#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER * “Riveting.” —The New York Times * “Propulsive.” —Time * “Reads like a tense thriller.” —The Washington Post * “The book is deservedly the nonfiction blockbuster of the season.” —The Wall Street Journal
From Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday, comes an electrifying behind-the-scenes account of the 116 days leading up to the American attack on Hiroshima.
April 12, 1945: After years of bloody conflict in Europe and the Pacific, America is stunned by news of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. In an instant, Vice President Harry Truman, who has been kept out of war planning and knows nothing of the top-secret Manhattan Project to develop the world’s first atomic bomb, must assume command of a nation at war on multiple continents—and confront one of the most consequential decisions in history. Countdown 1945 tells the gripping true story of the turbulent days, weeks, and months to follow, leading up to August 6, 1945, when Truman gives the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima.
In Countdown 1945, Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday, takes readers inside the minds of the iconic and elusive figures who join the quest for the bomb, each for different reasons: the legendary Albert Einstein, who eventually calls his vocal support for the atomic bomb “the one great mistake in my life”; lead researcher J. Robert “Oppie” Oppenheimer and the Soviet spies who secretly infiltrate his team; the fiercely competitive pilots of the plane selected to drop the bomb; and many more.
Perhaps most of all, Countdown 1945 is the story of an untested new president confronting a decision that he knows will change the world forever. Truman’s journey during these 116 days is a story of high drama: from the shock of learning of the bomb’s existence, to the conflicting advice he receives from generals like Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Marshall, to wrestling with the devastating carnage that will result if he gives the order to use America’s first weapon of mass destruction.
But Countdown 1945 is more than a book about the atomic bomb. It’s also an unforgettable account of the lives of ordinary American and Japanese civilians in wartime—from “Calutron Girls” like Ruth Sisson in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to ten-year-old Hiroshima resident Hideko Tamura, who survives the blast at ground zero but loses her mother and later immigrates to the United States, where she lives to this day—as well as American soldiers fighting in the Pacific, waiting in fear for the order to launch a possible invasion of Japan.
Told with vigor, intelligence, and humanity, Countdown 1945 is the definitive account of one of the most significant moments in history.
Fox News Sunday host Wallace debuts with a propulsive account of the final months of WWII leading up to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Drawing on eyewitness accounts from Allied leaders, U.S. bomber pilots, and atomic scientists, Wallace opens with FDR's death in April 1945 and the swearing-in of President Truman, who immediately learns that the government has been developing "the most terrible weapon ever known in human history." Among those briefed about the plans, there was "a long, deeply felt debate" about the morality and efficacy of atomic weapons, Wallace writes. Separately, military leaders were planning to invade the Japanese home islands of Kyushu and Honshu in what would have been "the biggest military operation in U.S. history." Days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the Soviets invaded Japanese-occupied Manchuria, threatening to permanently alter the map of Asia. Defiant silence from Japanese leaders led to the bombing of Nagasaki, a mission that "almost failed before it began." Wallace, with help from journalist Weiss, writes with verve and an eye for cinematic detail, though much of the story is well-known. Still, this accessible, evenhanded account serves as an entertaining introduction to one of the most momentous decisions in world history.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A good book and enjoyed the fact that he had stories of regular people and how this impacted them.
Absolutely loved the book. As a military brat who grew up in Germany during the Cold War this book really open my eyes as to what led to many years of struggle and strife following WWII. Chris did an outstanding job of drawing me into the events as if I was really there as they were happening. Way to go Chris. Thank you for sharing your literary genius.
COUNTDOWN 1945 may be seen as a rehash of known history with little to offer. However I found the layout, historical accuracy and writing to be exceptional. One would not expect anything less from Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss. I consider myself well read on the subject of dropping the first atomic bomb but this book was still engrossing as it became an intersting and easy read. This book as the potential to become both and informative and excellent movie. In these times I can only wish that would happen. I recommend this all who would want to reflect on our history and come to realization that dropping the atomic bomb, while not a very nice alternative, was essential to helping our country end a horrible war. Somtimes its just that way. All the major characters depicted completed their tasks for the safety and betterment of their follow Americans. Well done Mr. Wallace and Mr. Weiss!