- Audio CD: 1 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged AUDIO edition (February 12, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1508278539
- ISBN-13: 978-1508278535
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 672 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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''A definitive book. Adam Higginbotham has written a wonderful and chilling account...with thriller-like flair.'' --Luke Harding, #1 New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Adam Higginbotham writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, Businessweek, Smithsonian, Men's Journal, and The Atavist. He began his career in magazines and newspapers in London, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Face and a contributing editor at The Sunday Telegraph. The author of Midnight in Chernobyl, he lives in New York City.
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The author offers, as well, background into the flaws in the design of the RBMK graphite-moderated boiler water reactor. He examines the corrupt and labyrinthine system of managing nuclear power in the USSR. While this is a superb work of journalism, it also holds the intrigue of a murder mystery. Who really was responsible? What really happened? Was it design error or operator error? The author makes this a very enlightening journey inside the minds of Soviet and Ukrainian leaders and scientists, as well as inside the broken lives of the workers who operated the plant and lived in nearby Pripyat.
Mr. Higginbotham makes a credible case for the fact that the Chernobyl disaster and its lingering aftershocks were the catalysts that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Glasnost and Perestroika were not able to overcome the inertia of a Soviet machine that did not know how to tell the truth to its people or to the world at large. That lack of candor became as toxic for the Soviet state as the radioactive debris from Chernobyl became for those in the path of the fallout.
I had a very personal;interest in this story. In 1992, I was part of a UN group that toured the Chernobyl complex, the village of Pripyat, and several hospitals in Kiev that were treating hundreds of victims of chronic radiation poisoning. Many of them were suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a host of other diseases. When we arrived at Chernobyl, we were taken to a visitors' center where we were show a 1:6 scale model of the Chernobyl complex. The official guide proceeded to give this UN group a speech about the wonderful safety history of Soviet nuclear power. "Of course, there was this one small incident that the world tries to blow out of proportion," At that time, one of the remaining reactors was still functioning, ,and we were taken to the control room, mere yards from the notorious sarcophagus that had been built to bury the debris of the core of Reactor Number Four. The engineers operating the plant were smoking, and ashes from their cigarettes fell onto the dials of the instruments that told them the status of the reactor and the turbines. It was clear that not many safety lessons had been learned from the worst nuclear accident in history.
This is a story with many villains and some remarkable heroes. Add to the list of heroes Mr. Higginbotham, whose yeoman work in uncovering facts and truths about Chernobyl will help the world to make more informed choices about the future of nuclear energy. This is a book that should be read by anyone with an interest in energy, the history of the Soviet Union, and the forces that shape history.
The author brilliantly details the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident that started out to be a safety check intended to simulate a blackout power-failure. Through a combination of reactor design flaws and operators not complying with a test checklist, uncontrolled nuclear reactions caused several steam explosions and an open-air graphite fire. Airborne plumes of radioactive fission products were distributed into parts of the USSR and other European countries for many days.
Two deaths occurred at the facility during the accident, 28 firefighters and other employees died of acute radiation sickness shortly afterward, and fourteen cancer deaths of 134 hospitalized survivors followed in the next ten years. It is estimated that, over the long term, several thousand additional cancer deaths will be attributed to the incident’s byproducts. Billions of dollars will be expended to mitigate the damage that has occurred, both to humans and the environment.
Secrecy and falsehoods by the USSR are evident throughout the account. It is also apparent that accidents at nuclear plants occur frequently, most of which are relatively innocuous considering the potential. Because nations will never want to admit being the cause of any worldwide disaster, secrecy will probably continue to accompany nuclear mishaps by any government, a scary thought.
Higginbottham’s research is immaculate, his comments and conclusions are well founded, and his writing is impeccable. The author has skillfully avoided fustian sentimentality, the scourge of investigative reporting, but still presents crackling prose that was a magnetic attraction for this reader.
The official Politburo verdict blames the disaster on gross breaches of regulations by operators whose “irresponsibility, negligence, and indiscipline led to grave consequences.” The report lists the ministers who were dismissed and/or expelled from the Communist Party and states that court proceedings will follow. However, the author goes on to reveal that there’s much more to the incident.
Higginbotham has uncovered the reality of the nightmare of nuclear disaster and makes it obvious that more tragedies might be expected. The potential is so real that every proposal for dangerous enterprises, regardless of purpose or stated invulnerability, must be carefully vetted and reviewed by knowledgeable and unbiased sources. A thoughtful study of “Midnight in Chernobyl” is certainly a prudent exercise in gaining such awareness.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES