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Midnight in Chernobyl

The Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Narrated by: Jacques Roy
Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)
Non-member price: $36.45
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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham.

The dramatic untold story of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, based on original reporting and new archival research.

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 30 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 not only its own citizens but all of humanity. 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Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than 10 years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs and documents from recently declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life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 20th 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.

©2019 Adam Higginbotham (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Ross
  • 17-03-2019

Well researched and well written

A terrific narration ..and the topic was covered without recourse to ideology or persuasion. makes me want to visit the site

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie Cowan
  • 09-04-2019

Amazing!

I visited Chernobyl in November 2017 having put around ten years of work into researching the disaster, though after visiting, I felt I'd learnt everything I could and it felt like the end of the road.

With the new HBO series due for release, my interest was suddenly revamped, and I checked for books on Chernobyl and this one popped up.
I feel like I've learned so much more from this book as it puts more of a personal turn on things, and even had a few shocking moments when they mention where someones flat was and I thought "Oh my god, I remember walking by that exact one!"

The first while might be a bit dry of you're only interested in the thrill of the disaster as it covers the history of nuclear power and the Soviet nuclear power programme, but I 100% encourage you to muscle through it as this book is easily one of, if not actually the best I've read!

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  • David
  • 19-02-2019

Great explanation of events

Brilliant book slightly dodgy pronunciation of some words such as bitumen and collate that gets more annoying each time you hear it.

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  • lisasarcy
  • 19-05-2019

Makes the subject accessible

I’m not a science person, so any book that can cover a lot of scientific ground pretty much from start to finish without losing me is a winner.

This is a well presented look at the background, the history, the politics, the science, and the people involved.

It covers the stories of various individuals, managing to make you care, but never overstepping the line into being sentimental or sensational about deaths.

The narration is very good. A little fast, given the amount of unfamiliar names and the science involved, but still very clear and well performed.

This is the only book on the subject I’ve read, so I really don’t know how accurate it is. But if you are looking for a good overview of the story rather than a definitive work, then I can absolutely recommend it.

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  • R
  • 18-05-2019

How fragile we are

The detail in this book is outstanding and gives a very concise picture of the political doctrine of those in control over the various organs of state to the point that socialism dogma was taken in belief above physics and proven science. The bravery of those at the scene of the disaster is so well recorded and is balanced against the political process that the state applied to every element of the event. When it was realised that the world was waking up to what Russia was trying to hide the game was up
The aftermath of the event was so well presented in all aspects from the technical, environmental, social,economic, as well as the different levels from state down through the various starters of society to the family's and even the individuals.
A brilliant work that gives great insight into the both the Herod and villans the lies the corruption at all levels and how it was the start of the fall of the political system in Russia and the break up of the state and independence of Belarus and Ukraine.
Narrated brilliantly with good pronunciations the book works so well at many levels. Would recommend this book if only to show how close we came to destroying a huge part of Europe out of ignorance and stupidity and 30 years we are still paying the price. The auteur a
Adam Higinbotham is to be congratulated.

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  • MR A S W FARRIMOND
  • 16-05-2019

Great

Visited Chernobyl and Pripyat and just had to find out more. Great book and really well narrated. A little tough to follow with the soviet names, but that’s my problem.

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  • Andrew Medley
  • 16-05-2019

Brilliant

Riveting from start to finish - highly recommend - Devastating detail and the reader sets the perfect tone

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  • Peadar Murphy
  • 14-05-2019

Gripping narrative of one of the disasters of the 20th century

This is a detailed yet accessible account of the Chernobyl disaster - how a nuclear power plant was built there, the culture and politics that sowed the seeds of the disaster and then the heroic, but often mis-guided efforts to contain the disaster - both environmentally and politically. The story also goes into many tales of people who worked the disaster and their spouses - all which brings the human dimension of the disaster to life in a poignant but balanced way. My one challenge with this title is that the narrator reads quite quickly at the start (I’m a native English speaker) and I found all the Russian/Ukranian names a little daunting. Other than that, this title was an education and gave me a new and more balanced understanding of what happened in Chernobyl.

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  • David Abbott
  • 08-04-2019

Excellent reporting of how things actually went.

Excellent reporting of how things actually went that night at Chernobyl. You will not find better amongst the literature based on what went on a Chernobyl in 1986. I thoroughly recommend it.

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  • Charlie Wilson
  • 03-04-2019

A fascinating and well researched book

The author was able to explain the factual details about the disaster while telling a story which keeps you engaged throughout.

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  • A. Veres
  • 16-03-2019

Essential

This narrative by Adam Higginbotham is fascinating. What it does well is contextualise each situation so you have an immediate grasp of the gravity and impact of each turn of events in this unique and indelible point in history. The story of the Chernobyl disaster is engrossing in itself, but it is also multi-faceted and extensively detailed, so this exhaustively researched and meticulous but succinct approach works well. It picks out the most notable details, explores them from the most relevant angles and moves on.

The narration by Jacques Roy is at first soft and off-putting, but ultimately suits the narrative very well. It isn't overly emphasised for drama, and this sensitive approach renders the more harrowing sequences of the disaster's consequences more palatable for the listener. This is also the respectful approach the subject matter deserves, given the impact of the disaster on generations of people.

It's worth noting that this narrative is also well up-to-date, including as it does the most recent developments in the accountability of the people involved in the disaster and the technology that is being developed today. There are likely more exhaustive documents on all minute details of the Chernobyl disaster, but few that cover all the relevant aspects from such an objective perspective and with such efficiency. Comes highly recommended.