• Chernobyl

  • History of a Tragedy
  • By: Serhii Plokhy
  • Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
  • Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Chernobyl  By  cover art

Chernobyl

By: Serhii Plokhy
Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
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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 Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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 listeners say about Chernobyl

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  • 09-04-20

Soviet meltdown

The power and social structures in the last years of the Soviet Union revealed by the Chernobyl disaster at local and state level. Dysfunctional, brutal, mendacious, shoddy and often inept but capable of mobilizing heroes such as the hapless firefighters who kick fragments of graphite rods from the roof of the exploded reactor with their boots, the engineers themselves, more aware of the often fatal consequences of their improvised and generally ill-conceived efforts to control the situation, and the hundreds of thousands of "liquidators" who followed them.
A gripping story and an excellent performance by the reader, although half the reviewers seem obsessed by his pronunciation of the word "nuclear" (I didn't notice anything strange about it).

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