Countdown 1945
From Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday, comes an electrifying behind-the-scenes account of the secret meetings and events across the globe during the 116 days leading up to the world’s first use of the atomic bomb in wartime—the American attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.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. Countdown 1945 tells the gripping true story of the turbulent days, weeks, and months to follow, leading up to August 6, 1945, when new President Harry Truman gives the order to unleash the world’s first atomic bomb. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable leaders, page-turning action, and vivid details, Countdown 1945 is a thrilling narrative of the covert meetings and pivotal developments that took place in the United States and around the world during the volatile spring and summer of 1945.Countdown 1945 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 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 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 consequential moments in history.

Countdown 1945 Details

TitleCountdown 1945
Author
ReleaseJun 9th, 2020
PublisherAvid Reader Press / Simon Schuster
ISBN-139781982143343
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II, Audiobook

Countdown 1945 Review

  • Greta
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone knows the outcome and yet Wallace manages to make this carefully researched part of history read like a thriller - it‘s seriously an absolute page turner, not the least bit dry and currently NYT bestseller.Countdown 1945 by Wallace looks back at the days, weeks, and months, leading up to August 6, 1945, when Truman gave the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima. The reader is taken inside Trumans mind, as well as in other parties involved in the project, influencing and executing his deci Everyone knows the outcome and yet Wallace manages to make this carefully researched part of history read like a thriller - it‘s seriously an absolute page turner, not the least bit dry and currently NYT bestseller.Countdown 1945 by Wallace looks back at the days, weeks, and months, leading up to August 6, 1945, when Truman gave the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima. The reader is taken inside Trumans mind, as well as in other parties involved in the project, influencing and executing his decision. As I see it, the main purpose of this book is to humanize the decision making process of the bombing. It intends to show that this was a decision Truman didn‘t make likely or hurried, but struggled with, before and after. It introduces the different characters involved, with their personalities and backgrounds, from the Manhattan project and it‘s leading personalities like Oppenheimer, to the pilots and their experience pulling the plug. You‘re introduced to the supporter of the attack and their arguments as well as to the opponents that tried to prevent the bombing till the end, all of them influencing Trumans resolution. I feel like Wallace depiction remains overall fair and balanced. What I didn‘t fully appreciate though was his depiction of Trumans personal moral struggle. I don‘t question that making such a decision had a severe psychological impact on anyone with a conscience and it‘s fair to show that, but it‘s told in a way that seems hypocritical and manipulative at times, making it counterproductive.I am without question a pacifists and highly criticize the Japanese bombing. Still I think it‘s very important to know about the US side and motives of the events as well. This was political calculus and the bombs did exactly what they wanted them to do. While Truman gave the order, it was much more a collective decision. Russia and Britain were in knowledge as well and didn‘t even slightly object. They made a decision, they were fully aware of the consequences and the only thing that would have made this book even better is, if Wallace had fully acknowledged that, instead of subliminally adding elements here and there that relativized it.Readers tip: Also read "Hiroshima" by Hersey, which was the first report that made the consequences of the bombing public to American citizens, who had no idea about it's impact before. The US media prevented all reporting and tried to cover it up. (I reviewed it as well and couldn‘t recommend it higher)
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  • Fire
    January 1, 1970
    This is an insightful and interesting look into the days leading up to the use of the Atomic Bomb in Japan. It is interesting to see all of the small details and decisions that lead up to an event that changed warfare forever. I really enjoyed learning more about this truly historic event. It wasn't a decision that came lightly, but it was a decisive end to a war that had lasted for far too long. I'm glad I read this, I learned a lot and I've always been interested in WWII so I'm looking forward This is an insightful and interesting look into the days leading up to the use of the Atomic Bomb in Japan. It is interesting to see all of the small details and decisions that lead up to an event that changed warfare forever. I really enjoyed learning more about this truly historic event. It wasn't a decision that came lightly, but it was a decisive end to a war that had lasted for far too long. I'm glad I read this, I learned a lot and I've always been interested in WWII so I'm looking forward to seeing what else I can learn from behind the scenes books like this.Very well done.
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  • Lisa Konet
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone has heard about these events before but this book delves into the behind the scenes and deeper issues from Pearl Harbor to the release of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. I loved the beginning chapters started with a lot of conflict with FDR dying and a reluctant but ready Harry S Truman becoming the 33rd President of the United States. He wanted to follow through with FDR's plans during war against Germany and Japan exactly as it was laid out. Truman obviously had big shoes to full Everyone has heard about these events before but this book delves into the behind the scenes and deeper issues from Pearl Harbor to the release of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. I loved the beginning chapters started with a lot of conflict with FDR dying and a reluctant but ready Harry S Truman becoming the 33rd President of the United States. He wanted to follow through with FDR's plans during war against Germany and Japan exactly as it was laid out. Truman obviously had big shoes to full and a lot of quick learning to do.The details and narrative in this book was exceptional. Any seasoned nonfiction reader can tell many hours of careful research and passion went into writing this book. The result is something that is easier and more interesting to understand about a sensitive period in American history. Definitely a new to me favorite nonfiction writer. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in WWII history, American history events, etc. A must read and definitely one I will add to be library as a hardcover.Thanks to Netgalley, Chris Wallace and Avid Reader Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Available: 6/9/20
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  • BOOKLOVER10
    January 1, 1970
    In "Countdown: 1945," Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, provide a chronological account of the events leading up to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. For history buffs, there is little new here. However, the authors broaden the book's scope with intriguing anecdotes about the men and women who contributed to the Manhattan Project, a massive undertaking that was "costly, chancy, and cloaked in total secrecy." We In "Countdown: 1945," Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, provide a chronological account of the events leading up to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. For history buffs, there is little new here. However, the authors broaden the book's scope with intriguing anecdotes about the men and women who contributed to the Manhattan Project, a massive undertaking that was "costly, chancy, and cloaked in total secrecy." We learn about the opinions and actions of President Harry Truman; J. Robert Oppenheimer and other top scientists; General Leslie Groves; the flight crews that worked with Colonel Paul Tibbets, who flew the plane from which the first nuclear bomb was dropped; Ruth Sisson, an employee who operated "a machine she didn't understand" at Oak Ridge, and worried about her fiancée, a soldier stationed overseas; and a ten-year-old Japanese child, Hideko Tamura, who miraculously survived the blast at Hiroshima.The prose style is clear and fast-paced. Wallace and Weiss describe Truman's sudden ascendancy from FDR's overshadowed vice-president to a commander-in-chief in wartime. Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't kidding when, after her husband's death, she told Truman, "You are the one in trouble now." FDR was a tough act to follow, and Truman set out to prove that he could be a measured, resolute, and effective leader. He knew nothing about the Manhattan Project until his secretary of war, Henry Stimson, revealed that the Americans were surreptitiously creating "a new explosive of almost unbelievable destructive power." Truman was stunned. He is quoted as saying, "It was a day…when the world fell in on me."The countdown begins on April 15, 1945, and it ends with Japan's surrender, an epilogue, and a postscript. In a straightforward reportorial style, Wallace and Weiss move back and forth frequently between characters, which can be distracting. However, they keep things lively with colorful tidbits about the individuals' personal lives and perspectives, an overview of the nuclear age and the Cold War, and snapshots of what happened to key figures in later life. "Countdown" is a clearly written and well-researched refresher course about a pivotal time in world history. It raises familiar questions about the moral conundrum that Truman faced: Should American forces invade Japan, which would mean the loss of many lives on both sides, or should Truman attempt to end the conflict quickly by ordering the annihilation of thousands of men, women, and children—most of them civilians—and exposing the survivors to potentially deadly doses radiation? It was a wrenching decision that is still debated today.
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  • Mac
    January 1, 1970
    I expected Chris Wallace’s Countdown 1945 to be informative (it is); I assumed it would be comprehensively researched (it is); and I hoped it would be full of behind-the-scenes details, which it is. What surprised me is how compelling is Wallace’s storytelling; his book is a page turner. I say "surprised" because, like most people, I know the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and because I am generally familiar with the major characters who participated in this part of history. So Countdown 1 I expected Chris Wallace’s Countdown 1945 to be informative (it is); I assumed it would be comprehensively researched (it is); and I hoped it would be full of behind-the-scenes details, which it is. What surprised me is how compelling is Wallace’s storytelling; his book is a page turner. I say "surprised" because, like most people, I know the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and because I am generally familiar with the major characters who participated in this part of history. So Countdown 1945 is informative, comprehensively researched, and surprisingly compelling. It’s a good read. More specifically, Wallace has made two good decisions. First, he starts not with atomic energy science or with the details of WWII. Instead, he begins with Harry Truman and the awesome, sudden responsibility Truman must assume at FDR’s death. Of course, that responsibility includes deciding whether to use the atomic bomb and its multiple questions—moral, military, and geopolitical. Even the uncertain future of our existence on planet Earth comes into the analysis. By starting with the gravity of Truman’s situation, Wallace took me immediately into the story.And then there is the countdown framework, which can be a cliché, but here it works extraordinarily well. The countdown maintains a clear chronology while allowing Wallace to describe multiple characters in multiple situations in numerous places around the world. Using a countdown frame, Wallace creates a sense of drama even when the basics are well known because the structure holds the subject together so well.Are there negatives? Nothing significant. The prose is direct and workmanlike, but there are no soaring passages, no paragraphs to savor. The drama comes, as I say, from the countdown structure and the focus on Truman (and many other key figures), not from Wallace’s way with words. But who needs an impressive way with words when the subject is one of the most important events of the 20th century and the author has handled that subject remarkably well? Not me. I’ll take Countdown 1945 just as is.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Currently reading this, as of June 13th...started less than a week ago, and am already more than half finished. It is a day-by-day (does skip some days) history of the dropping of the atomic bombs. It starts with FDR's death, and Truman's swearing in, as POTUS (President of the U. S.). Wallace provides detailed backgrounds regarding the various characters that were involved with the bombs, but he doesn't bore you with pages and pages of details...just enough to let you know who was who and why t Currently reading this, as of June 13th...started less than a week ago, and am already more than half finished. It is a day-by-day (does skip some days) history of the dropping of the atomic bombs. It starts with FDR's death, and Truman's swearing in, as POTUS (President of the U. S.). Wallace provides detailed backgrounds regarding the various characters that were involved with the bombs, but he doesn't bore you with pages and pages of details...just enough to let you know who was who and why they were important. I'm anticipating finishing it in the next few days, and will provide further details.Okay, done. I won't add too much to the above except the following: It's kind of sad to think that there were so many people, scientists, politicians, military people, who harbored great grief, for years, that we dropped the bombs and incinerated, or ultimately killed approximately 200,000 people (more, if you include those who died of radiation sickness). Point is, the Japanese started the war by attacking us, carried out a horrendously brutal war, massacring civilians and military personnel (beheading POWs). Additionally, it was estimated that if we didn't end the war when we did, and invaded Japan, a total of about 1 million men, women, and children, including over 250,000 Americans, would have died. Before the bombs were dropped, the Japanese were warned, numerous times, that they faced devastation, but they refused to quit. The result was two atomic bombs dropped on them. Truman, and others, never regretted their decision to drop the bombs. The war ended in Summer 1945, whereas if it had not, and we had to invade, it might have gone on for up to another 18-24 months longer. End of discussion.
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  • Alexander M Urbani
    January 1, 1970
    This was a good book with some thoughtful insight to the decision making process to use the Atom Bomb, to force Japan to surrender. However, the justification for use focused solely on the American lives that would be lost if Japan was to be invaded in the traditional way. And, not to diminish the point, the retribution sought by the American population for Perl Harbor. But what about the number of Japanese lives that were saved both civilian and military by ending the war without the need to in This was a good book with some thoughtful insight to the decision making process to use the Atom Bomb, to force Japan to surrender. However, the justification for use focused solely on the American lives that would be lost if Japan was to be invaded in the traditional way. And, not to diminish the point, the retribution sought by the American population for Perl Harbor. But what about the number of Japanese lives that were saved both civilian and military by ending the war without the need to invade? As the book noted there were no Japanese troop surrenders at Okinawa, no one can argue that it would have been any different when the home islands were invaded. I have read a number of accounts of the lack of truth about the war's progress in Japan, the number of arms stored waiting for the Americans to show up and the number of civilians that were "trained" and "armed", with bamboo sticks, to resist the invasion. I would venture to guess that the number of Japanese lives saved by forcing their surrender through invasion would run into the millions. The number of Japanese lives lost in the nuclear bomb drop, while horrific, pales in comparison to the number of lives that would have been waisted if that country had to be invaded to stop the war. Therefore, in my opinion, using the nuclear weapon to end WW II was merciful!
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  • Jeff Bobin
    January 1, 1970
    The final four months of WWII in 275 pages that will take you inside the process in the final development of the atom bomb and the decision to use it to bring the war to a quicker end. Starting with the unexpected rise to the presidency of Harry Truman who would ultimately have to make the final decision on use of the bomb this is brief summary of bringing him into the circle of the few who even knew about the Manhattan Project. Insight into the difference in the presidency in those times is an The final four months of WWII in 275 pages that will take you inside the process in the final development of the atom bomb and the decision to use it to bring the war to a quicker end. Starting with the unexpected rise to the presidency of Harry Truman who would ultimately have to make the final decision on use of the bomb this is brief summary of bringing him into the circle of the few who even knew about the Manhattan Project. Insight into the difference in the presidency in those times is an interesting part of this story. The advisors and the desire to have input from a broad variety of people along with Truman's ability to comprehend large amounts of information make this informative without bogging down in detail. The secrecy of the project, the military training to prepare to use it are amazing. The dedication to getting it right is important. There is a look at the moral struggle of using the weapon both before and after it was dropped. A lot of information packed into the relatively short book. The postscript is also worth the read as it tells briefly the post-war stories of many of the main characters.
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  • James Oates
    January 1, 1970
    If I could rate this book 6 stars I would. I have read extensively about the war in Europe and in particular about D day, but this book which led to the end of WW II stands alone.I got this as an early gift for Father's day as I as it seemed it might be interesting .UNDERSTATEMENT. This book from page 1 (116 days from the drop) when Roosevelt dies and Truman who knows nothing about Manhattan project becomes what you would like to see in all books but from a non fiction book almost unheard of a P If I could rate this book 6 stars I would. I have read extensively about the war in Europe and in particular about D day, but this book which led to the end of WW II stands alone.I got this as an early gift for Father's day as I as it seemed it might be interesting .UNDERSTATEMENT. This book from page 1 (116 days from the drop) when Roosevelt dies and Truman who knows nothing about Manhattan project becomes what you would like to see in all books but from a non fiction book almost unheard of a PAGE TURNER.You think you know quite a bit when in reality you know little of what went on during the days leading up to the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. The secrecy; infighting; should we, shouldn't we; almost all the way up to the day the bomb was dropped is RIVETING.In delves into all the participants and there backgrounds particularly people who were intrinsically involved with the project but you never heard of.If ever I could recommend a book, THIS IS THE ONE.READ IT
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  • Stephanie Burkhart
    January 1, 1970
    Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss take a deep dive into the start of the Truman presidency, the Manhattan Project and what it took to end World War II. Written as a countdown, Wallace and Weiss explore the American men behind World War II including Truman, Oppenheimer, Tibbets, and Stimson. Truman is stunned to learn about the Manhattan Project when he assumes the presidency, but quickly realizes he has a big decision to make. All involved wrestle with their morals and ethics. Wallace and Weiss pres Chris Wallace and Mitch Weiss take a deep dive into the start of the Truman presidency, the Manhattan Project and what it took to end World War II. Written as a countdown, Wallace and Weiss explore the American men behind World War II including Truman, Oppenheimer, Tibbets, and Stimson. Truman is stunned to learn about the Manhattan Project when he assumes the presidency, but quickly realizes he has a big decision to make. All involved wrestle with their morals and ethics. Wallace and Weiss present an unbiased look at history. The book is easy to read, understand, and is suspenseful as they countdown the days to 6 AUG 1945. The personal stories of Ruth, Hideko, and Tibbets will tug on the reader's heartstrings. Truman seeks out as many opinions and thoughts as he can from the people around him regarding using the atomic bomb, so as to hear all sides before he comes to his own decision. We all know what happens, but we don't know how the people involved got there. An insightful book about a momentous decision. I didn't want to put it down.
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  • Richard Grebenc
    January 1, 1970
    Well-written and fast-paced. Humanizes events by focusing on key (and ordinary) individuals (insights into Truman's thinking was most interesting to me). Undoubtedly there are better texts to get into the nitty gritty and provide much more detail on events and context, but for a popular work, this does the trick. The main advantage of such books written by famous folks instead of historians is that, generally speaking, people who would not normally read history may be prompted to pick it up, hop Well-written and fast-paced. Humanizes events by focusing on key (and ordinary) individuals (insights into Truman's thinking was most interesting to me). Undoubtedly there are better texts to get into the nitty gritty and provide much more detail on events and context, but for a popular work, this does the trick. The main advantage of such books written by famous folks instead of historians is that, generally speaking, people who would not normally read history may be prompted to pick it up, hopefully engendering a greater appreciation for history. If the topic interests you, I would certainly recommend it.The "countdown" format is good. Per an article interview with the author, it seems like this is the first of more such volumes to come.
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  • Mike Haynes
    January 1, 1970
    Those of you who look at Chris Wallace with a certain amount of contempt due to his association with Fox News will be pleasantly surprised by his very unbiased writing regarding a truly life altering historical event. This is an excellent WWII book for anyone unfamiliar with the period between the end of the war in Europe and the final end of the war in August, 1945. Even history buffs who feel they do know this period of the war will benefit from reading Wallace’s account. Some revisionist hist Those of you who look at Chris Wallace with a certain amount of contempt due to his association with Fox News will be pleasantly surprised by his very unbiased writing regarding a truly life altering historical event. This is an excellent WWII book for anyone unfamiliar with the period between the end of the war in Europe and the final end of the war in August, 1945. Even history buffs who feel they do know this period of the war will benefit from reading Wallace’s account. Some revisionist historians and others looking through contemporary glasses have criticized Harry Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs on Japan. This book does a good job of letting the reader see and understand the extent of thought involved and just how much Truman and others worried over such a decision.
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  • Phil
    January 1, 1970
    I found this to be very enjoyable. The 'countdown' gives the narrative an increasing urgency even if we know the ending. Wallace and Weiss move back and forth frequently between characters and locations. They keep things lively with colorful tidbits about the individuals' personal lives and perspectives, an overview of the nuclear age and the Cold War. "Countdown" is a clearly written and well-researched refresher course about a pivotal time in world history. It raises all the questions about th I found this to be very enjoyable. The 'countdown' gives the narrative an increasing urgency even if we know the ending. Wallace and Weiss move back and forth frequently between characters and locations. They keep things lively with colorful tidbits about the individuals' personal lives and perspectives, an overview of the nuclear age and the Cold War. "Countdown" is a clearly written and well-researched refresher course about a pivotal time in world history. It raises all the questions about the moral dilemma that Truman faced: Should American forces invade Japan, which would mean the loss of many lives on both sides, or should Truman attempt to end the conflict quickly with this new and horrific weapon of war? It was a wrenching decision that is still debated today.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Chris Wallace's writing style leaves a lot to be desired, but he did manage to tell the story of the days leading up to the historic dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. War is such a horrible, horrible option. Nothing but death, loss, misery, and nightmares that do not end. Reading this showed the process of deciding to drop the bomb. I have visited the memorial at Pearl Harbor, and I have seen the footage of that terrible day. I cried when I saw the long list of names of the brave p Chris Wallace's writing style leaves a lot to be desired, but he did manage to tell the story of the days leading up to the historic dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. War is such a horrible, horrible option. Nothing but death, loss, misery, and nightmares that do not end. Reading this showed the process of deciding to drop the bomb. I have visited the memorial at Pearl Harbor, and I have seen the footage of that terrible day. I cried when I saw the long list of names of the brave people who perished that day. Dropping an atomic bomb on a city that immediately killed 100,00 people and left the city in ruins was our answer. This book left me feeling very sad.
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  • K.B. Pellegrino
    January 1, 1970
    I've read much on Truman's role as president and his decisive action, criticized by many, in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan. I believe Truman was in the right place at the right time. His acumen in discarding persuasive political rhetoric and thus enabling pertinent facts revealed to support his decisions in keeping with his own morality. Was he perfect? No, like all of us imperfect, but he was the man for the decisions that needed to be made in 1945. I also had many questions about decision I've read much on Truman's role as president and his decisive action, criticized by many, in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan. I believe Truman was in the right place at the right time. His acumen in discarding persuasive political rhetoric and thus enabling pertinent facts revealed to support his decisions in keeping with his own morality. Was he perfect? No, like all of us imperfect, but he was the man for the decisions that needed to be made in 1945. I also had many questions about decisions made that laid the foundation of the Cold Was which were explained to my understanding. A good book. Good history and fairly told.
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  • Samyann
    January 1, 1970
    Countdown 1945 is documentation of the people, events that took place from the death of Franklin Roosevelt to August 1945 when US bombs dropped on Japan to end WWII. Details of the secrecy, the emotions of characters from Truman, Stalin, Tibbits and the Enola Gay, his crew, other military and scientific leaders, the girls in plants in the rural mountains, tests in Los Alamos, struggles to create ... and ultimately use, the atomic bomb.Even if you think you know the fundamental history of this ev Countdown 1945 is documentation of the people, events that took place from the death of Franklin Roosevelt to August 1945 when US bombs dropped on Japan to end WWII. Details of the secrecy, the emotions of characters from Truman, Stalin, Tibbits and the Enola Gay, his crew, other military and scientific leaders, the girls in plants in the rural mountains, tests in Los Alamos, struggles to create ... and ultimately use, the atomic bomb.Even if you think you know the fundamental history of this event, you will definitely be educated about intricate details you did not know.The book reads like a novel - but it is all true. Recommended.
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  • William K
    January 1, 1970
    I found the book to be very interesting. The key part was the background of the events going on and people along with the follow-up on their lives. I really liked the parts with Ruth and Hideko. It was nice to get a perspective of someone who worked on the Manhattan Project without knowing it and survivor from Hiroshima. I a great personal interest because my mother, Aiko, was born in Sendai, Japan in 1934 and lived through some of this during WWII. I also was born in Sendai in 1956 when my fath I found the book to be very interesting. The key part was the background of the events going on and people along with the follow-up on their lives. I really liked the parts with Ruth and Hideko. It was nice to get a perspective of someone who worked on the Manhattan Project without knowing it and survivor from Hiroshima. I a great personal interest because my mother, Aiko, was born in Sendai, Japan in 1934 and lived through some of this during WWII. I also was born in Sendai in 1956 when my father met and married my mother. After I served over 33 years in the U.S. Navy before retiring in 2007, I studied history and have been intrigued by WWII.
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  • Bill Bow
    January 1, 1970
    A good quick read about the days between FDR's death and the end of World War 2. Truman, as Vice President, was thrust into membership in the Big 3 - the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union - when FDR died. Book focuses mainly on the political and military aspects, and does not disappoint. I would have liked to have seen a little more about Japanese reaction to the A-bomb; Wallace tells the story of one woman and that's it.if you're more interested in the scientific aspects about the develop A good quick read about the days between FDR's death and the end of World War 2. Truman, as Vice President, was thrust into membership in the Big 3 - the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union - when FDR died. Book focuses mainly on the political and military aspects, and does not disappoint. I would have liked to have seen a little more about Japanese reaction to the A-bomb; Wallace tells the story of one woman and that's it.if you're more interested in the scientific aspects about the development of the bomb, there's a better book for you.."The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes.
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  • Steve Bookman
    January 1, 1970
    This is as much a narrative about the state of mind generally in the US in the final few months of WWII as it is about the development and first use of the atomic bomb. The author chooses an almost conversational style in bringing to life a period now mostly bereft of living witnesses who were much older than children in 1945. We who read about it now probable combine our thoughts while going over our memories of parents and grandparents who talked about these times with us when we were children This is as much a narrative about the state of mind generally in the US in the final few months of WWII as it is about the development and first use of the atomic bomb. The author chooses an almost conversational style in bringing to life a period now mostly bereft of living witnesses who were much older than children in 1945. We who read about it now probable combine our thoughts while going over our memories of parents and grandparents who talked about these times with us when we were children.
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  • Paul Miller
    January 1, 1970
    A reminder of why I seldom read fiction. I've never had doubts about Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan. Simple and clear (but painful) calculus of war. This book reveals the murkier realities of the time from the perspectives of Truman, but also scientists, crew, factory workers, etc… as we march inevitably to the climax of the bombing itself. You already know the ending but it’s still a super compelling story that’s engaging and easy to read (almost like good fi A reminder of why I seldom read fiction. I've never had doubts about Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan. Simple and clear (but painful) calculus of war. This book reveals the murkier realities of the time from the perspectives of Truman, but also scientists, crew, factory workers, etc… as we march inevitably to the climax of the bombing itself. You already know the ending but it’s still a super compelling story that’s engaging and easy to read (almost like good fiction, or so I’m told :->)
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  • J. Justin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, one of the best books I have read in a while. Even if you aren't a history or WW2 fan you will find this story fascinating. A horrible moment in history that has shaped, and some may say, prevented war for generations. The characters in this book are unique and interesting, as are the decisions and outcomes of the leaders at that time. My only wish would have been more perspective from Japan. What was going through their leaders' minds during the events leading up to 8.6.45? Perhaps that wi Wow, one of the best books I have read in a while. Even if you aren't a history or WW2 fan you will find this story fascinating. A horrible moment in history that has shaped, and some may say, prevented war for generations. The characters in this book are unique and interesting, as are the decisions and outcomes of the leaders at that time. My only wish would have been more perspective from Japan. What was going through their leaders' minds during the events leading up to 8.6.45? Perhaps that will be an ideal sequel.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting TaleNo doubt this is a fascinating story. It deals with the achievement of converting nuclear power into a weapon in such a short time. I feel like it addresses the moral dilemma of using a nuclear weapon. My only complaints are that the style of writing is dumbed down like o'reilly's "Killing" series. I guess that's how history books are written now but I much prefer the more cerebral style of Hastings, Beevor et al. Oh and it rips my knitting that Americans think World War 2 starte Interesting TaleNo doubt this is a fascinating story. It deals with the achievement of converting nuclear power into a weapon in such a short time. I feel like it addresses the moral dilemma of using a nuclear weapon. My only complaints are that the style of writing is dumbed down like o'reilly's "Killing" series. I guess that's how history books are written now but I much prefer the more cerebral style of Hastings, Beevor et al. Oh and it rips my knitting that Americans think World War 2 started in 1941. This book flip flops back and forward on that fact.
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  • Douglas R. Rushing
    January 1, 1970
    As compelling as a historical novelI was attracted to this because of my interest in the topic and the President, having already read Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" (5 stars) and David McCullough's "Truman" (also 5 stars). This book is a page turner despite the fact that we know the ending from the first page. But what we don't know are the compelling personal stories of people involved as scientists, soldiers, living targets, and President. This is well researched and beautiful As compelling as a historical novelI was attracted to this because of my interest in the topic and the President, having already read Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" (5 stars) and David McCullough's "Truman" (also 5 stars). This book is a page turner despite the fact that we know the ending from the first page. But what we don't know are the compelling personal stories of people involved as scientists, soldiers, living targets, and President. This is well researched and beautifully written.
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  • Gunnar Esiason
    January 1, 1970
    What I most appreciated about Countdown 1945 is that it’s told like a story instead of a textbook. Chris Wallace introduces a number of characters (some more relevant than others) and discusses the events leading to the atomic bomb detonating over Hiroshima through their eyes. It’s a quick and thrilling read even though the outcome is widely known. All in, it’s a good summer read that probably could have been 40-50 pages shorter.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent narrative of the days leading up to the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the actual mission to drop the bomb and the aftermath of using the bomb for those who made the decision and carried it out. It is not an in depth study and it is not meant to be. There are many volumes available to those who want to do a deep dive. To those new to the story it will whet your appetite and perhaps set you on the road to more reading.
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  • Ed Carhart
    January 1, 1970
    This book provides a comprehensive look at the four months leading up to the atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. It gave me a great deal of knowledge and understanding of those who lead the Manhattan Project as well as the many of those in the military and civilian government who made the decisions to try to end the war with this non-conventional weapon. It was a good read.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating book about the days between FDR's death and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The author, the journalist Christ Wallace gives a detailed account of the development of the bomb, the military strategy and Truman's decision making to deploy the ultimate weapon of war. Wallace did tons of research and put together a compelling story of this period in our history.
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  • Marion
    January 1, 1970
    An up close look at the 116 days leading up to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Award-winning journalist Chris Wallace’s riveting page turner tells the story from many perspectives, including that of the freshly-minted President Truman. To the extent that my pandemic reading can be said to have some themes, I guess WWII and its key players is one of them.
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  • Dianne P. Walker
    January 1, 1970
    Excellence beyond... Mr. Wallace has written a riveting, well documented account of one of the most crucial, world changing decisions ever made and of those involved. It should be a mandatory history course in schools.
  • Stu Schwarzer
    January 1, 1970
    1945...Wallace's book on Truman's decision to use atomic weapons is a great read, featuring Truman, military personnel, Japanese and Americans civilians. He puts the reader in the story and in situ.
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