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Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl
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Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The bestselling author of Blaze presents a heart-pounding account of the world's greatest nuclear disaster, based on sources not available before the fall of the Soviet Union. Read's enthralling account is filled with acts of courage--and also bumbling confusion, secrecy, lies, and coverups. Read spent many months in Russia interviewing hundreds of survivors and experts. P ...more
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published April 19th 1993 by Random House (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 287)
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Tanja Berg
Nov 30, 2014 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book in 1994 or 1995. It was very useful for a school project in the spring of 1995. I was in Finland when the Chernobyl accident happened in the mid 80's. It was frightening and the news speculative because the Soviets would not admit anything at first. In comparison this book is very sober, lucid and informative. Recommended!
Meg - A Bookish Affair
This book was definitely interesting. I didn't know much about the Chernobyl accident. One of my friends who is getting ready to go into the Peace Corps in Ukraine recommended the book to me. What was most interesting to me is that so much of the aftermath of the accident was totally mishandled because of the government that was in place at the time (Remember, this still happened under the Soviet Union). I wonder how much of the damage of the town and the sickness of the people could have been p ...more
Feb 12, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing
According to Soviet authorities, the Chernobyl accident claimed only 31 lives. Piers Paul Read cites a projection that "Chernobyl will ultimately claim more victims than did World War II." (Twenty million Soviets were killed during World War II.) After reading this detailed look about nuclear radiation and Soviet truth-dodging, I'm thinking the projection may be closer to the truth.

Another interesting comparative statistic from the book: Three Mile Island released 15 curies of radioactive Iodine
Oct 31, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
I finally gave this back to the library 'cause it was overdue (not that the TCL is very stringent with their fines). (I'm a big supporter.) It's a fairly good book, and I'd have been interested to see what Read had to say about the effect of Chernobyl on the future of the nuclear power industry. In fact, I'm still interested enough to maybe check the book out again. I got a little bogged down in the middle, where he was talking about the legal aftermath in the USSR and the health and agriculture ...more
Dave Mccormick
Jan 09, 2015 Dave Mccormick rated it really liked it
A pretty thorough account of the Chernobyl disaster and it's direct impact in causing the breakup of the Soviet Union. The first half of the book, which covers the history of nuclear power in the Soviet Union through the accident and the immediate aftermath, is very compelling. The second half isn't quite as good but offers quite a lot to think about. I think that Ablaze is the most balanced of the books that I have read about Chernobyl and Piers Paul Read doesn't offer up an easy scapegoat - wh ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Christopher rated it liked it
I wanted to know about both the technical aspects of the Chernobyl disaster and the human aspects in terms of how the meltdown occurred and how it was dealt with in the more or less immediate aftermath. The title of this book certainly suggested that it would fit the bill, but while parts of it were interesting, I was disappointed overall. First, the technical side isn't explained very clearly, and the author seemed not to have much interest in those details. The actual test that resulted in the ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok
If you've never read anything about Chernobyl, this book will tell you a great deal. There are real-life villains and real-life heroes, and Read interviewed both. But this book was also very obviously written in a huge hurry- Read clearly wanted to be the first to come out with a Western account of the 1986 nuclear disaster after the USSR dissolved. There are typos on (literally) almost every page, there are no footnotes, and no explanation at the end of the book which of the interviews the jack ...more
Alessandro Argenti
E' senza ombra di dubbio un libro eccellente per quanto riguarda la documentazione storica e tecnica relativa al disastro nucleare a Chernobyl, di sicuro il più completo che abbia letto. Viene tutto spiegato in modo dettagliatissimo, senza però far uso di terminologie che appesentirebbero la lettura. Devo altresì dire però che tutto questo si esaurisce non appena la ricostruzione dell'incidente è terminata, ovvero a metà libro, perchè la restante parte tratta le conseguenze dell'accaduto da un p ...more
Jul 06, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
The part about the actual accident of the RMBK reactor was fascinating, and to my pleasant surprise, PPR detailed how the accident at Chernobyl helped contribute to the fall of the USSR. Fascinating.
Nov 13, 2014 Baldurian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica
Un bel saggio che affronta il disastro di Chernoby non trattando semplicemente i fatti dell'incidente ma considerando le ricadute economiche, politiche e sociali degli anni successivi.
Mark Maguire
Oct 09, 2014 Mark Maguire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vivid; and terrifying account of the environmental, and political costs of one of the World's most serious nuclear disasters.
Apr 25, 2016 Shrenik rated it really liked it
The cataclysmic events at Chernobyl are examined in detail and analysed from different perspectives. A complex story lucidly.
Jan 10, 2010 Marilyn rated it really liked it
This book took me a while to get through, but I enjoyed the ride.One drawback was the many characters to keep track of, with beautiful but difficult to remember Russian names; the author does inclues a cast of characters at the beginning of the book. At times it dragged, but for the most part it was a good read and I learned a lot. The book encompasses the whole story, not only about the actual Chernobyl disaster, but events leading up to it, and all that went what wrong with the communist syste ...more
Mary Jo
Oct 23, 2012 Mary Jo rated it it was amazing
This was the most in-depth, thorough account and study of the Chernobyl accident I have ever read. The author explored the history and culture of the country and how they related to the accident and the reactions to the accident. It's a long book but well worth the time to read it.
Jamie Schoffman
Mar 25, 2013 Jamie Schoffman rated it it was ok
Great topic, but it feels like this book was rushed. Way too many typos for any book, let alone one published by Random House. Love this author, I thought Alive was a phenomenal book, but this one falls short.
Jul 27, 2007 Koshenka rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ayone interested in the story of Chernobyl
It not only gives you the facts of the tragedy that occured at Chernobyl, it gives you a glimpse of what life was like for people during the Soviet era. If you're interested in this subject at all, read it.
Bob Findlay
Mar 24, 2012 Bob Findlay rated it it was amazing
I was in Europe,staioned in Lahr when this happened.. This is the best accounting of the disaster. I thouroughly reccomend this book.
Jan 30, 2014 Patty rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
nonfiction history of the building of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and story of the explosion
Jul 08, 2007 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: general
This is the sad horrifying story of the world's worst ever nuclear disaster.Well woth a read.
Apr 03, 2009 Bridget rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
This book was strangely not as interesting as it should have been.
Jessie Lorenz
Aug 10, 2014 Jessie Lorenz rated it it was amazing
Fiercely compelling story.
Apr 10, 2008 Cws added it
Brooke marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Ls7780 marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Cameron Delaforce
Cameron Delaforce rated it really liked it
Jun 08, 2016
Jude marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2016
April Haugen
April Haugen marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2016
Daniel marked it as to-read
May 31, 2016
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British novelist and non-fiction writer. Educated at the Benedictines' Ampleforth College, and subsequently entered St John's College, University of Cambridge where he received his BA and MA (history). Artist-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in Berlin (1963-4), Harkness Fellow, Commonwealth Fund, New York (1967-8), member of the Council of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1971-5), member of ...more
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