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Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster Paperback – February 4, 2020

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,661 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

" 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 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 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

"More harrowing than any horror movie and more gripping than any thriller. . . Higginbotham creates a history book with the headlong pacing of fiction. . . . Read it to be scared. Read it to be angry. Read it because Higginbotham is a great writer in total control of his material. Just read it. This book will haunt you forever." The Oklahoman

"Highly readable . . . Higginbotham [is] a skilled science writer. . . . Mr. Higginbotham’s book reflects extensive on-the-scene research. . . . Disaster was inevitable, and Mr. Higginbotham vividly describes the futile attempts of engineers to bring a runaway reactor under control." —The Washington Times

“The book reads like an adventure novel, but it’s a richly researched non-fiction work by a brilliant storyteller. . . . Get and read this gripping account to understand why people are still so afraid of nuclear power.” —Skeptic Magazine's Science Salon

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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4.8 out of 5 stars
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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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A. W. Mallatratt
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about the hazards of nuclear power stations.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2019
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Chris Widgery
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account. And reads like a thriller
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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Mr. B. Dent
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2019
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Grasshopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of human and technical tragedy - a real page turner!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2019
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Sir Benedict Godfrey
5.0 out of 5 stars A true tale of disaster
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2019
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Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Factual and highly emotional, a must read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2019
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North Yorkshire
5.0 out of 5 stars Great account of amazing events
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2019
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Mike Wade
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging look at a major event in our planet's history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2019
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Jeremy
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2019
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Rebel Book Club
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful lessons in how - and how not - to prevent, prepare and respond to a crisis.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2020
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