My holiday reading consisted of the novel by William R. Forstchen titled "One Second After." The title was obviously a nod to The Day After, the made-for-TV cold war movie about the horrors experienced by survivors of a series of nuclear bomb strikes on the U.S. That movie surely caused nightmares across the country the day after it was broadcast.
"One Second After" is about what happens to the inhabitants of a small community in North Carolina following an EMP explosion high above the U.S. The effect was the destruction of everything electrical, sparing only components built before the circuit board became a part of practically every electrical item manufactured. With no electricity or hope of rebuilding the generators and replacing the lines, things went to hell in short order. With no trucks bringing in food, the severe rationing of available food stock brought on starvation. Medicine for the entire community was in short supply, anyone with a medical dependency suffered or died, and epidemics became deadly.
Oh yeah, large armed gangs roamed the countryside taking over communities to steal what food they might have and/or cannibalize the inhabitants.
"One Second After" ends one year after the event with a community of survivors transformed by the loss of 80% of its population. But hey, it was a very good book. Just scary.
So could something like that really happen? Many people think so. See North Korea EMP attack could destroy U.S. — now in which Peter Vincent Pry lays out credible reasoning that North Korea currently has the capability to deliver and explode an EMP bomb over the U.S.
For more background see the Commission's first Executive Report from 2004 which contains the quaint suggestion the cost of improving our security over the "next 3 to 5 years is modest by any standard." Too bad we haven't done it. Further, "We must persuade nations to forgo obtaining nuclear weapons or to provide acceptable assurance that these weapons will neither threaten the vital interests of the United States nor fall into threatening hands." That the current administration seems more intent on taking guns away from the citizenry than protecting against this type of threat seems laughable in light of what the fictional characters of "One Second After" endured.