Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima Review

After a year of posting book reviews for the Read Harder Challenge, it’s time to hear another voice discussing literature. Welcome Mayur Wadhwani of It’s Mayur Remember? for today’s guest post, a review of Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker:

Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima follows the footsteps of the first atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It shows different narratives about the situation in Japan, an American bomb testing site, and with President Truman. Stephen Walker is a great storyteller; he takes history and designs it in such a fashion that the book is impossible to put down.

The book begins with the testing of a Plutonium bomb in the middle of New Mexico desert site and then perfectly continues to describe the various events that are happening around the world. He describes everything in such a way that makes something as boring as waiting turn into a gripping story that makes you bite your tongue as the pace picks up, culminating in the devastation of Hiroshima. Walker explains the physics of the bomb better than any other textbook; he describes the characters and makes you understand what was happening with each and every one of them.

The book does not omit the narratives of Japanese; in fact, it highlights their stories after the bomb is dropped. He paints a picture that is grotesque and unsightly which makes you weep for the deceased. The collection of images of the people who designed the bomb, of people who dropped the bomb, and the people who survived the bomb reminds you that regardless of Walker’s storytelling skills, this book is a true story. The bombing really happened, and it marked the cornerstone of modern warfare.

Stephen Walker gives us history in piecemeal and finally fixes it all together like a jigsaw puzzle that ends in destruction. He makes us question whether the bombing of Hiroshima was necessary or not, given that the alternative was a prolonged massacre of the Japanese by not one but three nations.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

You can read more from Mayur at It’s Mayur Remember?


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