Flashback Friday: The Last Ship

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

My Flashback Friday pick this week:

The Last Ship: A Novel

The Last Ship by William Brinkley
(published 1988)

Synopsis (Goodreads):

The unimaginable horror of total nuclear war has been let loose upon the world, and only one ship, the Nathan James, with 152 men and 26 women aboard, has survived. Her captain narrates the electrifying story of this crew’s voyage through the hell of nuclear winter, their search for survival, and the fate of mankind when they find an uncontaminated paradise.

This books gave me nightmares for weeks! Fascinating and horrifying, The Last Ship focuses on — literally — the last ship, a naval warship that has somehow survived the initial devastation of nuclear war by being far enough at sea to avoid the blasts. As the ship’s crew searches for some remaining corner of the world safe from fall-out and radiation, they struggle with what it means to be the last people on earth, what a future might hold for them, and what their obligation toward the survival of the species might compel them to do.

The disasters of nuclear war are unflinchingly described, and the psychological impact of being alone in the world is skillfully explored, with many shades of grey and endless capacity for complete ruin. I enjoyed the descriptions of life aboard ship, particularly as this book was ahead of its time in positing a US Navy in which women serve on board ships alongside men. (The survival of the species thing would be a bit tough, otherwise…)

When it comes to cautionary tales about the arms race and nuclear annihilation, The Last Ship belongs on the “best of” shelf right alongside Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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