Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy
by Serhii Plokhy
***Winner of the 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction***
Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy is a gripping and highly readable book by Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy about the Chernobyl nuclear accident of April 26th, 1986 at Pripyat, in what is now Ukraine. The audiobook is read by the British actor Leighton Pugh.
Recommendations from our site
“He’s really good here at laying down the background of the disaster itself, the plant’s construction, the days leading up to it, the moments the accident occurred. He talks about the accident itself, the delay in informing the public, the censorship of news, the trial of the nuclear power plant operators who he thinks were treated as scapegoats, and the political outcomes of all this deception.” Read more...
Kate Brown, Historian
“The book unpacks every single detail of this extraordinarily human blunder and the massive consequences that it went on to have. Very well written, very well researched, absolutely fascinating about the end of the Soviet empire.” Read more...
The Best Nonfiction Books of 2018
Fiammetta Rocco, Artists & Art Critic
“It’s just a really thrilling book, as well as being a really interesting history of that time. But the reason why I think it’s also a brilliant political book is fundamentally what Plokhii reveals in his writing, is that the failure of Chernobyl was fundamentally a failure of a political system, as well as a failure of a scientific system.” Read more...
The Best Politics Books of 2018
Stephen Bush, Political Commentator
Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, the prizewinning book by Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy, is not a book about Mikhail Gorbachev, but it is about one of the most catastrophic events that happened under his watch, the accident of April 26th, 1986 at a nuclear power plant in Pripyat, now in Ukraine. With his slowness to inform the Soviet people what was going on, Gorbachev does not come out of the events of those months looking particularly good.
“Europe nearly became uninhabitable.”
Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy review, The Guardian, May 9th, 2018
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