The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / American Studies


Level 7
Mordecai Roshwald
Edited and with a new foreword by David Seed

Library of American Fiction
Terrace Books

“This story gives the most realistic picture of nuclear war that I have read in any work of fiction.”
—Linus Pauling

Level 7 is the diary of Officer X-127, assigned to stand guard at the “Push Buttons,” a machine devised to activate the atomic destruction of the enemy, in the country’s deepest bomb shelter. Four thousand feet underground, Level 7 has been built to withstand the most devastating attack and to be self-sufficient for five hundred years. Selected according to a psychological profile that assures their willingness to destroy all life on Earth, those who are sent down may never return.

Originally published in 1959, and with more than 400,000 copies sold, this powerful dystopian novel remains a horrific vision of where the nuclear arms race may lead and is an affirmation of human life and love. Level 7 merits comparison to Huxley’s A Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 and should be considered a must-read by all science fiction fans.

Eventually, I believe, Roshwald’s remorseless apocalypse will be recognized as one of the masterpieces of anti-utopian literature.”
—H. Bruce Franklin

Mordecai Roshwald (1921–2015) was a professor emeritus of humanities at the University of Minnesota and a visiting professor at many universities worldwide.

Please see this obituary published in the Washington Post.

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May 2004
LC: 2004041925 PS

200 pp.    6 x 9

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Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20064-0
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