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The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States

Narrated by: Neil Hellegers
Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States is an exciting piece of "speculative fiction." The novel posits that there was a nuclear attack against the US on March 21, 2020 by North Korea, and that a national bipartisan commission was created to investigate what and how it happened. It's pretty scary stuff.

©2018 Jeffrey Lewis (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Profile Image for Amanda B.
  • Amanda B.
  • 25-02-19

Disturbingly plausible, What Ifs are always open.

If you like Arms Control Wonk, this fiction story from the podcast founder is sure to satisfy. Read well with steady voice acting that didnt mock or drop to impersonation of Trump. Freaky story the was disturbingly plausible, somewhat predictable (as it would be for most ACW listeners) but supremely enjoyable. I appreciated the build up, starting with an accident and ending with
...well, read it yourself!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Just reading
  • 08-12-18

Interesting story

Thought-provoking, great delivery by the narrator. While some may be put off by the politics, it asks a pointed question about nuclear weapons that is as relevant today as when they were invented. Recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David P. Goode
  • 02-05-19

Powerful read!

Very powerful book. Well written. Terrifying largely due to it's realism. Must read for those interested in US foreign policy, particularly as it relates to the Korean peninsula.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alan
  • 20-10-18

What a book!

A very plausible “what if” fiction story. For all Americans who think it cannot happen here this is a cold shower wake up call. Sooner or later some country or organization will commit this atrocity and then it will be too late.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • brian
  • 16-10-18

Speculation, but, well done.

A look at a likely event to happen in the future. Well researched for a fictional war.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Heatherh
  • 21-08-19

The anti-technothriller

Most of the critiques I have of the book are already covered by other reviews (The book starts off strong, then loses its way after the missiles start flying; shallow Trump bashing that distracts from the narrative (which is a much stronger attack on the man than recounting him yelling at an aide).
I grew up reading Technothrillers (Clancy published The Hunt from Red October when I was in high school and I bought the follow on books for the next several years in hardcover) and so this book appealed to me as a way to scratch that itch. Here's a worst case scenario acted out. Coming from that angle it was striking how much this book was the polar opposite of a Clancy treatment. The perspective of the soldiers involved in this conflict get very few speaking parts. Military personnel are chess pieces. No one cares what the Rook thinks about what's going on and likewise the author doesn't bother with their stories. Another Clancy fascination, the Secret Service, basically does not exist in this world (a military aide gets in a physical confrontation with the president in a pretty tense moment and no secret service agent is even recorded raising an eyebrow). There's a brief discussion of the Chief of Staff contemplating ordering the Secret Service to bodily load the President on Air Force One but the agents apparently have no agency of their own. The State Department is populated by geniuses and people who carry guns are nonentities, like I said basically the polar opposite of the lense Clancy would view this series of events through, I think that may be some of the disappointment people feel about the book is it seems from the Premise like it would scratch that technothriller itch but it very much does not.
The place where the Trump Bashing got a little tedious for me was the author's incredible fascination with the President's difficulty accepting that his wife was dead. Of all the times when you would cut a person some slack for a bit of denial that's on top of the list. Not to mention there's a lot going on at the moment but instead we're hanging out in a bunker while junior staffers debate who's going to tell the President there's no chance Melania survived.
It's a five star buildup and two star denouement. The discussion of intelligence failures and understandable errors leading up to the crisis really is top notch, but the rest of the book is a disappointment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DJ W.
  • 08-04-19

A terrifying look at a possible future.

The author obviously knowledgeable about nuclear proliferation , military and political realities of the US AND Korean government. He uses this knowledge to tell write a cautionary tale of the possibilities of a nuclear event. He uses the real names of key government officials and does a good job of political profiling their likely actions and personalities. I read about 40 nonfiction books a year on policy and this work of fiction will stand out. I enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 12-09-19

Fascinating, Distrubring, and Flawed

Some positives and negatives with this one:

As others have stated, this story is strongest at the beginning, setting the table for the chaos to unfold. With slight exception from some emotional actions on the part of S Korea’s leadership, it comes off as quite believable and disturbing, but again, loses steam as we progress to 2nd and 3rd acts. Nonetheless, the authors’ apparent goal to convey just how much of a powder keg the Korean Peninsula is, and how horrible the outcome would be in a worst-case scenario, is largely achieved. There are some things that miss the mark for me however, and detracted from the book (spoilers below):

• The idea that there would be no nuclear response from S Korea, Japan, or the US are an NK first strike seems a bit of a stretch to say the least.
• The US military apparently has no “response plan” to an NK nuclear strike, and has to modify a “first strike” plan instead? Doubt it.
• The author needlessly chooses to engage in some #Resistance “fan faction” that is completely unnecessary to the narrative, and really detracts from the story. Trump’s tweeting helping to spiral a situation out of control? Certainly reasonable. Donald Trump getting physically roughed up by a military aide in a literal tug-of-war over the nuclear football? C’mon. Nikki Haley refusing to call Trump in the middle of the night because of rumors of an affair fueled by Michael Wolff’s book? Nikki Haley refusing to give water to a famished child fleeing destruction? Completely pointless. These aspects almost certainly will be gleefully inhaled by passionate Trump opponents, will outrage Team MAGA, but for the rest of us just interested in this topic, really just doesn't add anything.

In sum, in many ways, this story “delivers the goods”, but it’s very avoidable flaws can be quite frustrating.

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  • Mark Baker
  • 15-08-19

Just “ok”

It’s an interesting idea that could have been really good… Somehow it got lost along the way… A solid “OK”

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Profile Image for Douglas
  • Douglas
  • 18-10-18

Strong start and weak ending

The book started off good and held my interest but as it neared the end my interest started to vanish.

My biggest issues with the book include:
1) Repetition - the author repeats information when it's not needed.
2) Contradicts preceding text - for example the author writes that the attack on Guam failed. Further int he text he states that there was heavy loss of life at the Guam military base. Even later the author reverses himself.
3) The ending was sucked dry of all emotion. I wasn't invested in the consequences of the attack.
4) The secret service - completely absent except for a brief mention near the end.

I wish the author had crafted the later part of the book as he had crafted the beginning section.

5 of 12 people found this review helpful