About the Author
William R. Forstchen holds a Ph.D. in History from Purdue University with a specialization in military history. He is the author of over forty books, several of which have been New York Times best sellers.
His groundbreaking novel, One Second After, published in 2009, is credited by many with being integral to the start of the “prepper movement” by raising national awareness of the potential threat of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) strike.
He, along with other experts on terrorism and the military situation in the Middle East, also firmly believes that it is time America took serious note of the threats leveled by ISIS: that we are their next target and that it is not a question of if. It is now a question of when. See dayofwrathbook.com.
There are elements of the book One Second After that friends will immediately smile and see the auto-biographical aspect. I did move to Black Mountain, North Carolina twenty-three years ago to teach history at Montreat College where the novel is set.
I was born in New Jersey just outside of Newark, in 1950. My parents were hard working survivors of the Depression and World War II, so typical of that generation that endured so much and then turned around and gave so much to their children and their country. One never realizes just how much their parents endured and sacrificed until you yourself become a parent.
After graduating from college I went on to a rather checkered career since the market for history teachers was all but dead back in the 1970s. I worked in construction for awhile in Manhattan and near our site we watched in envy as the “big guys” sent the twin towers soaring heavenward. I was an assistant greens keeper at a golf course, a hot walker at a race track, an apple picker and sorter, and even rode shotgun on a garbage truck. Back to graduate school at Kutztown University where I was honored to study under Doctor Thomas Seay in the field of psychology, though I did not complete that degree, and finally in 1978 I landed a job at a small boarding school up in Maine. The next ten years of teaching were happy ones for me in general. Only complaint: the ever increasing bureaucracy of education.
It was at this time that I first broke into writing. I’ve published something like fifty books and frankly can’t keep track of the articles and short stories. I’ll just briefly note several that I am particularly proud of:
1. Of course this book, One Second After. I’ll have to say this is not just writing a book to write a book. I believe the threat of America being hit by an EMP weapon is the single greatest danger to the survival of America. I’ll not go into a polemic here on the subject of EMP. I’ll let the book speak for itself along with the various links you can find here to the more technical studies of what happens with EMP weapons and why they are such terrible danger to America. If I have ever written a single book which I pray is a service to my country and on a personal level my daughter and those whom I love, this is the one.
2. The books with Newt Gingrich. A blast to write with Newt and I just wish everyone could have the opportunity I had to just sit down and talk with this guy one-on-one. He is, without doubt, the most brilliant man I have ever met, a joy to work with and a darn good friend. It was some conversations with Newt four years ago that triggered the writing of One Second After.
3. Honor Untarnished: A West Pointer’s Memoir of World War II. Forge Books, 2003. Actually did not write this book, just stood in the background and helped my beloved friend, General Donald V. Bennett (class of 1940 USMA, DSC, Superintendent of West Point, four-star general) with his autobiographical account of the Second World War. He became like a second father to me. . .and my hero, a man who dedicated forty years of his life in service to our country. He was first ashore on the left flank of Omaha Beach and is credited with securing that position. Several years back I visited Omaha and found the bunker he personally took. . . I stood there awed and in tears. A truly great man who sadly, now rests alongside his wife Betts on the plains of West Point.
4. We Look Like Men of War, Forge Books 1999. This is actually a novelization of my doctoral dissertation about the 28th United States Colored Troops, who were recruited out of Indiana and played a crucial role at the Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864. If the movie “Glory” triggered an interest in the African-American experience during the Civil War, I urge you to learn more about the USCTs (United States Colored Troops).
5. And finally my Lost Regiment books. I started out as a sci-fi writer twenty-five years ago and though I no longer define myself as being in that field, the Lost Regiment books were a blast to write, about a Union regiment that is transported to another world.
So those are what I would define as the books I cherish the most.
Oh yeah, the rest of the story about me. In 1989 I was offered an Andrews Fellowship to do graduate studies in history at Purdue University where I spent the next four years. To go back to being a full-time graduate student in your late thirties is a joy. When the younger grad students are complaining about the work, you just sit back and grin. . .work? This is fun guys now get it done! Also, after fifteen years out there in the real world you far better appreciate the pleasure and thrill of learning more about a subject that you love. I had the time of my life, immersing myself for four years with intensive study of military history, the history of technology and a number of other subjects. I was blessed to have Professor Gunther Rothenberg as my mentor. Other professors of note were Gordon Mork for 20th century Germany, the redoubtable Bob May for the ante-bellum South, and Vern Foley for the History of Technology. I was lucky to be able to study with men such as these.
In 1993, with a three-week-old daughter now by my side, I became an assistant professor of History at Montreat College, just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Those of you who have already read One Second After know that Montreat College and the students there play a key role in the book. In real life I think they would rise to the occasion as well. It is a wonderful place to live and work and I count myself fortunate to be there. I am currently a full professor of history and Faculty Fellow (a fancy title which means ‘semi-retired)!
Other stuff about me? Years back, when I was hitting that late 40s depression that a lot of men face, a very wise friend named Gus said that a man must always have an adventure ahead of him and if he does he will always stay young. Thus started my interest in archaeology at exotic locations. I went with Gus to Russia, to research Mongol sites along the lower Volga. Mongols and their fascinating history has been a part of my life since childhood. It was a great research trip, climaxed by being arrested by the FSS (the old KGB) and locked up for a day. “What an adventure!” as my friend Gus would say. From there I’ve been on four expeditions to Mongolia, one of the most fascinating beautiful places on earth.
My current passion is flying. I first learned to fly while in college, but had to let it drop since an unemployed teacher and beginning writer simply doesn’t have the resources to indulge. Several years back I was blessed to become the proud owner of my beloved WWII recon bird. . . an Aeronca L-3B 777BX.
Well. . .if you have read all the way down to here, you certainly are curious about me! Not much else to tell. My days tend to get divided up between research and writing, usually at two in the morning, teaching at Montreat College, and whenever it is around dawn and the wind is still, you can find me “up there” on my “laughter silvered wings” looping and soaring over the mountains of western NC and thanking God for the gift of wings.
In closing. Frankly I don’t care about the finances that come from a success (and I know that might sound like a line). I urge you to read it because it is about US. You, me, my wife, our daughters, my friends, your friends. . .our country. EMP is a real threat; I believe the most underestimated threat in the history of our country. In the late 1930s we completely underestimated the Japanese and the potentials of a new technology: carrier based aviation. I’ve written two novels with Newt on this subject. No one took the threat seriously and on December 7, 1941 nearly three thousand Americans died. The war that ensued would claim close to half a million American lives. Pearl Harbor was a blow we could recover from and go on to eventual victory. An EMP strike? I believe it would be the death of America, the death of our children. . .it would be the end of the America we cherish and love. . .and plunge the few who survive into a new dark age.
We as citizens can indeed make the difference. Browse this site about what you can do now to ensure the safety of you and your family if we are struck and our nation is unprepared. . .and what we can all do as citizens to prepare for the worst, and also to make sure it does not happen.
Black Mountain, NC