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Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster Hardcover – February 12, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 5,245 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

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" 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

"There has been much reporting about the disaster, but no book has so ably and artfully captured the whole story of what happened that night and in the months and years that followed. With meticulous details, careful research and a gripping narrative, Midnight in Chernobyl is a must-read about nuclear power and the end of the Soviet Union." —Time

"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

About the Author

Adam Higginbotham writes for The New YorkerThe New York Times MagazineWiredGQ, and Smithsonian. The author of Midnight in Chernobyl, he lives in New York City.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Illustrated edition (February 12, 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 560 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1501134612
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1501134616
  • Item Weight : 1.9 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 5,245 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
5,245 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life, death, and an epic tale of nuclear disaster
By Andrew R Marshall on February 17, 2019
This is a gripping and enthralling read: a wild ride through a nuclear disaster and the desperate attempts of the men and women who tried to prevent it becoming something far worse. Higginbotham has a great turn of phrase, a grip on the material - but most of all, a sense that this a real story about real people. If you go into this seeing it as a story of nuclear physics and the failure of the Soviet Union, you’ll come out realizing that’s only part of the story. The men who fought the fires after the first explosion, the woman mayor who tried to save her town, the families who watched loved ones suffer from radiation sickness - this is about life and death. The story also tells us something about how politicians and officials struggled to manage - even deny - the truth, but the scale of the disaster escaped them. It’s a great read.
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Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2019
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CBS
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 26, 2019
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David Watson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best account
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2019
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Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight to the world's worst, and worst-managed nuclear catastrophe
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2019
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Mark Shackelford
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very scary
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 16, 2019
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JM- Uk
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 25, 2019
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