Midnight in Chernobyl: The Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
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 thirty 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 its citizens and the entire world. 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 Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to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.
Note on translation and transliteration. Maps. Cast of characters. Epilogue. Author’s note. Glossary. Further information about measuring radiation. Source notes. Bibliography. Index. Black-and-white photo inserts.
JLG Release: Jul 2019
Awards & Honors
2020 Carnegie Medal Finalist
2019 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Publishers Weekly, Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews*
9" x 6"
Level 0; Points: 0;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 0; Points: 0;
Simon & Schuster (Adult)
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Strong language, Suicide, Clinical description of radiation-related injuries
History of Russia and the former Soviet Union, Nuclear power plants, Radiation, Disasters, Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station,