15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation (Paperback)

15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation By L. Douglas Keeney Cover Image
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Packed with startling revelations, this inside look at the secret side of the Cold War exposes just how close America came to total annihilation

During the Cold War, a flight crew had 15 minutes to get their nuke-laden plane in the air from the moment Soviet bombers were detected—15 minutes between the earliest warning of an incoming nuclear strike and the first flash of an enemy warhead. This is the chilling true story of the incredibly risky steps our military took to protect us from that scenario, including:

• Over two thousand loaded bombers that crossed American skies. They sometimes crashed and at least nine times resulted in nuclear weapons being accidentally dropped

• A system that would use timers and rockets to launch missiles even after everyone was dead

• Disastrous atmospheric nuclear testing including the horrific runaway bomb—that fooled scientists and put thousands of men in uniform in the center of a cloud of hot fallout

• A plan to use dry lake beds to rebuild and launch a fighting force in the aftermath of nuclear war

Based on formerly classified documents, military records, press accounts, interviews and over 10 years of research, 15 Minutes is one of the most important works on the atom bomb ever written.

About the Author

L. DOUGLAS KEENEY is a military historian and researcher. He is the cofounder of The Military Channel on which he hosted a series called On Target. He has since appeared on The Discovery Channel, CBS, and The Learning Channel and is the author of numerous books of military history.

Praise For…

“A chilling and unsettling account of accidents, oversights, errors in planning, and other mistakes and misjudgments by the military and its civilian masters...sobering and recommended.” —Library Journal

“Keeney, a military historian and co-founder of cable television's Military Channel, has utilized great amounts of recently declassified documents to tell a fascinating, often chilling story of the policies, technologies, and men responsible for maintaining our nuclear defense posture in that period.” —Booklist

“With access to newly declassified documents, Keeney delivers a jolting year-by-year history of SAC's transformation into a massive worldwide force primed to launch bombers within 15 minutes of the order. He also reveals alarming numbers of lost nuclear bombs, disastrous atmospheric tests, and nuclear war near-misses.” —Publishers Weekly

15 Minutes is brilliantly written, and engrossing...[It] shows us the world beyond the press releases of American propaganda, into the imperfect, human world of missing nukes, air-mishaps and the oh-so-close, two minutes to midnight of Nuclear Armageddon. It is a must-read for anybody interested in the Cold War, or anyone with an interest in the 20th century.” —Portland Book Review

“A history of United States nuclear warfare based heavily on declassified documents. Military Channel cofounder Keeney explains the evolution of U.S. mass-destruction weaponry from 1945 through 1968. The primary perspective is that of the Strategic Air Command, the high-powered organization developed by Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In the midst of a new era of nuclear worry (Iran, North Korea, suitcase bombs), the Cold War appears ever more surreal in memory, its vast weaponry (enough nukes to kill all humankind many times over) and Dr. Strangelove vocabulary ('mutually assured destruction' a.k.a. MAD) making it seem like a lunatic's nightmare. And therein lies the virtue of Keeney's marvellous chronological account: it gives the Cold War a real history, a step-by-step sequence of events caused by human decisions. The logic of the Cold War was cold indeed, but irrational it was not.” —Macleans.ca

“Based on formerly classified documents, military records, press accounts, interviews and more than 10 years of research, 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation is one of the most revealing works about the atom bomb. This period of Cold War danger and madness has been well documented by L. Douglas Keeney, a military historian and researcher and cofounder of The Military Channel.” —The Herald-Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250002082
ISBN-10: 1250002087
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 14th, 2012
Pages: 400
Language: English