|Manual for Survival : A Chernobyl Guide to the Future
|Introduction: The Survivor's Manual||1||(12)|
|Liquidators at Hospital No. 6||13||(13)|
|Physicists and Physicians||67||(14)|
|Making Sausage of Disaster||99||(9)|
|The Great Chernobyl Acceleration||132||(13)|
|PART IV POST-APOCALYPSE POLITICS|
|The Superpower Self-Help Initiative||177||(6)|
|PART VI SCIENCE ACROSS THE IRON CURTAIN|
|Marie Curie's Fingerprint||216||(9)|
|Thyroid Cancer: The Canary in the Medical Mine||240||(9)|
|PART VII SURVIVAL ARTISTS|
|Conclusion: Berry Picking into the Future||301||(12)|
|Note on Transliteration and Translation||317||(2)|
|List of Archives and Interviews||319||(4)|
Governments and journalists tell us that though Chernobyl was "the worst nuclear disaster in history," a reassuringly small number of people died (44), and nature recovered. Yet, drawing on a decade of fine-grained archival research and interviews in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, Kate Brown uncovers a much more disturbing story-one in which radioactive isotypes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.Scores of Soviet scientists, bureaucrats, and civilians documented stunning increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers, and a multitude of prosaic diseases, which they linked to Chernobyl. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons testing during the Cold War, international scientists and diplomats tried to bury or discredit it. A haunting revelation of how political exigencies shape responses to disaster, Manual for Survival makes clear the irreversible impact on every living thing not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiation from nuclear energy and weaponry.
"Why don't we know more?" That is the haunting question at the heart of Brown's searing account of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which occurred in August 1986. For decades, she observes, scientists have called for a long-term study on the deadly effects of Chernobyl. This is her noble attempt to examine the accident and its devastating medical and environmental consequences. The official story from the Ukrainian government was that "only" 54 men died from acute radioactive poisoning and several thousand children had nonfatal thyroid cancer. But other sources claimed more frightening statistics: in 2005, the UN Chernobyl Forum forecast from 2,000 to 9,000 future cancer deaths; worse, Greenpeace stated that 200,000 people had already died and predicted an additional 93,000 fatalities. Brown's goal was to "substantiate every claim, cross-reference it, and use the archives as my guide." In her exhaustive account of the tragedy, Brown profiles people who responded immediately to the accident and residents who were left behind in the contaminated zones while also exploring the environmental consequences. An important endeavor as this nuclear debacle recedes further into history. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.
An award-winning historian challenges the notion that the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident had few consequences, arguing that the "public health disaster" killed at least 35,000 to 150,000 people and left most adults and children in affected areas sick with cancer, anemia, and other illnesses. In this explosive, exquisitely researched account, Brown (Environmental and Nuclear History/Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County; Plutopia: Nuclear Families in Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters, 2013, etc.) draws on four years of fieldwork in Soviet and other archives—27 total, some previously unvisited—and in towns and farms in contaminated territories to provide a powerful story of the devastating health and environmental effects of radioactive fallout in areas outside the 30-kilometer Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. "The accounts of unspecific, widespread, and chronic illness, reproductive problems, and acute increases in cancer resound like a la ment across the area of Chernobyl fallout," she writes. The official death toll from the exploding nuclear power plant was 54, but there was never any long-term study of health consequences, including the effects of exposure to radiation over time. After interviewing workers, evacuees, and scientists; visiting affected factories, swamp ecosystems, and abandoned towns; and examining transcripts of secret Politburo meetings and other documents, the author concludes that Soviet officials hid the radiation's impact through "secrecy, censorship, counterespionage, and fabricated news." In the face of Soviet "half-truths and bald-faced lies," international scientists nodded agreeably. Like the Soviets, Western officials blamed stress—not radiation—for health issues, out of fear of Chernobyl's implications for other radiation exposures and possible lawsuits. Brown's prose is sometimes technical but largely accessible and even turns poetic when she describes changed lives . She offers horrifying descriptions of the processing of radioactive meat and other foods for shipment to large cities and towns and of the continuing sale abroad of contaminated berries. This sobering book should be read—and studied—by policymakers and citizens; pair with Adam Higginbotham's Midnight in Chernobyl to spark a renewed debate over nuclear power. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.