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Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Although the endemic secrecy of the now-former Soviet Union kept the 1986 catastrophe at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station shrouded in mystery, the name Chernobyl remains worldwide shorthand for irrevocable disaster. Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s decades-in-the-making investigation into the story reveals previously unknown details about the accident and its aftermath. Making use of extensive sources, ranging from unpublished memoirs to historical archives, Higginbotham maps out the ignored warning signs and their unprecedented fallout. Compelling even when it’s dealing with hardcore physics concepts, this cautionary tale will remain a must-read as long as nuclear power plants are part of the worldwide energy debate.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Suspenseful and Enlightening — A Great Read!
As soon as I finished this book, I couldn't wait to go back and re-read parts of it. This is a totally engaging read. I see that some reviewers found it too technical; I didn't think that was the case at all, and I don't even have a science background. In fact, I was inspired to dig into Wikipedia and learn more about nuclear reactors, isotopes, radioactivity ... you name it. This is one of the best non-fiction works I've read in a good while. You won't want to put it down!