Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima

By Stephen Walker


‘A stunning book, among the most immediate and thrilling works of history I have ever read’

At 8:15am on August 6th 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. In an instant, the temperature at its core rose to millions of degrees. Sixty-thousand buildings were obliterated. A third of the city’s population died, by heat, by the blast, and by a terrible new weapon in the history of warfare: radiation.

In this riveting account, Stephen Walker follows the stories of real people in the extraordinary weeks leading up to the explosion and in its aftermath. From the atomic engineer who armed the bomb in mid-air to the Japanese doctors treating thousands of burnt bodies on the ground. From the flight crews and scientists to world leaders and civilian victims. With intimate testimony and remarkable stories, this is the startling narrative behind the dawn of the atomic age.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 23 Jul 2020
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0-00-837255-2
Stephen Walker was born in London. He has a BA in History from Oxford and an MA in the History of Science from Harvard. His previous book was Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima, a New York Times bestseller. As well as being a writer he is also an award-winning documentary director. His films have won an Emmy, a BAFTA and the Prix d’Or, Europe’s most prestigious documentary award. Young@Heart, a film about an American chorus of seniors, won the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award in 2007 and was subsequently released to critical acclaim in cinemas across the US by Fox Searchlight.

”'Shockwave is a stunning book, among the most immediate and thrilling works of history I have ever read.” - Irish Times

‘This is an utterly gripping work of micro-history … [Walker] proves himself a master of dramatic tension.’Sunday Express -

‘The excitement of the time is wonderfully captured in Walker’s Shockwave. Brilliant.’Financial Times -

‘Devastating.’Daily Mail -

‘Timely and harrowing …succeeds in creating a dramatized documentary of the moment that changed history.’Scotland on Sunday -

‘A roller-coaster ride through the memories of American servicemen, Japanese soldiers and civilians…invites comparison with John Hersey’s still-classic Hiroshima.’Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) -

‘Superb …Walker writes with a sense of urgency and high drama.’Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) -

‘Uniquely readable, immediate and human …an exceptionally taut and revealing chronicle.’Booklist (Starred Review) -

‘Dramatic …an important page-turner.’Entertainment Weekly -

‘Remarkable. I have been waiting for this book for sixty years.’Gitta Sereny, author of Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth -

”'Electrifying …The tension and concentration of Walker’s thriller-like prose elicits a visceral response.” - Chicago Tribune