Resurrection Day

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Resurrection Day
AuthorBrendan DuBois
CountryUnited States
GenreAlternate history
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages387 (hardcover)
813/.54 21
LC ClassPS3554.U2564 R47 1999

Resurrection Day is a novel written by Brendan DuBois in 1999. It is an alternate history where the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated to a full-scale war, the Soviet Union is devastated, and the United States has been reduced to a third-rate power, relying on the United Kingdom for aid. It won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History that year.


Set in the aftermath of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States, the book chronicles the investigations of Carl Landry, a reporter for the Boston Globe. As the story unfolds, Carl attempts to uncover the events leading up to the war, while at the same time running from those who would have the truth buried.

The story begins in 1972, ten years after a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviets, which was precipitated by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Washington, D.C., New York, Omaha, San Diego, Miami, and other U.S. cities, principally those surrounding military bases, have either been destroyed, damaged, or rendered uninhabitable by Soviet nuclear attacks. Philadelphia is now the capital of the United States, and although the Mexican-born President George W. Romney is nominally in office, the U.S. is effectively under martial law. The Soviets have been utterly devastated by U.S. nuclear strikes. Cuba is an atomic ruin, with Spain responsible for relief efforts aiding what is left of the island's population.

One consequence of the war is that America's embroilment in Vietnam is abruptly curtailed. U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam (and indeed across the world) are withdrawn in order to stabilise the US in the aftermath of the Soviet missile and air strikes. The People's Republic of China has also collapsed, with numerous regional warlords waging a civil war against each other.

U.S. nuclear strikes on the Soviets led to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and also to the release of a massive fallout cloud over much of Asia, killing further millions after the destruction of the Soviets. As a consequence, the U.S. has become a pariah in the eyes of much of the world. Many governments regard members of the U.S. Air Force as war criminals, and its servicemen are advised not to travel abroad. After the 1962 war, nearly all the remaining countries of the globe have renounced possession of nuclear weapons. The United States alone retains an atomic arsenal.

Western Europe survived the war largely unscathed. NATO collapsed almost as soon as hostilities commenced, and France and a reunited Germany now preside over the continent. The United Kingdom and Canada remain allies of the U.S., and actually assist in post-war reconstruction efforts in U.S. states hit hardest by the war. The British, in the period after 1962, has managed to regain much of its pre-1939 colonial confidence in the vacuum left by the destruction of the Soviet Union and the emasculation of the U.S. in world affairs. The policy of decolonialisation has been halted and even reversed; some newly independent nations even return to the remaining British "Empire" in the new, uncertain world created after the "Cuban War". While British aid is welcome, there is also a sense of resentment among the American population over excessive dependence on the British. The large presence of British and Canadian military personnel in the U.S. is also a source of contention, with some Americans wondering whether their allies possess ulterior motives.

The story covers two parallel plotlines. The first involves Landry's attempts to discover what happened in Washington, D.C. in October 1962. U.S. military propaganda accounts maintain that the Cuban war broke out because of John F. Kennedy's recklessness and incompetence; these claims are generally believed. Kennedy and his officials are regarded as butchers and war criminals and the only senior surviving member of JFK's inner circle, McGeorge Bundy, is imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth. In contrast, U.S. military commanders (notably the Chief of the Air Force, General Curtis LeMay) are portrayed as the saviors of the nation. During the course of the novel Landry gradually discovers that it was Kennedy who sought to prevent the crisis over Cuba from escalating into war, and that last-minute attempts to achieve a deal with Nikita Khrushchev to end the crisis were deliberately sabotaged by LeMay and other generals.

The second plotline concerns British-U.S. relations. Landry and a British journalist, Sandy Price, discover that elements within the British government and security services are plotting a military takeover (or anschluss) of the U.S. This plan is underway near the end of the novel, and is called off at the last minute.

Major characters[edit]

  • Carl Landry – protagonist; a young reporter for the Boston Globe
  • Sandra "Sandy" Price – British newspaper reporter and undercover operative for MI6
  • General Ramsey "Rammer" Curtis – fictional United States Air Force general responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis escalating into worldwide nuclear war; based on General Curtis LeMay
  • "Two-Tone" – homeless man in Carl's neighborhood; ex-major of the 82nd Airborne Division and a veteran of the U.S. Army airborne invasion of Cuba and victim of Soviet tactical nuclear strike on the invading U.S. forces


See also[edit]

  • Warday, another scenario about a limited nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the Soviets and its subsequent aftermath, which also includes a resurgence of British Imperial power.
  • The World Next Door, another scenario about the Cuban Missile Crisis escalating to a nuclear exchange, and the devastated U.S. blames Kennedy.


  • Gorder, Danelle, Resurrection Day, Jove, 1999.