Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
15 Minutes

15 Minutes

General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation

L. Douglas Keeney

St. Martin's Press




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.




IN 1945, A special committee of the Manhattan Project headed by Nobel Prize–winning physicist James Franck was asked to examine the political consequences of atomic bombs. In their final report they reduced...


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About the author

L. Douglas Keeney

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 ten books of military history.

L. Douglas Keeney

L. Douglas Keeney

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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