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I saw Midnight in Chernobyl at a bookstore over the weekend and it looked interesting (esp. since I’ve been rewatching Chernobyl on HBO — even better than I remember). Has anyone read this? Is it good?

Discussion  11 comments

David Greenfield

it's great and even more terrifying than the miniseries. the miniseries did a very good job adhering to the book, but you read the book and wonder- how did they get all of this detail??

Matthew Blair

I didn't watch the series, but highly recommend the book, an absolute standout!

Daniel Copeland

I listened to it last year and found it very compelling and well written.

Alana Cloutier

I watched the first 15 minutes of the miniseries and decided that there was no way it was going to be as good as the book.

David H

I read it while I had very young kids and found it difficult to put down for much-needed sleep.

Matthew Battles

I think the miniseries relied on Svetlana Alexievich's Voices from Chernobyl (also called Chernobyl Prayer in English), whose novelistic renderings of oral histories from local residents inspired many of the subplots in the show (and contributed to her 2015 Nobel win for lit). Kate Brown's Manual for Survival: a Chernobyl Guide to the Future also matters here. I haven't read the Higginbotham book—gotta do!

Brendan Simons Edited

Haven't read Midnight yet, but I agree the Chernobyl mini series is *so good*.

I have read "Producing Power" by Sonja Schmid. The drama isn't as urgent as a story of the Unit 4 explosion, but it's a really really good history of the forces which guided the Soviet nuclear power program to rapidly expand (and ignore problems with) the RBMK design:

Todd Lemoine

In the excellent companion podcast for the show, Craig Mazin mentions Voices from Chernobyl a couple of times. I checked it out once and can recommend it, too. The first-person accounts are chilling.

Meg Hourihan

HUGE thank you to the folks in this thread who recommended the "Midnight in Chernobyl" book. I hadn't watched the miniseries yet, and was able to grab this at my local library. It's absolutely fantastic, I'm learning so much, though it's making it hard for me to sleep at night!

Ben Ezzell

"Midnight at Chernobyl" is fantastic, a really stellar companion to "Chernobyl". I listened to the podcast that HBO produced alongside the tv show, and the showrunner mentioned at one point that he read the book after production (or maybe towards the end thereof), and wished that it had been published early enough to be useful for the show because it really is great.

I also recommend Higginbotham's new book about the Challenger disaster that was published earlier this year.

Meg Hourihan

Oooh Challenger?! I'm in! Thanks for the pointer.

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