Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story Of The World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
  • Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story Of The World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
  • Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story Of The World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
ISBN: 1501134612
EAN13: 9781501134616
Language: English
Pages: 320
Weight: 1.74 lbs.
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Book Overview

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A New York Times Best Book of the Year
A Time Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Winner

From journalist Adam Higginbotham, the New York Times bestselling account that reads almost like the script for a movie (The Wall Street Journal)--a powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history's worst nuclear disasters.

Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering one of the twentieth century's greatest disasters. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (13)

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   Very interesting story
This was a very interesting book that tells a very complete story of what went wrong in the Chernobyl disaster. Incorporating the stories of some workers and officials kept my attention. It would have been a little easier to read if it had used measurements that an American could understand, but I kept my phone handy so that I could translate kilometers into miles, etc. I wish I had noticed the glossary sooner at the end of the story. That was helpful in understanding Russian organizations, government departments, the chain of command, etc. A truly historical story of this fascinating event.
   Very well written
This is a fabulous book! It is well written. I thought that the book switch back and forth between the history of nuclear energy in the former Soviet Union and the accident would be very frustrating and hard to follow, but it is not. The background adds a lot of value to the narrative of the accident. You can see how secretive the former Soviet Union really was. I’m pretty confident in his information - his bibliography is HUGE!!! Definitely a good read if you are interested in Chernobyl, nuclear energy or the secrecy of the former Soviet Union. He also covers the participants'personal stories without reading meaning '' into them - he gives just the known facts.
   A gripping tale well told
The author deserves Kudos for his straightforward explanation of nuclear physics of simple power. Even my unscientific mind had lit a light bulb for this. This narrative is the story of a generation of Civil Service members who were anxious to reach targets and also careful to avoid criticism. It is the story of countless individuals and the lives they have led. It's the story of a disaster so terrible that the scale of its destruction was unthinkable even to those who understood what happened. A read that will have you rocking your head and sighing in frustration time and time again.
   This book really deserves one star, but nobody reads those.
I stopped reading when I came across this gross mistake. If the author could not have bothered to look up the real configuration of deuterium and if the editors could not bother to have the manuscript reviewed by a knowledgeable scientist, I have little faith in the rest of the book.
   A gripping and comprehensive account
All my re-instinct questions after watching the 5-episode HBO series were answered. This book was a comprehensively researched work and built over years on his previous journalistic work. The story is kept personal, even as you are drawn by the various political, sociological and scientific factors. But you are constantly in contact with the ground, building from the stories of individuals. Time has allowed for many revelations and this builds on a broad body of material on top of primary investigations and interviews. Some chapters had my heart faster, especially from the effects of exposure and the tremendous work of liquidators. I am grateful for the account and sharing the lessons it teaches.
   Highly, highly recommended.
I rarely write book reviews, but when it's a book I enjoy, I have to tell the world. This book is very thorough and I mean extremely important when it comes to telling the story. I feel like I am reading a novel, reading a novel. It even contains photos. The thing I like about this book is that I can read it a few times and learn something new about the event. Highly recommended. Highly recommended.
This is almost like a reference volume of the Chernobyl accident at over 500 pages. At times it reads almost like a journal, at times it covers what happened, sometimes by hour and minute. This is all for the good. The author did an incredible job by researching the reactor accident. On the other hand, it is a bit much for the average reader on the other hand. It is highly technical, even for persons with degrees in science, such as myself. About half way through, I found myself skimming through the pages by reading the first sentence in each paragraph.
   A revealing and horrifying look at a man-made catastrophe
I'm old enough to remember Chernobyl clearly, but I had no idea of the hubris, denial and coverup that contributed to this disaster. The book explains in frightening detail the design flaws of the reactor, the denial of some of the reactor personnel, the heroism of others and the far-reaching consequences of the meltdown. It is a sobering discussion of the risks of nuclear power and an important reading in an age of climate change and the need for power sources that don 't add to the increasing CO2 levels. I'm amazed at the details that the author was able to extort.
   The Fall of the USSR
As a 21 year college student at the time, Chernobyl was simply an accident in an enemy state that contaminated Western Europe. I know little, it may have been the straw that broke the USSR. The author takes us close and personal to the accident, both the heroism and the scapegoating of all involved. Despite this unmitigated disaster of global proportion, Higgginbothan refuses to dismiss nuclear as a reasonable alternative to all other sources of power.
   Exceptionally good and deeply disturbing book
On several levels, the author did an exceptionally good job. 1) he told personal stories of the people involved, and 2) he explained very well to me what actually happened with the reactor during the accident. This was an eye-opening experience. 3) and finally described the inhumane nature of the Soviet regime, its secrecy and how it treated people and sacrificed their safety and health for the sake of protecting the accident for the Soviet regime and Soviet science and technology. This is one of the best non-fiction books I have read and most likely the best on the Chernobyl accident. I give it 5 stars because I can not give 6.