Nuclear War

Nuclear War

A Scenario


The Sunday Times bestselling edge-of-your-seat non-fiction thriller, perfect for readers of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham.

'Essential' New York Times
'A stomach-clenching, multi-perspective, ticking-clock, geopolitical thriller' Forbes
'Tells a terrifying story in a devastatingly straightforward way' Guardian

Nuclear war begins with a blip on a radar screen.
This is a minute-by-minute account of what comes next.
It has to be read to be believed.

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.

Until now, no one outside official circles has known exactly what would happen if a rogue state launched a nuclear missile at the Pentagon. Second by second and minute by minute, these are the real-life protocols that choreograph the end of civilization as we know it.

Decisions that affect hundreds of millions of lives need to be made within six minutes, based on partial information, in the knowledge that once launched, nothing is capable of halting the destruction.
Based on dozens of new interviews with military and civilian experts who have built the weapons, been privy to the response plans, and taken responsibility for crucial decisions, this is the only account of what a nuclear exchange would look like.
Nuclear War is at once a compulsive non-fiction thriller and a powerful argument that we must rid ourselves of these world-ending weapons for ever.

'This terrifying book is a must-read for every world leader' Mother Jones
'These are scenes straight out of Dr Strangelove' Telegraph
'At once methodical and vivid' The Economist


  • A stomach-clenching, multi-perspective, ticking-clock, geopolitical thriller rooted in the seeds of our own destruction, planted nearly 80 years ago at the Trinity test site by the scientists of the Manhattan Project who brazenly dared to rip the building blocks of our universe apart... I couldn’t put the thing down, feverishly turning page after page until I finished it on the plane ride home... Nuclear War: A Scenario should be required reading for everyone alive today.

About the author

Annie Jacobsen

Annie Jacobsen is a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist and the New York Times bestselling author of Area 51, Operation Paperclip, Surprise, Kill, Vanish and others. Her books have been translated into nine languages. She also writes and produces TV, including Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons.
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