Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

Category: Book
By (author): Plokhy, Serhii
Subject:  BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Energy
  HISTORY / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / Military / Nuclear Warfare
  NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Audience: general/trade
Awards: Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (2018) Winner
Publisher: Basic Books
Published: May 2018
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 432
Size: 9.50in x 6.37in x 1.25in

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*From a preeminent historian of Eastern Europe, the definitive history of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On the morning of April 26, 1986, Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill.

In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy draws on new sources to tell the dramatic stories of the firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who heroically extinguished the nuclear inferno. He lays bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of Communist party rule, the regime's control of scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else.

Today, the risk of another Chernobyl looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world. A moving and definitive account, Chernobyl is also an urgent call to action.

Review Quote*"A masterful account of how the USSR's bureaucratic dysfunction, censorship, and impossible economic targets produced the disaster and hindered the response."-New York Review of Books
Review Quote*"Gripping, meticulously researched...[Mr. Plokhy] mercilessly chronicles the absurdities of the Soviet system and the arrogance of its apparatchiks. But the fact that he grew up fewer than 500 kilometers south of Chernobyl probably accounts for his vividly empathetic descriptions of the people on the ground-the plant managers and employees, the firefighters, soldiers and others-who risked their lives to contain the damage."-Wall Street Journal
Review Quote*"The bare outline of the Chernobyl fire and the Soviet silence have been well covered...Mr. Plokhy, who directs the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard, adds much detail to that caused the failure, and the false assignment of blame to operating engineers...[His] most telling disclosures deal with how the Soviet subterfuges played a major role in Ukraine's decision to become an independent nation once the Soviet Union disintegrated."-Washington Times
Review Quote*"A lucid account of how the Soviet mania for nuclear power combined with endemic shoddiness in the industrial sector and near-paranoid habits of state secrecy led to the 1986 disaster...The most comprehensive and convincing history of Chernobyl yet to appear in English."-Financial Times
Review Quote*"The first comprehensive history of the Chernobyl at last is the monumental history the disaster deserves."-Julie McDowall, Times
Review Quote*"A work of deep scholarship and powerful stroytelling. Plokhy is the master of the telling detail."-Victory Sebestyen, Sunday Times
Review Quote*
"Compelling...Plokhy's well-paced narrative plunges the reader into the sweaty, nervous tension of the Chernobyl control room on the fateful night when human frailty and design flaws combined to such devastating effect."-Guardian
Review Quote*"Haunting...Plokhy's...voice is humane and inflected with nostalgia. His Chernobyl and Prypiat emerge vividly-as perhaps all disaster-afflicted cities must-as shattered idylls."-Spectator
Review Quote*"Plokhy recounts the circumstances of the accident and its aftermath in painstaking detail...He tells the story with great assurance and style...A fierce and at times personal indictment of the ideology, bureaucracy and overconfidence of the Soviet system, as well as a strident condemnation of all modern states that continue to pursue military or economic objectives to the detriment of their populations and the environment."- Literary Review