SCIENCES

Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future

Norton. Mar. 2019. 384p. notes. index. ISBN 9780393652512. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393652529. NAT HIST
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OrangeReviewStarAward-winning author Brown (history, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore Cty.; A Biography of No Place) writes a new history of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster that begins with text from the first survival manual ever issued to a population after a nuclear incident. The author's research then uncovers terrible truths that the official account of the disaster chose to ignore. Using archival records and interviews with those living in Ukraine and Belarus, Brown explores the environmental devastation that resulted from the incident. International scientists who wanted to promote the safety of nuclear energy deliberately downplayed the danger to the people still living in the Chernobyl area and to the flora and fauna in that region. For example, the official record states that only 44 people died as a result of the tragedy. Brown's research shows the actual death toll from radioactive isotopes to be in the hundreds of thousands, and engaging and accessible writing makes for a page-turning read.
VERDICT This important work should be read by those concerned about the environmental impacts of nuclear energy and climate change. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/18.]

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