Most novels dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear war are post apocalyptic novels. This one is not. The apocalypse is still going on even if the war is over and nuclear bombs are no longer being set off. This was written in the 1950s, so there are none of the post nuclear war effects, such as nuclear winter, that were postulated later. There is, infact, no description of where the bombs actually hit except for one devastated area that was effected by an air burst. The problem that is being faced is the radiation. As the story opens the entire northern hemisphere is wiped out. Everyone is dead of radiation sickness and the radiation is spreading southward. There is no getting out of it. The radiation is going to spread over the entire world and everyone is going to die. In fact, most everything is going to die, dogs, cats cows mice rabbits, everything. Given the scenario I would guess that insects and plant life might survive, but this is not mentioned in the story. It is an unquestionable mass extinction. I think I would describe the story as a psychological novel more than anything else. That is because various characters are followed around and their reactions to their own impending deaths and the impending deaths of everyone else is examined. Some take up dangerous sports and the ones who die playing those sports are counted as lucky. Others try to carry on their everyday lives like nothing is going to happen. Others make plans for the next year that they will never see. All in all it is an interesting story to follow. It was originally marketed as a science fiction novel and I suppose that it technically is, but it does not quite read like one. It reads more like a tragic novel of people trying to give their lives meaning as all meaning is about to end. It is about to end because their will be no one around to experience any meaning or to mean anything. It is just the end.