Bleak. With no chance of redemption whatsoever. If you like happy endings, you might want to stay away from this book.
This book is quiet similar to [b:On the Beach|38180|On the Beach|Nevil Shute|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943327s/38180.jpg|963772] and [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962], both in the era in which they were published and the primary subject matter with which they deal: nuclear apocalypse. While I personally found [b:On the Beach|38180|On the Beach|Nevil Shute|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943327s/38180.jpg|963772] totally unimpressive and a drag, [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962] became one of my favorite novels.
So where does "Level 7" stand?
Well, while it may not become one of my favorites, it comes very close to being one. I found it scientifically more accurate than "Alas, Babylon" and "On The Beach". But in one department, "Level 7" truly is way better than both these classics. And that is: Depicting Human Psychology about War. Roshwald has described the human psychology about war with total (and so, quite discomfiting) accuracy, which is the most unsettling as well as interesting aspect of the book.
There are no names. No names at all. Enemy is called just the "enemy" and allies "allies". Even people living in the bunker are not known by what might be their original names. For example, the protagonist is known only as X-127 from whose personal diary "Level 7" takes form. He lives in a bunker named "Level 7" with 500 people which is 4400 feet underground. He is a "Push-Button" officer, the one that pushes buttons to launch nuclear missiles and annihilate the world when such orders are received.
This book is a scathing satire on war and the mentality which prevailed especially during the Cold War era.
A must read for anyone who liked books such as [b:Alas, Babylon|38169|Alas, Babylon|Pat Frank|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347633133s/38169.jpg|37962] and even dystopian classics like [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313] and [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877], as apart from the apocalyptic scenario, there is also a strong dystopian feel to "Level 7".4.65 Stars.