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  • Published: 15 May 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241349038
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

Chernobyl

History of a Tragedy




The gripping story of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union from an acclaimed historian and writer

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 outburst put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation. In the end, less than five percent of the reactor's fuel escaped, but that was enough to contaminate over half of Europe with radioactive fallout.

In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy recreates these events in all of their drama, telling 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 little more than five years later, the Soviet Union would fall apart, destroyed from within by its unsustainable communist ideology and the dysfunctional managerial and economic systems laid bare in the wake of the disaster.

A moving, moment by moment account of the drama of heroes, perpetrators, and victims, Chernobyl is the definitive history of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

  • Published: 15 May 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241349038
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the author

Serhii Plokhy

Serhii Plokhy is Professor of History at Harvard University and a leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history. His books include the Baillie Gifford award-winner Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, Nuclear Folly, The Gates of Europe and The Last Empire.

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Praise for Chernobyl

[Praise for The Gates of Europe]: Clear and elegant. . . an indispensable guide to the tragic history of a great European nation

David Blair, Sunday Telegraph

[Praise for The Gates of Europe] Compelling and outstanding. . . The Gates of Europe combines scholarly authority with narrative flair

Simon Sebag Montefiore

[Praise for The Last Empire]: Incisive. . . Plokhy's vibrant, fast-paced narrative style captures the story superbly

Sunday Times

A meticulous account of the disaster - and how the Soviet authorities tried to cover it up. . . A worthy winner of this year's Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction

Robbie Millen, The Times Books of the Year

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