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  • Midnight in Chernobyl

  • The Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
  • By: Adam Higginbotham
  • Narrated by: Jacques Roy
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (580 ratings)

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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Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than 10 years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs and documents from recently declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life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

What listeners say about Midnight in Chernobyl

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

8 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

Great on technical detail, and the Human stories behind this disaster. Well balanced, both in the failings of the Soviet System, its Nuclear program, and the risks of Nuclear power.

1 person found this helpful

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Required Reading

If you're interested in watching the new Chernobyl TV programme, watch this first.
Excellent writing and difficult concepts underpinning nuclear power described well without being patronising.

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a rare glimpse into the heart of catastrophe

from Stuart to finish it reads like a thriller only history teaches us it's not fiction , informative without preaching it rolls across the story gently and comfortably

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Essential.

The t.v show may have peaked your interest, but this book is like finding shoah after watching Schindler's list. Absolutely first rate.

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Great account of what went on.

A riveting listen from end to end that captures what went on at Chernobyl. It’s written in a way the science is understood and establishment exposed all while keeping the unfortunate people at all levels who were involved in the disaster centre most. An excellent book that I will certainly be listening to again.

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So much to learn

I learnt so much, was frequently horrified, mind boggled. If the subject interests you you won’t be disappointed. It manages to be all things, scientific, emotional, educational, humane and shocking.

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Shocking, eye opening, thought provoking

can i say I loved it? It was gripping, horrific, tense, crazy, cringe worthy at times, brilliantly researched. Emotive, moving, factual but understandable. I struggled to keep on top of who was who but that's not the books fault. The ignorance, pig headedness and arrogance of the leaders. I thought I knew what happened but this opened my eyes far far wider. thank you. sensitively and beautifully narrated too.

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  • Ross
  • 17-03-19

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mackenzie
  • 24-12-19

Non-stop anti-USSR propaganda

10 per cent fact, 90 per cent fiction how this became a NY Times best book mystifies me. I could not get to the reactor blowing before abandoning this ridiculous account of a major nuclear accident. Much detail (fiction) on the corruption and governing style of the Soviets; sparse verified fact.