A lively ledger of the year that produced the greatest permanent change modern history: 1945 saw the end of the war in Italy, Germany, and Japan, and the awakening to the brutal fact that lasting peace was not to be an automatic result of the destruction of fascism. The deaths of FDR and Hitler, the defeat of Churchill at the polls, and the ubiquitous confusion of political aims, dreams and realities, merely contributed to the missing of opportunities and the inception of the Cold War. Millions of men and women returned to unrecognizable , with nothing but disappointment and fresh worries to show for six years of armed struggle. But above all, 1945 goes down on the calendar as year one of the atomic era. Brian Gardner has managed to encompass these major facts, and many lesser ones, in a book which ranges from Yalta to Iwo Jima, to Berlin, to Hiroshima. He has a clear eye for the decisive moment and the memorable detail. ubstantial history with a popular touch.