Midnight in Chernobyl Book Review

Goodreads Summary: April 25, 1986, in Chernobyl, was a turning point in world history. The disaster not only changed the world’s perception of nuclear power and the science that spawned it, but also our understanding of the planet’s delicate ecology. With the images of the abandoned homes and playgrounds beyond the barbed wire of the 30-kilometer Exclusion Zone, the rusting graveyards of contaminated trucks and helicopters, the farmland lashed with black rain, the event fixed for all time the notion of radiation as an invisible killer.

Chernobyl was also a key event in the destruction of the Soviet Union, and, with it, the United States’ victory in the Cold War. For Moscow, it was a political and financial catastrophe as much as an environmental and scientific one. With a total cost of 18 billion rubles—at the time equivalent to $18 billion—Chernobyl bankrupted an already teetering economy and revealed to its population a state built upon a pillar of lies.

The full story of the events that started that night in the control room of Reactor No.4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant has never been told—until now. Through two decades of reporting, new archival information, and firsthand interviews with witnesses, journalist Adam Higginbotham tells the full dramatic story, including Alexander Akimov and Anatoli Dyatlov, who represented the best and worst of Soviet life; denizens of a vanished world of secret policemen, internal passports, food lines, and heroic self-sacrifice for the Motherland. Midnight in Chernobyl, award-worthy nonfiction that reads like sci-fi, shows not only the final epic struggle of a dying empire but also the story of individual heroism and desperate, ingenious technical improvisation joining forces against a new kind of enemy.

Thoughts: This book is my introduction to the events of Chernobyl, I am not too big on history so I don’t know much that isn’t taught in the history books. I thought that learning about this event was so fascinating and this book made me want to learn more about this and any other radiation events.

I tried to read the physical version of this book and I am so glad that an audio book version exists. Most non-fiction books if they have anything to do with STEM will catch my attention but they are hard for me to follow. The audio book version of this book made things easier for me and made this book enjoyable.

I really enjoyed how the book opened with the building of this plant and talked to you about the science behind everything before the explosion happens. I really enjoyed how descriptive this book was and how you could see what was happening as you listened to this book.

Something else that I found fascinating was hearing everyone’s individual stories and how invested these scientists were in this project. It was sad to see how people attempted to hide the reality of this event and why it happened. These stories and the reality of this event makes it a lot more devastating and I think it makes the results of this event much more frustrating.

While the results of this plant exploding were terrifying, they made me want to learn more about what exposure to radiation can do to people over time.

I recommend this to you who enjoy learning about historical events around the world or those who enjoy STEM non-fiction books. You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.