Attack Warning Red!: How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War (Paperback)
  • Attack Warning Red!: How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War (Paperback)
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Attack Warning Red!: How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War (Paperback)

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Paperback 256 Pages
Published: 04/04/2024
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Waterstones Says

From bunkers and shelters to sirens and sandbags, the full tragi-comic story of how Britain braced itself for nuclear conflict in the four decades after World War II makes for shocking, moving and hilarious reading - often all on the same page.

The atomic bombs of 1945 changed everything. For the next forty years, the mushroom cloud loomed large in public imaginations and fear of the blast’s apocalyptic power coloured every aspect of British daily life.

From makeshift shelters and herbal remedies to sirens that offered four-minute escapes, ordinary people were taught how to save themselves in the face of a catastrophe that was not survivable. Meanwhile, bunkers were readied for those officials and experts who would ensure life continued after Armageddon.

At once chilling and darkly funny, this is the story of how Britain braced for nuclear conflict – and of how, so long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of total annihilation will always be with us.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781529920017
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 193 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Timely ... McDowall's excellent book is a chilling reminder of the horrific reality of nuclear war - Guardian April 2024's Best Paperbacks*

Cracking - Sunday Telegraph

So entertaining - The Times

Very good ... A sobering book, but a gripping one - Spectator

Julie McDowall's thoroughly gripping study ... makes for genuinely startling and sometimes darkly funny reading... [it's] brilliantly chilling and sparkily engaging - Mail on Sunday

Attack Warning Red! is a timely reminder of the mind-blanking horror of nuclear warfare, as it menaces Europe once more - Sunday Times

An atomic Dad's Army, McDowall's history of the UK's nuclear civil defence is full of hilarious gems - Daily Telegraph

Most interesting - Times Literary Supplement

Simultaneously horrifying, weirdly nostalgic and darkly hilarious - Mark Haddon, author of The Porpoise

Impossible to believe, just as hard to put down. Urgent. Terrifying - Dan Snow, historian and host of History Hit

Superb ... a lucid, totally compulsive read from beginning to end, chilling as well as profoundly empathetic in tone - Mick Jackson, director of Threads

Brilliant and unforgettable ... A beautifully writtern horror story and amazing work of research ... Julie McDowall has made the unreadable compulsive and the unthinkable thinkable, but above all this is a book that cherishes humanity in all its absurdity, intelligence, vulnerability, courage and, against all odds, belief in hope and survival - Juliet Nicolson, author of Frostquake

Captivating, chilling, and at times darkly humorous. A fascinating insight into Britain's preparations for surviving Armageddon, and the ghastly reality of what the aftermath of a nuclear war would actually be like - Lewis Dartnell, author of The Knowledge

Fascinating - Sir Lawrence Freedman, author of Command

How to prepare for Armageddon? Julie McDowell has written the best exploration yet of how successive British administrations grappled with the challenge of living under the shadow of nuclear war, with depth, compassion and very necessary dark humour - Prof. Mark Galeotti, author of The Weaponisation of Everything

This by turns harrowing and farcical book charts the reality of living under constant threat of nuclear oblivion - iPaper

Timely ... harrowing ... farcical ... the most surprising aspect of Attack Warning Red!, however, is that, alongside generous helpings of fear and unease, it carries a strong charge of nostalgia - Scotland on Sunday

Attack Warning Red! effectively pulls together many strands from this unsettling aspect of British history and weaves them in a way that will alarm and entertain - BBC History Magazine

A fascinating read - Radio Times

McDowall's book has the tone of a podcast [...] She leads her audience round bunkers, propaganda films and government records, pointing out the horrifying, the unexpected and the absurd - London Review of Books

Grimly funny reading… this grimly entertaining history of our preparation for mass destruction is both timely and troubling - Daily Mail

Fascinating ... a chilling glimpse of an alternative world - SFX Magazine

An unsettling festive read - Soldier

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“A stunning book of governmental incompetance in the face of a chilling event”

What would the UK have done if we'd been attacked by a nuclear weapon? The answer is nothing that useful. In this fantastic book you can find out all about the optimism/idiocy of successive governments who... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

“Informative and Often Surprising”

An account of the cold war fears that embraced us all, and our wholly inadequate attempts to plan for them. Inadequate because there was nothing, just nothing, we could do but hope nuclear war never came to pass. This... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

“When Planning for the Future Fails”

An account of the cold war fears that embraced us all, and our wholly inadequate attempts to plan for them. Inadequate because there was nothing, just nothing, we could do but hope nuclear war never came to pass. This... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

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