Book Review: 1945

I had a phase once upon a time where I consumed the works of Jeff Sharra and David Liss, both of whom delve deep into history or historical settings and twist until all the drama is wrung out. This week’s book does not have the heavy depth of research of a Sharra or the character development of a Liss, but the tale is nevertheless a compelling what-if about a question we have probably all wondered at least once.  

I review what I read and I read a variety of genres. But, as always, if you have a book you are interested in seeing reviewed in this space, feel free to contact me.

The Basics:


Title: 1945
Author: Robert Conroy
Genre: Historical fiction, Alternative History
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2007

Spoiler-Free Summary:

History often pivots on small hinges. Imagine a world in which America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II, and the war simply raged on. This is the scenario Mr. Conroy unwraps for us in 1945. Starting from an alternative ending to an actual historical coup, the text knocks down all the potential dominos as the war continues. Never fear, reader, 1945 is not a fiction text book. The tale comes to us through the perspective of the men and women involved, both great and small, on both sides of the war. The visceral images and gut-wrenching emotional turns stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.

Why this book might be for you:

To state the obvious, this book is definitely for history buffs. That said, you do not need to remember your high school American History II class to follow along. The text contains all you need to know. 1945 has heart-pounding action, and given the setting, we genuinely fear for the hero’s lives. Between the explosions, we dive deeply into the emotional impact on an unending war on a weary populace. 

I was personally impressed with the way the text handles varying  perspectives. It is not all one big hoo-rah for America. 1945 authentically presents the devastation of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the desperation of a populace pushed to the brink, and the ugliness of an America fed up with war.

Why this book might not be for you:

If you enjoy lighter fare, the gore, tragedy, and devastation in these pages may turn you away. A subject as grand and sweeping as the Pacific theater demands a variety of perspectives, but sometimes there is not enough space to fully explore all the nuance of a given character’s story. Similarly, because of the bouncing perspective, there is sometimes not room to show, rather than tell. The tale itself is what is on display in 1945, not the way of it’s telling.

Where can you find more?

You can explore all the alternate timelines you could imagine on Robert Conroy’s web site. You can find him on Amazon, Goodreads, and Thrift Books

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