• Countdown 1945

  • The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World
  • By: Chris Wallace, Mitch Weiss
  • Narrated by: Chris Wallace
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,620 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Number one national best seller

“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 listeners 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 10-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.

©2020 Chris Wallace. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Countdown 1945

Enjoyed the book until the last three chapters which I did not read. They started as the standard apology to Japan for using the atomic bomb to end the war. It is estimated that a million US military would have been killed and half that wounded in the invasion of Japan. My father was in the navy during the Philippines, Guam and Iwo Jima, Okinawa. Terrible fighting and losses of American men. Suicidal bombers, crazed brainwashed enemy, who would have been more fierce on their own soil. I'm sure my father would most likely have been killed in that million US deaths, which would have meant, I would have not been born. No apology ever for Little Boy and Fatman. High ranking old men not involved in face to face combat wanted to keep the war going for their glory. Young civilian soldiers dreamed of peace. I'm a 22 year veteran who served in Vietnam and know face to face engagement. Mr. Wallace missed the deathly peril our war fighters faced in a prolonged war.

89 people found this helpful

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It was ok

I liked the story about our soldiers and how they struggled with their actions but I didn’t like how Chris makes the Japanese seem like total victims even though he says in his book how the USA gave them many opportunities to surrender.

23 people found this helpful

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Chris Wallace killed it!

While I have read and listened to hundreds of books, I have never written a review that I can remember. I heard Mr. Wallace see on Fox News that he wrote this book to be a historic thriller. I bought it immediately. And he was exactly right. Not only did I learn a lot about the important history of 1945, but I was literally anticipating every new chapter. It reminded me of the first time I saw the movie Titanic. Of course I knew what was going to happen, but I was captivated. Great job Chris Wallace.

22 people found this helpful

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Great documentary and style. Slight difference of opinion.

Really a must read with the following comment.

The actual numbers of allied casualties on the invasion of Japan was between one and 4 million with the ratio of over 30% dead from the Okinawa invasion. The 250,000 dead wasn’t early estimate that had no research behind it.

To this day, no new purple crosses are made as they came from the anticipated need for the Japanese invasion.

Japanese deaths were pegged at roughly 25 million. This corresponds to what the Japanese military assumed would happen. 25% of their population (109 million) would be sacrificed for the honor of the emperor. That was quite acceptable to them.

13 people found this helpful

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Reads like a thriller

Fantastic book by Chris Wallace! I was so enthralled that I was looking for reasons to get in my car so I could listen to more of the book. I especially enjoyed the stories about the various participants and then what became of them after.
Really well-done.

12 people found this helpful

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very interesting I couldn't stop listening.

it gave you a sense of the feelings of those involved about what was happening as well as the historic events themselves. My Dad was a mechanic who was there and he worked on the Enola Gay. I never understood the significance of what he did. He was a very modest man. I am sorry that he didn't get to hear the book. I m sure he would have loved it. He just passed last October at the age of 93.

9 people found this helpful

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Countdown 1945

I just started this book
I'm 86 years old And lived through this time and knew Very little Of the background about this book
Will add my review after a finish the book this very good this far

9 people found this helpful

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Countdown 1945

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.

6 people found this helpful

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The bar has now been raised!! Absolutely FABULOUS!

The amount of investigating necessary to write such a book is amazing.
I have recommended it highly

5 people found this helpful

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Excellant!

Excellant book, I'm sure Wallace didn't write it. Should have been performed by someone who wasn't such a traitor to America, Chris Wallace. I wonder how Wallace covered Bill Clinton's shameful apology to the Japanese. The bomb probably saved a million lives on both sides. Japanese never apologized for their beastly inhuman treatment of Americans. We're still waiting!

3 people found this helpful