning the pages. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A brisk pace and good storytelling bring to life a historical period that seems as fraught and fascinating as our own."
"Review" by , "[A] timely and sobering look back at a nation during a deadly war involving a human enemy far away, a disease at home, fear, and political and cultural forces."
"Review" by , "Mullen draws effective parallels with our current fear of contagious viruses, obsession with foreign operatives, and repression of political dissent."
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