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Nuclear War  By  cover art

Nuclear War

By: Annie Jacobsen
Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
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Publisher's summary

The INSTANT New York Times bestseller

Instant Los Angeles Times bestseller

“In Nuclear War: A Scenario, Annie Jacobsen gives us a vivid picture of what could happen if our nuclear guardians fail…Terrifying.”—Wall Street Journal

There is only one scenario other than an asteroid strike that could end the world as we know it in a matter of hours: nuclear war. And one of the triggers for that war would be a nuclear missile inbound toward the United States.

Every generation, a journalist has looked deep into the heart of the nuclear military establishment: the technologies, the safeguards, the plans, and the risks. These investigations are vital to how we understand the world we really live in—where one nuclear missile will beget one in return, and where the choreography of the world’s end requires massive decisions made on seconds’ notice with information that is only as good as the intelligence we have.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen’s Nuclear War: A Scenario explores this ticking-clock scenario, based on dozens of exclusive new interviews with military and civilian experts who have built the weapons, have been privy to the response plans, and have been responsible for those decisions should they have needed to be made. Nuclear War: A Scenario examines the handful of minutes after a nuclear missile launch. It is essential listening, and unlike any other book in its depth and urgency.

©2024 Penguin Audio (P)2024 Annie Jacobsen

Critic reviews

“Gripping . . . essential if you want to understand the complex and disturbing details that go into a civilization-destroying decision to drop the Bomb on an enemy. . . . Jacobsen has done her homework. She has spent more than a decade interviewing dozens of experts while mastering the voluminous literature on the subject, some of it declassified only in recent years.” — New York Times Book Review


“Timeless, masterful. . .A stomach-clenching, multi-perspective, ticking-clock, geopolitical thriller. Jacobsen expertly delivers a madman’s portrait of Armageddon, one made all the more impactful by the thought that it could literally occur at any moment. Almost novel-like in its presentation, Nuclear War: A Scenario represents the equivalent of an existential gut punch, a sickening and necessary reminder of how fragile every 21st century convenience becomes in the face of a blinding flash of light and near-instantaneous shockwave. Exhaustively researched and featuring interviews with professionals who truly understand just how close we continue to creep toward thermonuclear annihilation Nuclear War: A Scenario should be required reading for everyone alive today, especially for the politicians and policymakers who literally hold the precarious fate of our species in their hands.” — Forbes

Nuclear War sketches out a global nuclear war with by-the-minute precision for all of the 72 minutes between the first missile launch and the end of the world. . . . the scenario is constructed from dozens of interviews and documentation, some of it newly declassified, as a factual grounding to describe what could happen.” — Politico

“An urgent warning guaranteed to cause nightmares.” — Kirkus Reviews

"Based on hundreds of interviews with many retired security officials and more-or-less declassified information in the public domain, what it captures brilliantly is the emotional chaos into which leaders would be plunged in such a situation. . . . These are scenes straight out of Dr Strangelove." — Telegraph