• A Fiery Peace in a Cold War

  • Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon
  • By: Neil Sheehan
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 19 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (111 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
A Fiery Peace in a Cold War  By  cover art

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War

By: Neil Sheehan
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $25.90

Buy for $25.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

From Neil Sheehan, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic A Bright Shining Lie, comes this long-awaited, magnificent epic. Here is the never-before-told story of the nuclear arms race that changed history - and of the visionary American Air Force officer Bernard Schriever, who led the high-stakes effort. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is a masterly work about Schriever’s quests to prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring nuclear superiority, to penetrate and exploit space for America, and to build the first weapons meant to deter an atomic holocaust rather than to be fired in anger.

Sheehan melds biography and history, politics and science, to create a sweeping narrative that transports the listener back and forth from individual drama to world stage. The narrative takes us from Schriever’s boyhood in Texas as a six-year-old immigrant from Germany in 1917 through his apprenticeship in the open-cockpit biplanes of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s and his participation in battles against the Japanese in the South Pacific during the Second World War. On his return, he finds a new postwar bipolar universe dominated by the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Inspired by his technological vision, Schriever sets out in 1954 to create the one class of weapons that can enforce peace with the Russians - intercontinental ballistic missiles that are unstoppable and can destroy the Soviet Union in thirty minutes. In the course of his crusade, he encounters allies and enemies among some of the most intriguing figures of the century: John von Neumann, the Hungarian-born mathematician and mathematical physicist, who was second in genius only to Einstein; Colonel Edward Hall, who created the ultimate ICBM in the Minuteman missile, and his brother, Theodore Hall, who spied for the Russians at Los Alamos and hastened their acquisition of the atomic bomb; Curtis LeMay, the bomber general who tried to exile Schriever and who lost his grip on reality, amassing enough nuclear weapons in his Strategic Air Command to destroy the entire Northern Hemisphere; and Hitler’s former rocket maker, Wernher von Braun, who along with a colorful, riding-crop-wielding Army general named John Medaris tried to steal the ICBM program.

The most powerful men on Earth are also put into astonishing relief: Joseph Stalin, the cruel, paranoid Soviet dictator who spurred his own scientists to build him the atomic bomb with threats of death; Dwight Eisenhower, who backed the ICBM program just in time to save it from the bureaucrats; Nikita Khrushchev, who brought the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and John Kennedy, who saved it.

Schriever and his comrades endured the heartbreak of watching missiles explode on the launching pads at Cape Canaveral and savored the triumph of seeing them soar into space. In the end, they accomplished more than achieving a fiery peace in a cold war. Their missiles became the vehicles that opened space for America.

©2009 Neil Sheehan (P)2009 Random House

What listeners say about A Fiery Peace in a Cold War

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Schriever rhymes with beaver.

This is a good book. I'm not disappointed I bought it, and I recognize that I am a perfectionist when it comes to pronunciation. But of all things, you would think that the name of the central figure would be pronounced correctly. His name is General Bernard Adolph Schriever, mispronounced throughout as Shriver, rhyming with diver. As in Sergeant Shriver. Be prepared to hear it mispronounced at least 600 times.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, okay delivery

Any additional comments?

The story is masterful and fascinating. The production of the performance has numerous mispronounciations of names and locations. Further, the organization central to the Air Force's nuclear force, the Strategic Air Command, was known quite widely as SAC ("sack") for short. The reader constantly refers to it as ESS-AY-CEE, which was very distracting. He is an excellent reader...this is a production issue.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Outstanding Read

One of the most outstanding books on the Cold War and the life of Bennie Schriever!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • B.
  • 04-21-21

Great story of great men

I enjoyed this reading but being a techie I would have like more technical information and less in-depth development of the many involved in this story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One More Paean to the Greatest Generation

To begin, a great book, great story, greatly performed. It will appeal to those interested in the history of science, technology, Cold War America, USAF history, or military history in general. It's subject is the advance of technology in perilous times, but the author has served us well by presenting it in a way that is readily understandable without undermining our our appreciation of the difficulty of the task accomplished by the men described. It was especially appreciated that, in addition to describing the technological contributions of the men in the book, he described their earlier WWII combat contributions. It should never be lost on posterity that this same generation served and prevailed in two wars, one hot and one cold. The fact that, through their efforts, we won the Cold War and avoided Armageddon is proof enough that Peace was their Profession. Thank you, Neil Sheehan and thank you, Bernard Schriever.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Excellent discussion of the life, times, and impact of Gen Schriever on the US Air Force and the delicate strategic balance of the 20th century's superpower standoff.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A lesser known story

Interesting twists and turns in the lives of those who founded the US nuclear rocket program. Slow and tedious at times, even a bit long. Excellent information and good historical references. I recommend this to other AF officers who think innovation is dead.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ben
  • Ben
  • 08-24-22

A wonderfully informative book

A great book on an underserved aspect of history. It's a masterly combination of biography and history the book provides a good grounding in the subject without ever being dry or overly technical.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mick Rose
  • Mick Rose
  • 12-15-19

Soooo Good!!!!

Magnificent follow up to his last book. Didn’t want it to finish. So much info.