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Children of the Dust

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After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations. Everyone thought, when the alarm bell rang, that it was just another fire practice. But the first bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad, the headmaster said, and a full-scale nuclear attack was imminent. It's a real-life n After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations. Everyone thought, when the alarm bell rang, that it was just another fire practice. But the first bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad, the headmaster said, and a full-scale nuclear attack was imminent. It's a real-life nightmare. Sarah and her family have to stay cooped up in the tightly-sealed kitchen for days on end, dreading the inevitable radioactive fall-out and the subsequent slow, torturous death, which seems almost preferable to surviving in a grey, dead world, choked by dust. But then, from out of the dust and the ruins and the destruction, comes new life, a new future, and a whole brave new world.


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After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations. Everyone thought, when the alarm bell rang, that it was just another fire practice. But the first bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad, the headmaster said, and a full-scale nuclear attack was imminent. It's a real-life n After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations. Everyone thought, when the alarm bell rang, that it was just another fire practice. But the first bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad, the headmaster said, and a full-scale nuclear attack was imminent. It's a real-life nightmare. Sarah and her family have to stay cooped up in the tightly-sealed kitchen for days on end, dreading the inevitable radioactive fall-out and the subsequent slow, torturous death, which seems almost preferable to surviving in a grey, dead world, choked by dust. But then, from out of the dust and the ruins and the destruction, comes new life, a new future, and a whole brave new world.

30 review for Children of the Dust

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charli

    I read this book when I was in the fourth grade. It has stayed with me all these years (I'm 33 now) in some small form or another. I've recently been reading more dystopian themed books and Children of the Dust was back in the forefront of my mind. It was the first book of a less-than-shiny-happy-future nature that I'd ever read and it, clearly, hasn't been the last. I'm looking forward to finding a copy again and giving it another read to see how it adds up now. I read this book when I was in the fourth grade. It has stayed with me all these years (I'm 33 now) in some small form or another. I've recently been reading more dystopian themed books and Children of the Dust was back in the forefront of my mind. It was the first book of a less-than-shiny-happy-future nature that I'd ever read and it, clearly, hasn't been the last. I'm looking forward to finding a copy again and giving it another read to see how it adds up now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Started out really well, I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and was gripped by the dramatic opening chapter. However it quickly became rather grim and depressing, with the main character, her stepmother and two step-siblings slowly dying of radiation sickness, surrounded by the corpses of various people and animals (including their pet cocker spaniel who they locked out during the blast and whose desperate scratches at the door become increasingly feeble...), all described in graphic detail co Started out really well, I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and was gripped by the dramatic opening chapter. However it quickly became rather grim and depressing, with the main character, her stepmother and two step-siblings slowly dying of radiation sickness, surrounded by the corpses of various people and animals (including their pet cocker spaniel who they locked out during the blast and whose desperate scratches at the door become increasingly feeble...), all described in graphic detail complete with weeping sores, rotting gums and vomiting blood etc. The main character is filled with some kind of protective instinct for her step sister, so she pretty much commits suicide to take her to some guy with a greenhouse and food supplies, and then dies. When that cheerful section ended the rest of the novel was all about how homo sapiens mutates and evolves (in two generations) to develop long white fur and white eyes with small pupils able to see UV light, in order to help them survive in the desert with a ruined ozone layer that is England after the nuclear winter. This new race is good, kind, non-violent and awesome, and also (handily) psychic and telekinetic. They manage to make plants grow and flourish again in the desert (we are never told exactly where they get the water from, and why the plants and animals don't evolve), and revert back to a more simple, natural, agricultural existence. The foolish humans who are left, who tried to survive underground and use, like, 'technology' instead of evolving with the times, can do nothing but admit how awesome the furry people are and how useless, stupid and violent they have been. But the two races do reconcile in the end - or at least, one human does. Good old Simon! A character with a definite purpose: Communicating the Author's Point To The Reader. There was nothing he loved more than to muse on the failings of the human race, TO himself but AT you. The final scene has him helping one of the furry girls onto his horse, at which point: "two thousand years of strife-ridden history resolved itself in them. Appearances did not matter. Creed or colour, race or religion or political affiliation, did not matter. They had raised themselves above all that. Spiritually, mentally and emotionally, they accepted each other." Ha ha! Reminds me of Captain Jack Sparrow. "I think we've all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically... grammatically..." So yeah. Too grim at the start, too soppy at the end, fairly poor writing throughout, but still interesting enough to keep me reading. P.S. A final parting shot at Louise Lawrence: POLAR animals have long white fur. Desert animals are mostly nocturnal, ground-dwelling, or lizards. I know the idea of white = reflecting light = safe from sun seems sensible, but the whole point of fur is that it traps heat.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kulsuma

    I really enjoyed Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence. I read this book years ago and it struck a chord with me. This was one of the first dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels I read and it was a great introduction into the genre. This novel makes you think very deeply about our world. Are we taking care of it? Will we really end up like this? Lawrence has written a realistic, informative account of life after such a great disaster. Though Children of the Dust is quite dark and hope seems lost t I really enjoyed Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence. I read this book years ago and it struck a chord with me. This was one of the first dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels I read and it was a great introduction into the genre. This novel makes you think very deeply about our world. Are we taking care of it? Will we really end up like this? Lawrence has written a realistic, informative account of life after such a great disaster. Though Children of the Dust is quite dark and hope seems lost throughout much of the story, there were significant glimmers of humans recovering and progressing that it was enough for me to enjoy the book. Additionally, Children of the Dust ended on a very positive note and I was filled with hope for the future. The story is narrated from three perspectives: Sarah, Ophelia and Simon-three very different characters that are intrinsically connected. This multiple-narration is something that I haven't observed in many dystopian books so I was very much enthralled. Instead of discovering the effects of this 'nuclear disaster' on only one generation, I was able to learn about three generations and thus know of the impacts in the long term. Also, Lawrence has written the story in such a way that it was possible for me to sympathise with all three narrators. This had been an aspect I'd been worried about previous to reading the book, however, the multiple-narration did not affect me in developing emotional attachments with all three narrators. I liked the fact that Sarah, Ophelia and Simon all learnt and developed as characters. There were scenes where my heart was wrenching because of what the characters had to go through, for example, the innocence of William, Sarah's young brother, who did not understand what was happening. My only qualm with Children of the Dust was that the reason for the supposed nuclear war was not obviously stated but only hinted at. I felt as though Lawrence was telling her readers: It is enough to know that it happened. Overall, Children of the Dust was a highly enjoyable read that allowed me to delve into the minds of three generations of people affected by a nuclear disaster. I found the story very realistic and frightening in the possibility that it may happen one day. For me, Children of the Dust was an unforgettable tale about survival, family and hope. Book Rating: 4.5/5 - Children of the Dust could have gone into more detail in some aspects. Concept: 4/5 - I would have liked further depth in the story. Cover: 4/5 - Very much in relation to the story, sad and poignant.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    I read this in middle school, and it traumatized the hell out of me. It begins before nuclear bombs go off, and then pitilessly takes a few characters (children and one of their parents) through their attempts to survive. To this day I put covers over my drinking water so that radioactive dust won't drift down and contaminate it, as I vividly remember it doing in this book. I read this in middle school, and it traumatized the hell out of me. It begins before nuclear bombs go off, and then pitilessly takes a few characters (children and one of their parents) through their attempts to survive. To this day I put covers over my drinking water so that radioactive dust won't drift down and contaminate it, as I vividly remember it doing in this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Courtenay

    I read this originally when I was in Year 10 and remember complaining to my English teacher that it was making me depressed. Nevertheless, it had such a huge impact on me at 15 years old and I remember just wanting to be better and do better. I would love to reread this book if I could find it and see what my reaction to it is now. I remember that the writing was very profound and that the description of setting and characters was detailed. I think the reason it had such a huge impact on me was I read this originally when I was in Year 10 and remember complaining to my English teacher that it was making me depressed. Nevertheless, it had such a huge impact on me at 15 years old and I remember just wanting to be better and do better. I would love to reread this book if I could find it and see what my reaction to it is now. I remember that the writing was very profound and that the description of setting and characters was detailed. I think the reason it had such a huge impact on me was the closeness in age between myself and Sarah, and I know other students in my class felt the same. However, I think that it is a very important book for teens to read and one which she continue to circulate through the education system. I think from a teacher's perspective though a little more support and discussion of the book and its themes with my teacher would have made me feel more settled while reading it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    Along with ‘Z for Zachariah’, this was one of my wife’s favourite books from childhood. A book she loved so much in the school library, that lived so alive in her imagination, she sought it out as an adult and devoured it hungrily again. I can only say that the fact they’re both post-nuclear apocalypse tales – with lashings of soft horror and sci-fi – just proves once again that she is indeed my soulmate. Life in a post-nuclear apocalypse told through the eyes of three generations of one family, Along with ‘Z for Zachariah’, this was one of my wife’s favourite books from childhood. A book she loved so much in the school library, that lived so alive in her imagination, she sought it out as an adult and devoured it hungrily again. I can only say that the fact they’re both post-nuclear apocalypse tales – with lashings of soft horror and sci-fi – just proves once again that she is indeed my soulmate. Life in a post-nuclear apocalypse told through the eyes of three generations of one family, ‘Children of the Dust’ is brutally cynical about the human race. It’s a compelling, but it’s harsh read. Angry and disappointed about all the good that man is capable of compared to the devastation he’s wrought (or rather, seems likely to wrought in this mid-eighties tale). There’s so much justifiable bitterness here, that it’s quite astounding Lawrence manages to switch things around and end on a hopeful note. In fact, the narrative pushes so suddenly and swiftly at a new found optimism, it almost feels rushed – while at the same time seeming as if this more upbeat conclusion has been earned. The reader has been through so much, endured such hardships on behalf of the characters, that it would have been a hard tale indeed to end without even a nugget of comfort.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jose Moa

    I am very surprised by the very good quality of this book,it is well writen and full of concepts as humanity ,solidarity ,ecología ,pacifism and antixenofobia.It is light years of the Young adult books today in print,it says more in 150 pages tan others in 1500.For me it is a book that would be of obligued read in all schools of the world ,it would be a better world.After a beautiful prologue by the autor, the book has three chapters with three heroines relatives one another in chronologic order I am very surprised by the very good quality of this book,it is well writen and full of concepts as humanity ,solidarity ,ecología ,pacifism and antixenofobia.It is light years of the Young adult books today in print,it says more in 150 pages tan others in 1500.For me it is a book that would be of obligued read in all schools of the world ,it would be a better world.After a beautiful prologue by the autor, the book has three chapters with three heroines relatives one another in chronologic order.The first chapter is Sarah,a brutal descriptionof the destruction misery and angish of a real nuclear war with his rigurous efects of depletion of ozone layer , nuclear Winter and radiactive fall(this is no out of date ,the world nuclear stockpiles are here and a nuclear war can begins by a unexpected accident or a unexpected scalada of a regional war)in this chapter also upsurge themes as the eutanasia an the goodness of the God and the devil in the world.The second chapter Ophelia is the mini distopian life in a gubernamental bunker with his lack of assistance to the mutants and survivals of the outher worl,here the autor touch themes as the integral education in manual work sciences and humanidades.The third chapter Simon has the heroin Laura,the bunker is ruined and in starvation and his inhabitants over runed by the mutants that created a better worlr a dreamed utopia ruled by they the Homo Superior and Simon awakes to a new vission no xenophobic of the mutants.The only fault of the book is the too optimistic and idealistic belief in the innata goodness of the human being the book can be viewed as a warning to the future of humankind

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nurture Waratah

    When I read this book as a tween, it made a huge impression on me. In fact, I had nightmares for years afterwards. It took me a while to track this down as an adult, but I finally found a copy at my local op-shop. I was worried that it would seem corny or dull and flat after all these years, as childhood favourites often do, but my worry was wasted. While I wasn't left with nightmares this time around, I found the book as emotionally disturbing, engaging and thought-provoking as I did when I was When I read this book as a tween, it made a huge impression on me. In fact, I had nightmares for years afterwards. It took me a while to track this down as an adult, but I finally found a copy at my local op-shop. I was worried that it would seem corny or dull and flat after all these years, as childhood favourites often do, but my worry was wasted. While I wasn't left with nightmares this time around, I found the book as emotionally disturbing, engaging and thought-provoking as I did when I was a child. This is a definite must read for fans of the post-apocalyptic genre.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gina Gwen

    I remember I saw the cover of this book in junior high. It was a dark brown hardcover with gold letters. I checked it out purely on the look of it. I read it in two days. I could have read it in one but I was enamored, and I wanted it to last since I knew it would be over too soon. It was one of the few early books I read where I actually cried. I wondered how this could be in my junior high library since it dealt with nuclear war and what happens afterwards. I think perhaps it was my first peak I remember I saw the cover of this book in junior high. It was a dark brown hardcover with gold letters. I checked it out purely on the look of it. I read it in two days. I could have read it in one but I was enamored, and I wanted it to last since I knew it would be over too soon. It was one of the few early books I read where I actually cried. I wondered how this could be in my junior high library since it dealt with nuclear war and what happens afterwards. I think perhaps it was my first peak into the world of science fiction. I read it now and of course, it doesn’t have the same punch, but when I was younger, this book had a lasting effect on me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Coquille Fleur

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Written in the early 80's at the height of the nuclear cold war threat, this has to be one of the more hopeful apocalypse novels I have read. It follows three generations of an English family from minutes before the bombs hit to 50 years post-apocalypse. Lawrence juxtaposes two societies of survivors; the "outsiders" who live through the holocaust on their own abilities independent of the remaining government, and the society of government top-ranking families that lives below ground in the unde Written in the early 80's at the height of the nuclear cold war threat, this has to be one of the more hopeful apocalypse novels I have read. It follows three generations of an English family from minutes before the bombs hit to 50 years post-apocalypse. Lawrence juxtaposes two societies of survivors; the "outsiders" who live through the holocaust on their own abilities independent of the remaining government, and the society of government top-ranking families that lives below ground in the underground cities preserving the "pre-holocaust" way of life. The last chapter of the book is truly amazing as the evolution of the human race is realized by one of the last bastions of the dying breed. I love the adaptation of the mutants and the beauty of the transformation that happens in the two generations post-radiation. Really brilliant and optimistic. The detail she brings to the death of nature and most of the human race is amazing, as well. However, I would've liked more detail in the early days and throughout, really, as this book is way too short. I read it in one sitting in about 2 hours.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Ferguson

    This book still chills me. My very scary English teacher made me read it when I was a very naive fourteen year old and it did haunt me a bit. I really, really liked it despite that. My country is nuclear free and we were studying that in class I seem to remember. This book sure put me on the side to remain nuclear free and I think I got very pompous about it at the time. Obviously now I have grown up a bit and see the benefits of nuclear power but when I reread this, the teenage fears do come back This book still chills me. My very scary English teacher made me read it when I was a very naive fourteen year old and it did haunt me a bit. I really, really liked it despite that. My country is nuclear free and we were studying that in class I seem to remember. This book sure put me on the side to remain nuclear free and I think I got very pompous about it at the time. Obviously now I have grown up a bit and see the benefits of nuclear power but when I reread this, the teenage fears do come back. Maybe I was just very impressionable, or maybe it is the book that made the impression, I shan't be able to tell without psych unit help, but the story could potentially happen and that will probably always send a shiver down my spine. It doesn't shy away from being dark and there is much lightness in it, at all, nor is it balanced with much humour. It does leave you with something though. I just wish I could figure out what...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    This was a quick read, although the start was harrowing and I was worried that the whole book was going to be doom, gloom and dead children. Not exactly the best book to start reading on a crowded train into work. The imagery used in the book is striking; Lawrence really succeeds in setting the scene and presenting a visually striking vision of a post-nuclear strike England. Normally the religious aspects might put me off, but Lawrence put biblical concepts and imagery to good use without overbur This was a quick read, although the start was harrowing and I was worried that the whole book was going to be doom, gloom and dead children. Not exactly the best book to start reading on a crowded train into work. The imagery used in the book is striking; Lawrence really succeeds in setting the scene and presenting a visually striking vision of a post-nuclear strike England. Normally the religious aspects might put me off, but Lawrence put biblical concepts and imagery to good use without overburdening the reader in theology. There's a certain beauty in Lawrence's vision of a future in which mankind has nearly destroyed itself. Although the book starts in the most daunting and destructive possible way, it ends on a high note that leaves you feeling fluffy and hopeful that we aren't all complete morons stumbling towards extinction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ysabel

    I first read this book when I stole it from my older sister who was reading it for a school project. The first section of the book "Sarah" had me in tears. Being of a similar age to Sarah I was really upset by the horrors she had to face. The next two books go on to show the next generations of Sarah's family and how they survived the nuclear holocaust. It's an interesting view. I like the way the author didn't shy away from the mutilation, from the harsh reality of life after a nuclear holocaus I first read this book when I stole it from my older sister who was reading it for a school project. The first section of the book "Sarah" had me in tears. Being of a similar age to Sarah I was really upset by the horrors she had to face. The next two books go on to show the next generations of Sarah's family and how they survived the nuclear holocaust. It's an interesting view. I like the way the author didn't shy away from the mutilation, from the harsh reality of life after a nuclear holocaust. It still is one of my favourite books and I read it frequently.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Madi

    I read this book a couple of years ago in school, and unlike most required reading i absolutely loved it. This book of post nuclear apocalypse shows the survival of three separate people with very different outlooks on what has happened, this book made me think and is one of the books that have most affected me and the way i think about things for a long time while it continued to stick with me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sayra

    This book completely freaked me out when I was a child (early teens) and when I reread it as an adult it still made me think thinky thoughts and freak out just a tiny wee bit. :D I think this may be one of my all time favourite books and I wish I had a copy nearby so I could go read it again right now.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dunja Radulov

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Although I appreciate this book's great value and its important message, I must admit that it took ages for me to read it, and that I enjoyed only parts of it. That said, let's write a few words about the book itself. The novel follows three generations of a family caught up in a nuclear war and its aftermath. In the first part of the novel, "Sarah", Veronica, her children William and Catherine, and her stepdaughter Sarah are trapped in their house after a nuclear attack on Britain. A few days a Although I appreciate this book's great value and its important message, I must admit that it took ages for me to read it, and that I enjoyed only parts of it. That said, let's write a few words about the book itself. The novel follows three generations of a family caught up in a nuclear war and its aftermath. In the first part of the novel, "Sarah", Veronica, her children William and Catherine, and her stepdaughter Sarah are trapped in their house after a nuclear attack on Britain. A few days after the attack Veronica has to leave the house to get some necessary things, and she starts suffering from a radiation disease. Veronica slowly looses her will to live, so she leaves to find a place to die. Sarah, her 15 year old stepdaughter, takes over Veronica's responsibilities. From the beginning of the novel Sarah notices how Catherine's instinct to survive is very strong and decides to do everything to help her survive, even sacrifice William's and her own life. This is the part where the book started loosing my full attention. Even though I realize that this kind of thinking may come up in such severe conditions, I just don't see an elder sister preferring one sibling's life over another's. The first part of the book ends in Sarah finding a safe place for Catherine, and going back home to die with William. The second part of the book, "Ophelia" follows Sarah's father, Bill Harnden, whose car is stopped by Erica Kowlonski, a leading authority in the cellular cloning of vegetable and animal protein. Erica asks him to drive her to a government bunker, where they are sealed in along with other important scientists, politicians and members of the military. Consequently, they survive the nuclear attack. Bill and Erica end up having a daughter - Ophelia - the offspring of a loveless marriage out of duty. When the bunker's authoritarian leader decides to “confiscate” the outside survivers' cattle, Bill, Ophelia (now a teenager) and Dwight, Ophelia's friend, choose to set out into the unknown to warn the outsiders. Ophelia's meeting with her aunt Catherine (with her rather unpleasant post-nuclear survivor's appearance) and her mutant offspring doesn't go smoothly, and Ophelia chooses to return to the irrational, unsustainable, “dinosaur” bunker way of life. "Simon", the third part of the novel follows Ophelia's son, who is sent from the bunker to find help, since most of the supplies have been spent, and people in the bunker haven't been able to develop a more sustainable way of life – teaching genetics to their children, while not being able to grow edible food and make comfortable clothes. Simon and the rest of his species, whose ancestors have started the war, are compared with the new generation, the mutants, who are pacifist, ready to share with others and accept differences. The novel ends on a positive note, Simon finds his place within the mutant community, while still being aware that his murderous, selfish species will die out soon and leave the world a better place. Quotes: “Simon hated her for that. Perhaps it was automatic. Her appearance alone made her different from him, and human beings had always feared and hated anyone who was different. Two thousand years of history saw it being repeated over and over, the perpetual struggle of one race, or tribe, or creed, against another... each one thinking they were right, superior, morally justified, or chosen by God. Simon saw himself as normal, Laura as abnormal.” “Homo sapiens! The name itself was an irony. They had not been wise at all, but incredibly stupid. Lords of the Earth with their great gray brains, their thinking minds had placed them above all other forms of life. Yet it had not been thought that compelled them to act, but emotion. From the dawn of their evolution they had killed, and conquered, and subdued. They had committed atrocities on others of their kind, ravaged the land, polluted and destroyed, left millions to starve in Third World countries, and finished it all with a nuclear holocaust. The mutants were right. Intelligent creatures did not commit genocide, or murder the environment on which they were dependent.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Shepherd

    A really important book that really resonates, in terms of what is happening today and has been happening throughout our history: the destruction of humanity . There is a message of hope, that we can overcome our global problems if we accept our differences, accept diversity, work together and use our understanding of science to find a cure for rebuilding the planet and learning to love.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a fairly convincing (if brutal) look at Britain in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. But it goes wildly off the rails in the final third (Simon's story). I mean, by the end of the book only fifty years have passed since the bombs fell - but an entirely new species of humanity has risen up, complete with telepathic abilities. I was on board with the idea that humans would mutate to survive the increased UV radiation, so the eyes / fur / albinism was actually okay with me. But come on This was a fairly convincing (if brutal) look at Britain in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. But it goes wildly off the rails in the final third (Simon's story). I mean, by the end of the book only fifty years have passed since the bombs fell - but an entirely new species of humanity has risen up, complete with telepathic abilities. I was on board with the idea that humans would mutate to survive the increased UV radiation, so the eyes / fur / albinism was actually okay with me. But come on. Two generations on from us and human beings can calm rabid dogs with their minds and FLY PLANES WITH BRAINPOWER ALONE. I shit you not. Fossil fuels are bad, but it's okay because now space exploration can be achieved with MIND-POWERED ROCKETS! Uhh. Okay. Other than the fact that the future of humanity turns out to be batshit insane, the book was only alright. The concept was a good one, but the writing never quite matched it, even before we got to the Mary-Sue mutants in the final third. Most of the main characters are children, but the tone is quite preachy and the author quite frequently segues off into deep reflection on humanity's failings - which has nothing to do with the protagonists and seems frankly out of place. It's if the author just stops the story every once in a while to remind you how godless and irredeemable humanity is. (There's a lot of talk about God, by the way. It's quite jarring for a modern reader.) Nor does it help that the author can't seem to make up her mind. She spends half her time telling us humanity deserved the bombs to fall - that we're an aggressive species, that we're greedy, that ordinary people are as accountable for the war as the government is - but at the same time she implies the millions of people dying of radioactive fallout are all part of some divine plan. She even goes so far (in the crazy final third) as to speculate that God killed off homo sapiens so this incredible new race of super-mutants could come into being. I mean, at that point she was also suggesting humans had erected Stonehenge with the power of their minds, so my eyes were already pretty much rolling out of my head. But still.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I first read this book as a child (about age 11 I think) in the eighties, and it was scary and moving stuff, because back then the threat of nuclear war was really real. It felt like the first part of the book, where the worst happens and this average family have to try and survive as best they can, could be any family. Some of the ideas now seem unrealistic, but I still got that same sickening fear, the same sense of loss, and the same inspiration that I first experienced with this book over thi I first read this book as a child (about age 11 I think) in the eighties, and it was scary and moving stuff, because back then the threat of nuclear war was really real. It felt like the first part of the book, where the worst happens and this average family have to try and survive as best they can, could be any family. Some of the ideas now seem unrealistic, but I still got that same sickening fear, the same sense of loss, and the same inspiration that I first experienced with this book over thirty years ago. Incidentally it's the exact same copy I read as a kid, I've kept it all these years as it had such a profound effect on me!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    I read this when I was 11, and I believe I was a bit too young for some of the more disturbing/depressing parts. This book certainly left an impression on me, beginning my fascination with post-apocalyptic science fiction, and my struggle with defining humanity. Certainly impactful, and in some ways I would say manipulative on the author's part, as it is targeting the most moldable audience. Worth reading for the appropriate age category, but I feel it should be accompanied by adult inquiry feed I read this when I was 11, and I believe I was a bit too young for some of the more disturbing/depressing parts. This book certainly left an impression on me, beginning my fascination with post-apocalyptic science fiction, and my struggle with defining humanity. Certainly impactful, and in some ways I would say manipulative on the author's part, as it is targeting the most moldable audience. Worth reading for the appropriate age category, but I feel it should be accompanied by adult inquiry feedback.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maria Frank

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love thsi book for the way it doesn't rose tint the reality of nuclear war. Also the different ways the surviors deal with their situation is at times sad and other times amazing. All teenage children should read this. Hopefully it will bring home the message that global nuclear war means the end of the human race as we know it. I love thsi book for the way it doesn't rose tint the reality of nuclear war. Also the different ways the surviors deal with their situation is at times sad and other times amazing. All teenage children should read this. Hopefully it will bring home the message that global nuclear war means the end of the human race as we know it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This book was amazing. Bleak, yet hopeful. Feels all over the place!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    This is a book I remember reading probably when it came out (1985), and it had been on my mind lately as something I'd like to reread (even if I'm not exactly sure why). I happened to see it at a book sale on Saturday, so I snapped it up. I had also reread it by Sunday afternoon. It's an interesting book, very much of its time. It was a time when the threat of a nuclear holocaust seemed very real and there were a number of books exploring this idea and what might happen. The two I remember most at This is a book I remember reading probably when it came out (1985), and it had been on my mind lately as something I'd like to reread (even if I'm not exactly sure why). I happened to see it at a book sale on Saturday, so I snapped it up. I had also reread it by Sunday afternoon. It's an interesting book, very much of its time. It was a time when the threat of a nuclear holocaust seemed very real and there were a number of books exploring this idea and what might happen. The two I remember most at this one and H. M. Hoover's Children of Morrow (and look, there's even a theme in the titles that I had never noticed before). They were books that looked for a hopeful future that might come out of such a disaster and in both (and many others) mutations eventually led humans into a better, post-human (and often psychically powered) future. Without looking anything up, I think the feeling now is that there would just be lots of cancers and death, rather than positive mutations, but that was the only hope the authors were finding and offering. I'm going to drop into a spoiler tag now, not because the spoilers are huge, but because it gives you the option to read or not read and they do give away a few plot points. (view spoiler)[ The only part I really remembered from my original read was Sarah's horror when she found the dust had got in through the chimney and they were now all, except for Catherine, contaminated. The first section, Sarah's section, is still horrible. Sarah is incredibly mature (or too much in shock) to deal with everything as she does, taking care of everyone including her stepmother and finding a place for Catherine before going home to die. That's what we were afraid of. It doesn't seem like such a huge fear in 2018, but it's still there. It is interesting that Lawrence chose to make the second two sections told by children from the bunker. I suppose it makes the contrast stronger. That the future belongs to the "mutants" and that old humans are, as described several time, "dinosaurs in a bunker". I think the timeline is really way too short. I do not believe that the new humans (to use a term other than mutants) would have established a new, stable species, and mastered their psychic powers to the degree they have in 55 years. No chance. But Lawrence's goal is to contrast old, warlike humans to these new, peaceful ones, and that wouldn't work if too much time had gone by. I'll give it a pass, but it nagged at me in a way I suspect I didn't notice when I first read it. The message of the book - which is clearly the message of the author - is that war is bad. Technology as we created it was evil and it was cleansed from the world. These new, more agrarian, peaceful humans are what we need. It's a pretty simplistic message, although she does add some depth to it at the end as Laura explains that the knowledge of the people from the bunker is needed, but only to be adapted to the new paradigm, not to be used as it was before. There are two ways to go in books like these - the bunker people are out of date and will be replaced by the "natural" wisdom of the telepathic future which will rebuild the world, such as in this book, or that the survivors outside the bunker have devolved into barbarism and negative mutation and they will be replaced by the wise (and also telepathic) survivors from the bunker who have learned better and will rebuild the world, such is in Children of Morrow. It can work either way around. Both of these are simplistic and, as I said above, the reality would probably just be cancer and death, but books like these were important to sensitive children like me (even if I was 17 when this came out) who were living in a world that was very afraid there might be a nuclear holocaust in our future. Rereading this was been an interesting dip back into my past, and it's left me with a feeling I can't describe. I probably won't give it to my son to read though. He doesn't need books about my childhood terrors; I'm sure he has others of his own. (hide spoiler)]

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thunder Brotherofall

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book I am Reviewing is Children of the Dust a fiction post apocalyptic novel written by Louise Lawrence. It has 168 pages and was published in 1985 The book contains three separate sections in it, The first one is Sarah. Sarah is wherever when the sirens go off, She runs home to her stepmother Veronica to help barricade the house, They get food, water and toys for the son William and Catherine. After the bombs went off, days pass and Sarah realise that the water was contaminated because the c The book I am Reviewing is Children of the Dust a fiction post apocalyptic novel written by Louise Lawrence. It has 168 pages and was published in 1985 The book contains three separate sections in it, The first one is Sarah. Sarah is wherever when the sirens go off, She runs home to her stepmother Veronica to help barricade the house, They get food, water and toys for the son William and Catherine. After the bombs went off, days pass and Sarah realise that the water was contaminated because the chimney was uncovered. Catherine is the only one who seems to have suspicions about the water and decides not to drink the water. Since really the whole family is contaminated except for Catherine, Veronica decides to go out in the wilderness to get canned goods for Catherine, after a while Veronica comes back to tell Sarah that people have formed a community in the church and is giving out contaminated food. Veronica gets really sick and goes off into the wilderness to presumably die, William is also dying so Sarah takes Catherine to a man named Johnson who has been prepared for the war, he takes Catherine in and you can guess Sarah and William die. The next segment is Ophelia, This one begins with a flashback of Sarah’s father Bill who works at Bristol University. He was driving to a meeting when he is flagged down by Erica who has a pass to Government bunker, Feeling the need to repopulate Erica marries Bill and they have a baby. Their child, Ophelia is sixteen and she feels everything is fine but her peers think otherwise, Bill and a Dwight one of Ophelia’s peer, and Ophelia go out into the wilderness to save sheep, Where they meet Johnson’s community along with Bill reuniting with Catherine. Ophelia thinks its disgusting that Catherine and Johnson are married considering that Johnson is old enough to be her father, they also meet one of Catherine’s children, Lilith. The last segment in this book is Simon, It takes place five decades after the war, and Simon, Ophelia’s son spots a person that is being stalked by a pack of wild dogs, he then shoot’s and kills one of them and goes to the person to help them, The person is a mutant and her name is Laura, she tells Simon that “Weapons are evil” and after Simon injures his leg and is then taken to Laura’s community where she lives. Simon meets Blind Kate (who is an Older Catherine) and he realises that he is related to her and all the mutants, he is repulsed by this thought. The next day Laura and Simon with Kate argue and Simon runs away and is then found by a pilot in a plane. Simon tells Laura that they are in fact related and she gets mad at him at first but then she is fine, They both work it out in the end and they work to restore humanity. The book Children of the Dust is a book for those who like post apocalyptic books and it has a great plot, I really liked this book and how it went with the mutant’s it seemed most realistic with the radiation poisoning recommend this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho

    This novel was a fast read. It remind me a movie I watched couple of months ago called Threads. A nice movie of the 80's. It was a wake up call regarding nuclear war. It was set in a city and the impeding doom that follow a nuclear war and the trials afterwards. Very disconcerting to be honest. Regarding this novel it was divided in three parts. Each one follow a different character but they were all connected. The first part dealt with the nuclear war and the weeks/months that followed. It was ve This novel was a fast read. It remind me a movie I watched couple of months ago called Threads. A nice movie of the 80's. It was a wake up call regarding nuclear war. It was set in a city and the impeding doom that follow a nuclear war and the trials afterwards. Very disconcerting to be honest. Regarding this novel it was divided in three parts. Each one follow a different character but they were all connected. The first part dealt with the nuclear war and the weeks/months that followed. It was very interesting and even more was a concept of one particular character - the only one that went to part 2 and 3 but never the main character. The concept was - after a nuclear war a nuclear winter will follow and most society will died. How much ? We don't know. I remember reading that only 5% of the population would survive the nuclear war, fallout and nuclear winter BUT other novels put that number a bit lower or higher. - It doesn't matter the number to be honest. What matters is that this novel introduced something - a person who right from the beginning was more intuitively more keen to adapt. This was very interesting. The second part deals with the years that follow and how some groups survived underneath in bunkers. But the politics of the surviving members (this part deals with 20 years or so) and the difference between the under-dwellers and the outsiders. A group leaves and meets some survivors and the deformed mutants afterwards. The third part and to me not that good - a solid 4 to 5 stars drop to 3. After fifty years a new kind of breed appear - the mutants are no longer deformed per se (like two heads) but change due to nature. Unfortunately besides that view of mutants vs humans which were blamed for the nukes (even this were the descendants). Then the mutants evolved and now had psychic powers and such and were pure communists... never asking and always sharing. They even go that far to say that's evolution. I've read that his novel had ". It contains graphic violence, profane language, and descriptions of sexual activity, for which it was banned from many school libraries." Where? Sexual activity? My god lol there is none. Graphic violence? What in descriptions or because she killed children? I can accept that but profane language? LOL yeah right. (Regarding the communist part it doesn't bother - Home Sapiens - are not that capable of communism - but who knows if our evolution Homo Superior can have a life were sharing and non-violence is the way to go.. I hope it was now but alas...) I only thing that the evolution was too fast. Radiation and the lack of ozone layer would transition to a new "breed" of humans in only 50 years? I don't know and I hope I never found out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mithuna

    The book that I picked is called Children of the dust. It is written by Louise Lawrence. This book is about a girl named Sarah and her family's journey, while a bomb happening. Sarah was in her school when the fire alarm went off, they all thought it was just another fire alarm practices but the truth is that bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad. So all the children went back to there houses. Sarah lived with a step mother, step sister and step brother, so Sarah and her family weren't that The book that I picked is called Children of the dust. It is written by Louise Lawrence. This book is about a girl named Sarah and her family's journey, while a bomb happening. Sarah was in her school when the fire alarm went off, they all thought it was just another fire alarm practices but the truth is that bombs had fallen on Hamburg and Leningrad. So all the children went back to there houses. Sarah lived with a step mother, step sister and step brother, so Sarah and her family weren't that close. When she arrived at her house, her house wasn't a safe place for them, so they moved somewhere it's more safe and that's when their journey begins. As they continued the journey they become more closer between them but that relationship didn't last long. I think that the author is trying to say that it only takes few minutes to understand others, so fully know them before judging them. I said this because in the beginning Sarah and her family weren't that close but after some times working together to survive made them come very close, and feel more like a family. It is also shown in this line when Sarah said " I can't believe this, we are working together". This shows us that we don't believe in each other until we wok together as a great team when we are in a dangerous situation. We can relate to this because sometimes we just judge somebody by what other people says about them instead of knowing them by talking to them. This is a common mistake that is been happening in this world right now and I think that it is very cool the way the author brought this up. Hopefully we can change. I really enjoyed this reading this book because I really like mystery and thriller books and if you like them too, I highly recommend this book. This is not just mystery and thriller, this book also shows that if you work together then everything will change. Something I like about this book is that the author made this book sound very true especially in the beginning when the alarm went off. And something I didn't like about this book is that the ending is very sad.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Avril

    I was 12 years old, in my first year of high school, when this book was published. I read it then and I have never forgotten it. The dedication was imprinted on my mind: ‘For the children that they may never know the dust’. I was part of the generations of children who grew up believing that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust. We read books like this and ‘Z for Zachariah’ as prophecies of our future. And yet more than 30 years later here I am rereading ‘Children of the Dust’ in a world th I was 12 years old, in my first year of high school, when this book was published. I read it then and I have never forgotten it. The dedication was imprinted on my mind: ‘For the children that they may never know the dust’. I was part of the generations of children who grew up believing that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust. We read books like this and ‘Z for Zachariah’ as prophecies of our future. And yet more than 30 years later here I am rereading ‘Children of the Dust’ in a world that has not yet experienced a nuclear war. Maybe we learned? Or maybe our fears simply moved on. Teenagers still read dystopian fiction, the dystopias are just different. The book is divided into three parts, covering 55 years after a nuclear war. In the first part fifteen-year-old Sarah experiences the immediate aftermath of the war. In the second part Sarah’s father and his youngest daughter Ophelia live in a bunker that has sheltered the ‘important’ people from fallout, where the military and politicians dream of rebuilding the world that was destroyed. In the third part Ophelia’s son Simon discovers the new world that is being created by the ‘children of the dust’. Ultimately this is a book of hope which is why it was appropriate for a twelve-year-old to read, and why I wanted to reread it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Conley

    This was written in 1985 and my daughter thought both she and I had read it in that time frame. I am not so sure myself due to the good recall I have concerning books I have read. Regardless of our discussion I spent part of my time reading this book as I am prone to stay up to the wee hours. I did spend time with her and her 2 grandsons and my other daughter. granddaughter and great grandson. The boys were restless and loud but there is much to do here that I had enough time to enjoy this book. This was written in 1985 and my daughter thought both she and I had read it in that time frame. I am not so sure myself due to the good recall I have concerning books I have read. Regardless of our discussion I spent part of my time reading this book as I am prone to stay up to the wee hours. I did spend time with her and her 2 grandsons and my other daughter. granddaughter and great grandson. The boys were restless and loud but there is much to do here that I had enough time to enjoy this book. The story has aged well despite the rapid change in technology. The premise of the story is that an unknown scourge is killing off armies in Europe and several governments retaliate with Atomic bombs which then causes a nuclear winter. The radioactive dust spreads over the world increasing the radiation levels that the survivors must adapt to. As a counterpoint several Governments have built bunkers ran by the military that people could go to in the event they were bombed. Then the author takes the reader forward a few generations showing changes in the population not protected by the bunkers. The differences in these two populations are the heart of the story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    This book utterly terrified me when I first read it, and has stayed with me for many years. The book's impact was not lessened upon re-reading as an adult. The novel illustrates the complete and total devastation wrought upon the human race (and the physical environment upon which our lives are entirely dependent) in this novel by the sheer arrogance and stupidity by the powerful in haunting, frightening detail, and pulls no punches. The book does have a somewhat hopeful ending, but it is certain This book utterly terrified me when I first read it, and has stayed with me for many years. The book's impact was not lessened upon re-reading as an adult. The novel illustrates the complete and total devastation wrought upon the human race (and the physical environment upon which our lives are entirely dependent) in this novel by the sheer arrogance and stupidity by the powerful in haunting, frightening detail, and pulls no punches. The book does have a somewhat hopeful ending, but it is certainly bittersweet. This novel should be mandatory reading for anyone who has any power or influence whatsoever when it comes to the world's nuclear arsenal. The message is clear: if nuclear war actually happens, the human race is totally screwed. There is no coming back from it. 'Children of the Dust' is also a fine demonstration of exactly how screwed the human race is if our environment collapses, for whatever reason, whether by nuclear war or global warming. All the technology in the world won't save us if we don't have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat. Which you would think would be obvious. But, hey, there are profits to be made, damn it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Severina

    Three generations of a family in the aftermath of nuclear war. This is a story in three parts. In the first section, nuclear war begins. Teenager Sarah and her stepmother Veronica follow the instructions on the radio and seal off a room in their house, but when they are unable to shield themselves or Sarah's younger brother from the fallout, Sarah makes it her mission to save her sister Catherine. It is Catherine's descendants that then make up the main characters of the remaining two sections of Three generations of a family in the aftermath of nuclear war. This is a story in three parts. In the first section, nuclear war begins. Teenager Sarah and her stepmother Veronica follow the instructions on the radio and seal off a room in their house, but when they are unable to shield themselves or Sarah's younger brother from the fallout, Sarah makes it her mission to save her sister Catherine. It is Catherine's descendants that then make up the main characters of the remaining two sections of the book, which take place 20 years and then 50-some years post-war. I can't find much to recommend about this. The writing is simplistic (and I am judging by YA standards) and there is a lot of telling, instead of showing. And while I'm sure that there would be genetic mutations for any living thing that managed to survive nuclear fallout, I'm also equally sure that there would not be any positive mutations that would help survivors to adapt to the environment in the first generation. Or the second. Or probably the tenth. Anything like what is described in this book as a first generation mutation would take eons to actually happen. Change is s-l-o-w.

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