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Countdown 1945
Cover of Countdown 1945
Countdown 1945
The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World
#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.
#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.
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About the Author-
  • Chris Wallace is the anchor of Fox News Sunday. In his sixteen years at Fox, Wallace has covered almost every key political event. Throughout his five decades in broadcasting, he has interviewed numerous U.S. and world leaders, including seven American presidents, and won every major broadcast news award for his reporting, including three Emmy Awards, the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton, and the Peabody Award.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2020
    What it took for Harry Truman, after fewer than three months in the White House, to decide to drop the atomic bomb--and how the plan was executed. The end of World War II in the Pacific was as definitive as the mushroom cloud and firestorm produced by the weapon that brought it about. Fox News Sunday anchor Wallace describes a moment in history when both intense deliberation and decisive leadership were essential. On April 12, 1945, Truman, then the vice president, was summoned to the White House, where he expected to meet President Franklin Roosevelt. Instead, he was received by the president's wife, Eleanor, who told Truman that Roosevelt had died, only a few months into his fourth term. Truman was shaken by the news, but it was a cryptic message from Secretary of War Henry Stimson that would define the rest of that year--and the war. Stimson informed the new president about Roosevelt's top-secret project to build a nuclear weapon, and he did not prevaricate in describing the weapon's potential to the new president: "Modern civilization might be completely destroyed." Wallace describes how Truman thought that there was every reason to believe that the alternative to using the new weapon--a ground invasion--would result in hundreds of thousands of deaths, on both the American/Allied and the Japanese side. The author peppers in the story of Hideko Tamura, a young Japanese girl who was sent away from her home in Hiroshima only to beg her mother to return--just in time to survive the detonation of the first atomic bomb. Wallace presents a mostly entertaining, if familiar, history of the three months between Truman's taking office and the dropping of the bombs, but he only briefly engages with issues like the suffering of innocent Japanese and the intense misgivings of scientists like Albert Einstein. A brisk work of history that weaves together the various factions responsible for the deployment of the first nuclear bombs.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 25, 2020
    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.

  • Booklist

    June 1, 2020
    April 12, 1945, witnessed the loss of a wartime leader with the passing of President Franklin Roosevelt. In the latter stages of WWII, the Allied effort was gaining ground over Axis powers, but victory was far from assured. Vice President Harry Truman assumed the presidency with trepidation, especially when informed of the Manhattan Project: the vast country-spanning effort that employed hundreds of thousands of men and women and maintained the covert purpose of building an atomic bomb. The crucial players in this wartime machine were many, from scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the New Mexico arm of the project despite reservations about his past Communist Party affiliations, to colonel Paul Tibbets, who led the team that ultimately dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. Journalist and FoxNews anchor Wallace charts the perilous and unsure course of the U.S. during the waning days of WWII, capturing the various personae who brought the bomb to fruition. With minute-by-minute suspense, Wallace masterfully writes of the trying time and the Allies' omnipresent doubt up to the very last second.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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Countdown 1945
Countdown 1945
The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World
Chris Wallace
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