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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a…
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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (2006)

by Swetlana Alexijewitsch

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3101135,978 (4.5)29
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Heartbreaking. Hard to read, but important to read. Despite the tough subject matter, I read the entire thing in a single day. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in oral histories, the Soviet Union, or disaster aftermath.
  sparemethecensor | Jun 30, 2014 |
......................................

" ...no one knows what Chernobyl is."
.....Valentina Panasevich, wife of a liquidator.

"I used to think I could understand everything and express everything."
........Svetlana Aleksievich, Author

Almost anything I could say would not do this powerful book justice.

It needs to be read.

...................................... ( )
  pajarita | Jan 12, 2013 |
This book collects the words of people whose lives were affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster: People who were evacuated. People who weren't evacuated. People who, seeking refuge from war and having nowhere else to go, moved into contaminated areas abandoned by everyone else. Soldiers who were sent in, inadequately protected, to clean up afterward. Family members of people afflicted by radiation poisoning, or birth defects, or cancer. Scientists who tried to warn people, and one who lives with the shame of having trusted the authorities and looked the other way. There are long, rambling stories and short, bitter outbursts. Some are sophisticated and philosophical, others inarticulately emotional. Many of the most personal narratives are heartbreaking and horrifying, but, taken all together, they also paint an enlightening portrait of what it was like to be a citizen of the Soviet Union in 1986, and of the all too fallible ways in which human beings and human institutions can react to disasters that they don't fully understand. It's a painful book to read, but a very worthwhile one, and the way that Alexievich presents these transcripts, without context or comment, somehow just makes them all the more powerful. ( )
1 vote bragan | Feb 9, 2012 |
This book was fascinating. I have seen pictures and watched television shows on Chernobyl but actually reading the words spoken by true survivors was heart-wrenching. I think that this book is a very vivid glimpse into the lives of the people who actually lived through this time. I'm too young to remember when this happened but it seems like it was something that was hushed up to the world and also to the Russian people themselves. The people who were sent in to deal with the aftermath were completely unprepared for a disaster of that magnitude. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Chernobyl. It's worth the read. ( )
1 vote apsing01 | Jun 5, 2010 |
This was a very good book. Keep in mind that it was not intended to give you the technical details and big picture of what happened. You should probably know something about Chernobyl before reading this book.

This book tells the story through short interviews with different people who experienced many aspects of the aftermath.

A few powerful themes ran through the book:

1. The deeply personal tragedy of lost spouses, children, lovers, friends, and neighbors.

2. The ineptness, corruptness, and cruelty of the Soviet regime. You pick this up through the various interviews.

3. The ordinary heroism of the young men who went to fight the fire or into the Zone to do what they were ordered to do. You always had a sense that these were good people sent in to help. And, as the reader, you know what danger they were getting into.

4. Link to war. In the late 80's there were still a fair number of people who had lived through the horrors of World War II. The similarities were haunting at times, but what struck me was the fact that these people now had another horror to deal with.

5. The strangeness of this tragedy. It is indirectly pointed out that in war, it is pretty clear that bombs are exploding and guns blazing. Here, there is what seems like an ordinary fire, but otherwise, a peaceful place. In the interviews, you hear people of all walks of life talking about all the details of radiation. It starts to sink in that so many people should not have to know about these kinds of things. Especially tragic was the older farmers who simply could not leave the land and had no where to go even if they wanted to get away from the radiation.

This book is touching. ( )
  watson_1 | Mar 20, 2010 |
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"Le 26 avril 1986, à 1 h 23, une série d'expolsions détruisit le réacteur et le bâtiment de la quatrième tranche de la centrale nucléaire de Tchernobyl; Cet accident est devenu la plus grande catastrophe technologique du XXème siècle".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312425848, Paperback)


Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Voices from Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown---from innocent citizens to firefighters to those called in to clean up the disaster---and their stories reveal the fear, anger, and uncertainty with which they still live. Comprised of interviews in monologue form, Voices from Chernobyl is a crucially important work, unforgettable in its emotional power and honesty.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Voices From Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of what happened on April 26, 1986, when the worst nuclear reactor accident in history contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Svetlana Alexievich--a journalist who now suffers from an immune deficiency developed while researching this book--interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown. Their narratives form a crucial document revealing how the government masked the event with deception and denial. Harrowing and unforgettable, Voices From Chernobyl bears witness to a tragedy and its aftermath in a book that is as unforgettable as it is essential.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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