Alas Babylon By: Pat Frank

alexis nguyen B4

Alas Babylon By: Pat Frank

This 1959 work of fiction takes place in the same year it is published and is the story of a small town in north central Florida. The population of Fort Repose and the surrounding area is just under five thousand. Central characters in the novel are the Bragg brothers and their family. The older Mark is a career military officer. His brother Randy seems at first a ne'er do well lawyer and borderline alcoholic. Randy lives the carefree life of a wealthy old Florida family's younger son. Mark's premonitions and fears initiate the storyline but he is in only the spirit, hope and memories of his wife and children during most of it. Mark sends them to Randy in Fort Repose since Omaha is a primary Soviet target. Pat Frank narrates how nations destroy each other and themselves using nuclear arms...

This book shows focuses on leadership in crisis.... Here are some quotes and passages showing places where characters show leadership in crisis

1. Ben is sobbing after killing the dog that had been stealing animals from the farm. Randy comforts him and shows that he can lead and help people understand what has to be done in the time of this crisis.

*Randy- "Look at me Ben. It was a wolf, it wasn't a dog any longer. You did just right."


2. After Dan Gunn is beaten by the highwaymen and is able to tell Randy what happened. Randy's reaction speaks volumes about the kind of person he is. This quote shows that Randy cares a lot about his friends, like a good leader should, but he also tries to hide his emotions so that they don't have to worry about it.

*Leaning over the bed, Randy's fingers interlock. He unconsciously squeezed until the tendons on his forearm stood out like taut wires. Randy said, "Don't worry about it."


3. Dan Gunn shows in this quote that even before Randy became the leader he is by the end of the book, people know that he has the ability to be a leader even in the heat of crisis.

*Dan- "You react to crisis in the right way. Some people melt in the heat of crisis and come apart like fat in the pan. Others meet the challenge and harden. I think you're going to harden."




Key Points

  • Alas, Babylon shows many different examples of leadership in a crisis.
  • Many studies have been conducted on how crisis affects the emergence of leadership
  • Leaders are usually people that know the most about the subject

This novel focuses on leadership...

Since this novel focuses on leadership, I chose this picture because a leader stands out from a group of people. Leaders are different in that they set the example for everyone around them. The red person is the leader in this picture. He/she is the one who stands out from the crowd. It's not physical traits that make someone a leader, however, but in this picture the red person is an element of symbolism. The red symbolizes how a person who is a leader, is the one who stands out from the rest of the people.

2 Major themes in this novel:

  1. Survival against the odds and
  2. Personal rediscovery and redemption

This picture represents one of the themes in this novel.. which is Survival against the odds

*More on the themes of this novel...

Personal rediscovery and redemption: Personal rediscovery and redemption is seen in the characters as they develop and evolve. Randy changes from a playboy bachelor with a trust fund into a hardened leader. Dr. Gunn changes from a man who has lost his calling to a man with a mission. Alice, after years of disillusionment, finds her purpose as the guardian of knowledge. Helen and Lib become strong protectors of the hearth and home.



Survival: Randy, his household, and his neighbors know that civilization must be rebuilt-there is much in american civilization worth saving-but,to do that, they must first survive. The survival instinct can be found in the gopher soup, salads of local greenery and "weeds," and in the improvisation of needed tools. Even the highwaymen show their need for survival even if in an innapropriate way (through murder and pillage).

The above picture shows a girl who made a fire out of materials from nature. In this novel, the characters had to find a way to survive the aftermath of a disaster which they encountered.

*In the story, they had to make due with what materials and resources that they could find and with what they already had.