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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a…

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (original 1997; edition 2006)

by Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen (Translator)

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1,0004212,778 (4.35)156
Title:Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Authors:Svetlana Alexievich
Other authors:Keith Gessen (Translator)
Info:Picador (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich (1997)


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» See also 156 mentions

English (37)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Uno de los libros más tristes que he leído. Cada historia tiene una forma distinta de ser desgarradora y terrible. Los coros y coros de gente le dibujan al lector con sus experiencias personales el fin de una era y de una potencia mundial. Chernóbil queda como un símbolo de nuestro afán de modernidad rebelándose en nuestra contra y evidenciándonos como seres fallidos. Buena prosa, simple y directa, muy comunicativa. Algunos dicen no estar de acuerdo con las ideas políticas de la autora, y es muy válido, pero no por eso hay que despreciar su trabajo literario y periodístico. Así como pasó con Solzhenitzin, no siempre es bueno tener razón antes de tiempo, y aún no ha transcurrido el tiempo suficiente para saber si pasará lo mismo con Alexeievich. Por mientras, lo mejor es leer su obra y discutirla. ( )
  LeoOrozco | Feb 26, 2019 |
Wow - first book of the year, and a solid 5-star read. April 26, 1986 was when the world changed, when Chernobyl blew up, the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history. Alexievich chronicles this event through interviews with the people affected, with a preface covering the salient facts about the incident and its effects: clean-up workers sent in without any protection to 'clean-up' the site; families of military personnel sent to the site to try to contain it before it ran-away and caused a much worse catastrophe; families evacuated from the hot zone; people who refused to leave the hot zone; people continuing to live and work the contaminated land; Communist party leaders; atomic physicists and other nuclear experts; children. Powerful and disturbing. ( )
  LisaMorr | Jan 19, 2019 |
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.
  JRCornell | Dec 8, 2018 |
This book was really hard to get through. Some of it makes no sense because of the damage the people have suffered to their bodies and brains and the rest is just depressing to read. It is well put together and I can see the appeal for some, but it wasn't really what I expected from this book. I was kind of disappointed to be honest. ( )
  dms12880 | Nov 29, 2018 |
Astonishing and alarming things are in this book, eg did you know that many, many highly radioactive things - from fur coats to heavy machinery - were smuggled out of the Chernobyl zone? Then there are appalling accounts of the soldiers sent to clean up the reactor with no real protective gear, knowing they would likely die but doing it anyway. And the regular people who lived around the reactor the day it blew and were abruptly forced to leave their homes and lives behind forever.

There are so many shocking, maddening, devastating stories packed into this little book. It’s not an easy read but what people went through, what happened in Chernobyl, needs to be known and remembered. ( )
  EnidaV | Sep 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Svetlana Alexievichprimary authorall editionscalculated
Björkegren, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gessen, KeithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important places
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We are air: we are not earth

Merab Mamardashvili
First words
(Prologue) I don't know what I should talk about -about death or about love?
On 26 April 1986, at 01:23 hours and 58 seconds, a series of blasts brought down Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, near the Belarusian border. (some historical background)
I don't know what to tell you about. (A lone human voice)
From materials published in Belarusian newspapers in 2005
… Kiev travel agency offers tourist trips to Chernobyl (In place of an epilogue)
Don't write about the wonders of Soviet heroism. They existed—and they really were wonders. But first there had to be incompetence, negligence, and only after those did you get wonders: covering the embrasure, throwing yourself in front of a machine gun. But that those orders should never have been, that there shouldn't have been any need, no one writes about that. They flung us there, like sand onto the reactor. Every day they'd put out a new "Action Update": "men are working courageously and selflessly," "we will survive and triumph."

They gave me a medal and one thousand rubles.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
"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".
The devastating history of the Chernobyl disaster by Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the Nobel prize in literature 2015

- A new translation by Anna Gunin and Arch Tait based on the updated and expanded text -

On 26 April 1986, at 1.23am, a series of explosions shook the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Flames lit up the sky and radiation escaped to contaminate the land and poison the people for years to come. While officials tried to hush up the accident, Svetlana Alexievich spent years collecting testimonies from survivors - clean-up workers, residents, firefighters, resettlers, widows, orphans - crafting their voices into a haunting oral history of fear, anger and uncertainty, but also dark humour and love. A chronicle of the past and a warning for our nuclear future, Chernobyl Prayer shows what it is like to bear witness, and remember in a world that wants you to forget. [Amazon.co.uk]
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:37 -0400)

(see all 4 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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