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Chernobyl

History of a Tragedy
Written by: Serhii Plokhy
Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy, read by Leighton Pugh.   

Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize.  

The gripping story of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, from an acclaimed historian and writer.

On the morning of 26 April 1986, Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. The outburst put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation. In the end, less than 5 percent of the reactor's fuel escaped, but that was enough to contaminate over half of Europe with radioactive fallout.   

In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy re-creates these events in all of their drama, telling the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers and policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear Armageddon and succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible: extinguishing the nuclear inferno and putting the reactor to sleep. While it is clear that the immediate cause of the accident was a turbine test gone wrong, Plokhy shows how the deeper roots of Chernobyl lay in the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry. A little more than five years later, the Soviet Union would fall apart, destroyed from within by its unsustainable communist ideology and the dysfunctional managerial and economic systems laid bare in the wake of the disaster. 

A poignant, fast-paced account of the drama of heroes, perpetrators and victims, Chernobyl is the definitive history of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

©2019 Serhii Plokhy (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"An insightful and important book, that often reads like a good thriller, and that exposes the danger of mixing powerful technology with irresponsible politics." (Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

"As moving as it is painstakingly researched...a cracking read." (Viv Groskop, Observer)

What members say

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An eye opener of nuclear disaster

Serhii Plokhy's book : A superb rendition of the story of nuclear disaster in retrospect. To reconstruct the turnaround of events requires determination, effort, understanding of the language, history, culture, economics, society, collecting hidden info, interviewing people, putting in the right perspective, and of course, the message to the world. Needs to be read and re-read. Narration by Leighton Pugh, a class of it's own, which adds new dimension to the story.

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  • Dave
  • 28-05-19

Excellent

The narration here is really good. The narrators pace and voice is perfect for the subject matter.
It may not be the most in depth history of the Chernobyl disaster but its the only one I've read and I found it read like a novel more so than a history book. The book serves as a lesson in what we could have learned and a warning in what we continue to refuse to learn. Well worth a read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon Francis
  • 19-02-19

Intriguing right to the end

Incredibly well researched and presented account of a tragic but fascinating period of history.
Great thought and detail has gone into writing this and I enjoyed it right to the end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ginny Irvine
  • 07-04-19

The facts, the people and their sacrifice.

Well researched, history and the story of people that lost their lives to save others.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • C Vernon
  • 07-02-19

Fascinating

I already knew a fair bit about the technology and accident itself. This book contains an excellent, if a little light on technical details, account. What was new and most interesting to me was the description of the political framework it all occurred in.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-19

best ever!

the best account of the tragedy and aftermath of chernobyl ive read. couldnt stop listening.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-19

Irritating pronunciation

Nuclear, not nucular. Occasionally Mr Pugh got it right, and sometimes a strange mix of the two. Otherwise detailed and interesting and well read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sausages
  • 26-07-19

Good but terrible pronunciation

Great audiobook, except for the fact the narrator pronounces ‘Nuclear’ as ‘Nucular’, every single time. VERY ANNOYING

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Interested in Books
  • 06-06-19

Great book, but...

You had one job.

There are many people who can’t pronounce the word nuclear, and instead say something that sounds a bit like newkiller.

No big deal in day to day life, but maybe when you choose someone to read a book about a nuclear energy disaster, and have to hear it MISPRONOUNCED EVERY THIRTY SECONDS...

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 23-05-19

Great story

Well researched and well told,especially on the political and plant management sides.

Some disappointing scientific inaccuracies. Nothing major and they don’t affect the story, but wouldn’t have been difficult to correct. EG mixing fusion and fission, power and energy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Angus
  • 28-04-19

A crystal clear retelling. .

Shocking and haunting, the author and reader keep the emotions low, and the impact high. Recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful