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Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Friday 24/May/2019 - 10:02 AM
Book Cover
Book Cover
Edited by: Yara Sameh
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s definitive، years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster—and a powerful investigation into how propaganda، secrecy، and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters.

Early in the morning of April 26، 1986، Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded، triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. 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Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years، as well as letters، unpublished memoirs، and documents from recently-declassified archives، Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a masterful nonfiction thriller، and the definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex، more human، and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.

Midnight in Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of one of the great disasters of the twentieth century، of human resilience and ingenuity، and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which، in the face of climate change and other threats، remain not just vital but necessary.

Hardcover: 560 pages
Author: Adam Higginbotham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 12، 2019)
Language: English
Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches

About the Author
Adam Higginbotham writes for The New Yorker، The New York Times Magazine، Wired، GQ، and Smithsonian. He lives in New York City.

Editorial Reviews
" Superb، enthralling and necessarily terrifying... the accident unfurls with a horrible inevitability. Weaving together the experiences of those who were there that night، Higginbotham marshals the details so meticulously that every step feels spring-loaded with tension.... Amid so much rich reporting and scrupulous analysis، some major themes emerge.... Higginbotham’s extraordinary book is another advance in the long struggle to fill in some of the gaps، bringing much of what was hidden into the light." —Jennifer Szalai، The New York Times

“A gripping miss-your-subway-stop read... Higginbotham captures the nerve-racked Soviet atmosphere brilliantly.” —The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling، panoramic account."—The Christian Science Monitor

“An account that reads almost like the script for a movie... Mr. Higginbotham has captured the terrible drama.” —The Wall Street Journal

"Midnight in Chernobyl is top-notch historical narrative: a tense، fast-paced، engrossing، and revelatory product of more than a decade of research.... A stunningly detailed account... For all its wealth of information، the work never becomes overwhelming or difficult to follow. Higginbotham humanizes the tale، maintaining a focus on the people involved and the choices، both heroic and not، they made in unimaginable circumstances. This is an essential human tale with global consequences."—Booklist، Starred Review

"Written with authority، this superb book reads like a classic disaster story and reveals a Soviet empire on the brink.... [A] vivid and exhaustive account.”—Kirkus، Starred Review

"This is a highly detailed، carefully documented، beautifully narrated telling of this breathtakingly complex accident and its mitigation. Higginbotham’s handling of the sociopolitical context is also deft." —Nature

“In chilling detail، this book recounts the many missteps of their response to the disaster.... Higginbotham compellingly suggests that these flaws all but predicted the calamity—and، in turn، the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.” —The New Yorker

"In fascinating detail، Higginbotham chronicles how the drama played out، showing that Soviet hubris in part led to the accident and Soviet secrecy compounded it." —Newsday

"Midnight in Chernobyl is wonderful and chilling.... Adam Higginbotham tells the story of the disaster and its gruesome aftermath with thriller-like flair.... It is a tale of hubris and doomed ambition، featuring Communist party bosses and hapless engineers، victims and villains، confusion and cover-up." —The Guardian

"A riveting، deeply reported reconstruction... In this powerful work of reportage، Chernobyl and its aftermath emerge as the Soviet Union’s last stand، containing all the pathologies and passion of that social experiment now lost to history." —The Los Angeles Times

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