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At 03:30 PM 5/13/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>Can anyone out there recognize this book?
>
> >   It was  in the seventies that I read this book. I read a fiction book
> > about an epidemic that wiped out most people in the country (USA).
> > There
> > were pockets of people who survived and they were able to use the water
> > system and even electricity at first, but soon these systems needed to
> > be
> > repaired and there was nobody who knew how to repair them. So life
> > became
> > more primitive. Also these people became fearful of travelers who might
> > bring disease and wipe their little colony out again. The original
> > narrator of the book lived a long life and had with him something from
> > civilization. This "something"(I wish I remembered what) was now a
> > talisman for the younger generations who believed it had magic power.

Earth Abides by George Stewart.  The talisman is an old miner's hammer
that the chief character had just found when he was bit by a snake at
the beginning of the epidemic.  I just reread it for a SF book discussion
group I belong to.  The practice is to read something new and choose
a "classic" that might have some connection.  The nomination for this
month was Atwood's Oryx and Crake with Earth Abides as the companion
novel....interesting juxtaposition.