• 12 Seconds of Silence

  • How a Team of Inventors, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon
  • By: Jamie Holmes
  • Narrated by: Chris Mayers
  • Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The riveting story of the American scientists, tinkerers, and nerds who solved one of the biggest puzzles of World War II - and developed one of the most powerful weapons of the war

12 Seconds of Silence is the remarkable, lost story of how a ragtag group of American scientists overcame one of the toughest problems of World War II: shooting things out of the sky.

Working in a secretive organization known as Section T, a team of physicists, engineers, and everyday Joes and Janes took on a devilish challenge. To help the Allies knock airplanes out of the air, they created one of the world’s first “smart weapons”. Against overwhelming odds and in a race against time, mustering every scrap of resource, ingenuity, and insight, the scientists of Section T would eventually save countless lives, rescue the city of London from the onslaught of a Nazi superweapon, and help bring about the Axis defeat. A holy grail sought after by Allied and Axis powers alike, their unlikely innovation ranks with the atomic bomb as one of the most revolutionary technologies of the Second World War. Until now, their tale was largely untold.

For fans of Erik Larson and Ben Macintyre, set amidst the fog of espionage, dueling spies, and the dawn of an age when science would determine the fate of the world, 12 Seconds of Silence is a tribute to the extraordinary wartime mobilization of American science and the ultimate can-do story.

Narrated by Chris Mayers.

©2020 Jamie Holmes (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about 12 Seconds of Silence

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book but glitchy

Didn’t get to hear chapter 20...the Audible re-played an earlier chapter a few seconds in. Some other jumps in the audio too. Great story!

1 person found this helpful

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  • 09-01-22

Great story especially for technical professionals

I loved this story! Unfortunately I was not impressed by narrator’s performance. His intonation felt inappropriate and the mispronunciations were somewhat distracting.

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Great history of the prox fuze

Really fantastic history of the development of the proximity fuze. Narrators voice is a bit nasally, but you get used to it!

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Not what I expected to learn

For a book about the development of the then revolutionary, war winning proximity fuse, it has very little to say about the fuze itself. I'm an electrical engineer and never felt enlightened. The writing style makes continuous use of lists with no action flowing among tlhe items. The book mentions thousands of names as though it had access to a list of personnel but knew little else about them. You can get more useful info from the Wikipedia article.

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Excellent History

I love wartime research books like this one and it did not disappoint. A variety of stories and characters make for a great experience. Tuxedo Park and 109 East Palace by Jennet Conant in a similar vein also highly recommended

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Fascinating read.

Many war details directly - and indirectly - related to WW II. New details for this nerd.