Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (Hardback)Serhii Plokhy (author)
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A lucid, matter-of-fact unspooling of the day in 1986 when Europe was very nearly rendered uninhabitable. Sobering, moving, the depth of Plokhy’s research is effortlessly matched by his skilful narrative control, rendering both the indecision of the politburo and the selfless sacrifice of Chernobyl’s workers palpably real.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2018
‘Plokhy is a master of telling detail… horrifying.’ – The Sunday Times
On the morning of 26 April 1986 Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. The possibility of the entire continent being rendered uninhabitable was immediate and terrifyingly real.
In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy recreates these events in all of their drama. Here are the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, and policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear Armageddon and succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible: extinguishing the nuclear inferno and putting the reactor to sleep.
While it is clear that the immediate cause of the accident was a turbine test gone wrong, Plokhy shows how the deeper roots of Chernobyl lay in the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry.
A poignant, fast paced account of the drama of heroes, perpetrators, and victims, Chernobyl is the definitive history of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 705 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 38 mm
'This history reads like an academic thriller written by Malcolm Gladwell. Plokhy has a knack for making complicated things simple while still profound.' - The Observer
'A lucid account of how the Soviet mania for nuclear power combined with endemic shoddiness in the the industrial sector and near-paranoid habits of state secrecy led to the 1986 distaster.' - FT
'…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.' - The Guardian
'...the first full-scale history of the world's worst nuclear disaster…Plokhy is a master of the telling detail' - The Sunday Times
'An important work that offers a clear-eyed assessment of the disaster and its consequences. . . Plokhy tells the story with great assurance and style, and the majority of his material appears here for the first time in English' - Tobie Mathew, Literary Review
'An ambitious work. . . Plokhy's range, from scene-setting and character-sketching to hard science and political analysis, is near-Tolstoyan. His voice is humane and inflected with nostalgia' - Roland Elliott Brown, Spectator
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