MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL by Higginbotham NOTE: Meeting Online

Fascinating History
Thursday, September 28, 7:00 pm

Fascinating History Book Group meets the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. The book group is led by Shane Cagney from Politics and Prose and meets online--for details please contact bookgroups@politics-prose.com

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster By Adam Higginbotham Cover Image

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (Paperback)

$20.99


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:20am
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
A Time Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Winner

From journalist Adam Higginbotham, the New York Times bestselling “account that reads almost like the script for a movie” (The Wall Street Journal)—a powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history’s worst nuclear disasters.

Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a “riveting, deeply reported reconstruction” (Los Angeles Times) and a definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.

“The most complete and compelling history yet” (The Christian Science Monitor), Higginbotham’s “superb, enthralling, and necessarily terrifying...extraordinary” (The New York Times) book is an indelible portrait of the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
Adam Higginbotham has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, and Smithsonian. He is the author of Midnight in Chernobyl, which was the winner of the William E. Colby Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space. He lives with his family in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9781501134630
ISBN-10: 1501134639
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Pages: 560
Language: English
" Superb, enthralling and necessarily terrifying . . . the accident unfurls with a horrible inevitability. Weaving together the experiences of those who were there that night, Higginbotham marshals the details so meticulously that every step feels spring-loaded with tension. . . . Amid so much rich reporting and scrupulous analysis, some major themes emerge. . . . Higginbotham’s extraordinary book is another advance in the long struggle to fill in some of the gaps, bringing much of what was hidden into the light." —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

"A compelling, panoramic account."The Christian Science Monitor

“An account that reads almost like the script for a movie . . . Mr. Higginbotham has captured the terrible drama.” The Wall Street Journal

"Midnight in Chernobyl is top-notch historical narrative: a tense, fast-paced, engrossing, and revelatory product of more than a decade of research. . . . A stunningly detailed account . . . For all its wealth of information, the work never becomes overwhelming or difficult to follow. Higginbotham humanizes the tale, maintaining a focus on the people involved and the choices, both heroic and not, they made in unimaginable circumstances. This is an essential human tale with global consequences."Booklist, Starred Review

"Written with authority, this superb book reads like a classic disaster story and reveals a Soviet empire on the brink. . . . [A] vivid and exhaustive account.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

"This is a highly detailed, carefully documented, beautifully narrated telling of this breathtakingly complex accident and its mitigation. Higginbotham’s handling of the sociopolitical context is also deft." —Nature

"In fascinating detail, Higginbotham chronicles how the drama played out, showing that Soviet hubris in part led to the accident and Soviet secrecy compounded it." —Newsday

"Midnight in Chernobyl is wonderful and chilling. . . . Adam Higginbotham tells the story of the disaster and its gruesome aftermath with thriller-like flair. . . . It is a tale of hubris and doomed ambition, featuring Communist party bosses and hapless engineers, victims and villains, confusion and cover-up." The Guardian

"More harrowing than any horror movie and more gripping than any thriller. . . Higginbotham creates a history book with the headlong pacing of fiction. . . . Read it to be scared. Read it to be angry. Read it because Higginbotham is a great writer in total control of his material. Just read it. This book will haunt you forever." The Oklahoman

"Highly readable . . . Higginbotham [is] a skilled science writer. . . . Mr. Higginbotham’s book reflects extensive on-the-scene research. . . . Disaster was inevitable, and Mr. Higginbotham vividly describes the futile attempts of engineers to bring a runaway reactor under control." —The Washington Times

“The book reads like an adventure novel, but it’s a richly researched non-fiction work by a brilliant storyteller. . . . Get and read this gripping account to understand why people are still so afraid of nuclear power.” —Skeptic Magazine's Science Salon

“Higginbotham’s scrupulously reported book catalogues the chain of events that occasionally reads as stranger than fiction. The book is more than a gripping history that recounts in great detail events at the reactors; it also offers contextual insights into the Soviet era that help to explain how such a failure could occur. . . . As is the case with many great nonfiction books, it has the urgency and intrigue of the very best thrillers.”  Wired

“Adam Higginbotham's brilliantly well-written Midnight In Chernobyl draws on new sources and original research to illuminate the true story of one of history’s greatest technological failures—and, along with it, the bewildering reality of everyday life during the final years of the Soviet Union.”— Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History and Red Famine: Stalin’s War On Ukraine

“A masterpiece of reporting and storytelling that puts us on the ground for one of the most important events of the twentieth century. Adam Higginbotham opens a world nearly impossible to penetrate, then finds truths inside we weren’t supposed to discover. As readers, we could not hope for a more thrilling and visceral adventure. As citizens of the world, we ignore Midnight in Chernobyl at our peril.”Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers and Rocket Men

“Here is a triumph of investigative reportage, exquisite science writing, and heart-pounding storytelling. With Midnight in Chernobyl, Adam Higginbotham gives us a glimpse of Armageddon, but carries it off with such narrative verve that he somehow makes it entertaining. One thing is assured: After reading this astonishing, terrifying book, you will never think of nuclear power in quite the same way again.” —Hampton Sides, author of In the Kingdom of Ice and On Desperate Ground

MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL by Higginbotham NOTE: Meeting Online

Fascinating History
Tuesday, September 26, 7:00 pm

Fascinating History Book Group meets the Tuesday immediately before the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. The book group is led by Shane Cagney from Politics and Prose and meets online--for details please contact bookgroups@politics-prose.com

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster By Adam Higginbotham Cover Image

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (Paperback)

$20.99


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:20am
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
A Time Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Winner

From journalist Adam Higginbotham, the New York Times bestselling “account that reads almost like the script for a movie” (The Wall Street Journal)—a powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history’s worst nuclear disasters.

Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a “riveting, deeply reported reconstruction” (Los Angeles Times) and a definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.

“The most complete and compelling history yet” (The Christian Science Monitor), Higginbotham’s “superb, enthralling, and necessarily terrifying...extraordinary” (The New York Times) book is an indelible portrait of the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
Adam Higginbotham has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, and Smithsonian. He is the author of Midnight in Chernobyl, which was the winner of the William E. Colby Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space. He lives with his family in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9781501134630
ISBN-10: 1501134639
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Pages: 560
Language: English
" Superb, enthralling and necessarily terrifying . . . the accident unfurls with a horrible inevitability. Weaving together the experiences of those who were there that night, Higginbotham marshals the details so meticulously that every step feels spring-loaded with tension. . . . Amid so much rich reporting and scrupulous analysis, some major themes emerge. . . . Higginbotham’s extraordinary book is another advance in the long struggle to fill in some of the gaps, bringing much of what was hidden into the light." —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

"A compelling, panoramic account."The Christian Science Monitor

“An account that reads almost like the script for a movie . . . Mr. Higginbotham has captured the terrible drama.” The Wall Street Journal

"Midnight in Chernobyl is top-notch historical narrative: a tense, fast-paced, engrossing, and revelatory product of more than a decade of research. . . . A stunningly detailed account . . . For all its wealth of information, the work never becomes overwhelming or difficult to follow. Higginbotham humanizes the tale, maintaining a focus on the people involved and the choices, both heroic and not, they made in unimaginable circumstances. This is an essential human tale with global consequences."Booklist, Starred Review

"Written with authority, this superb book reads like a classic disaster story and reveals a Soviet empire on the brink. . . . [A] vivid and exhaustive account.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

"This is a highly detailed, carefully documented, beautifully narrated telling of this breathtakingly complex accident and its mitigation. Higginbotham’s handling of the sociopolitical context is also deft." —Nature

"In fascinating detail, Higginbotham chronicles how the drama played out, showing that Soviet hubris in part led to the accident and Soviet secrecy compounded it." —Newsday

"Midnight in Chernobyl is wonderful and chilling. . . . Adam Higginbotham tells the story of the disaster and its gruesome aftermath with thriller-like flair. . . . It is a tale of hubris and doomed ambition, featuring Communist party bosses and hapless engineers, victims and villains, confusion and cover-up." The Guardian

"More harrowing than any horror movie and more gripping than any thriller. . . Higginbotham creates a history book with the headlong pacing of fiction. . . . Read it to be scared. Read it to be angry. Read it because Higginbotham is a great writer in total control of his material. Just read it. This book will haunt you forever." The Oklahoman

"Highly readable . . . Higginbotham [is] a skilled science writer. . . . Mr. Higginbotham’s book reflects extensive on-the-scene research. . . . Disaster was inevitable, and Mr. Higginbotham vividly describes the futile attempts of engineers to bring a runaway reactor under control." —The Washington Times

“The book reads like an adventure novel, but it’s a richly researched non-fiction work by a brilliant storyteller. . . . Get and read this gripping account to understand why people are still so afraid of nuclear power.” —Skeptic Magazine's Science Salon

“Higginbotham’s scrupulously reported book catalogues the chain of events that occasionally reads as stranger than fiction. The book is more than a gripping history that recounts in great detail events at the reactors; it also offers contextual insights into the Soviet era that help to explain how such a failure could occur. . . . As is the case with many great nonfiction books, it has the urgency and intrigue of the very best thrillers.”  Wired

“Adam Higginbotham's brilliantly well-written Midnight In Chernobyl draws on new sources and original research to illuminate the true story of one of history’s greatest technological failures—and, along with it, the bewildering reality of everyday life during the final years of the Soviet Union.”— Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History and Red Famine: Stalin’s War On Ukraine

“A masterpiece of reporting and storytelling that puts us on the ground for one of the most important events of the twentieth century. Adam Higginbotham opens a world nearly impossible to penetrate, then finds truths inside we weren’t supposed to discover. As readers, we could not hope for a more thrilling and visceral adventure. As citizens of the world, we ignore Midnight in Chernobyl at our peril.”Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers and Rocket Men

“Here is a triumph of investigative reportage, exquisite science writing, and heart-pounding storytelling. With Midnight in Chernobyl, Adam Higginbotham gives us a glimpse of Armageddon, but carries it off with such narrative verve that he somehow makes it entertaining. One thing is assured: After reading this astonishing, terrifying book, you will never think of nuclear power in quite the same way again.” —Hampton Sides, author of In the Kingdom of Ice and On Desperate Ground

THE GREEK REVOLUTION by Mazower NOTE: Meeting Online

Fascinating History
Thursday, August 24, 7:00 pm

Fascinating History Book Group meets the 4th Thursday each month at 7:00 p.m. The book group is led by Shane Cagney from Politics and Prose and meets online--for details please contact bookgroups@politics-prose.com

The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe By Mark Mazower Cover Image

The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe (Paperback)

$20.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:20am
Politics and Prose at The Wharf (610 Water St SW)
1 on hand, as of Jun 17 2:20pm
Politics and Prose at Union Market (1324 4th Street NE)
1 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:35am
Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize • Named a top history book of the year by The Economist

From one of our leading historians, the definitive history of the Greek War of Independence


The Greek War of Independence was an unlikely cause, a disorganized collection of Greek patriots up against what was still one of the most storied empires in the world, the Ottomans. The revolutionaries needed all the help they could get. And they got it, as Europeans and Americans embraced the idea that the heirs to ancient Greece, the wellspring of Western civilization, were fighting for their freedom against the proverbial Eastern despot, the Turkish sultan.

Mazower does full justice to the more complicated reality on the ground, as a revolutionary conspiracy triggered outright rebellion. By the time the dust settled, Greece was free, and Europe was changed forever. It was a victory fora completely new kind of politics—international in its range and affiliations, popular in its origins, romantic in its sentiments, and radical in its goals. The Greek War of Independence was the first war in which a people claimed liberty for themselves and overthrew an entire empire to attain it, inaugurating a new world of nation-states, the world in which we still live.
Mark Mazower is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University. He is the author of Hitler’s Empire and The Balkans: A Short History, winner of the Wolfson Prize for History, among other books. He lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780143110934
ISBN-10: 0143110934
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2022
Pages: 608
Language: English
“[A] pulsating narrative . . . rich with social history and the luminaries of the age . . . The Greek Revolution causes us to think more deeply about the role of the nation-state in a global context. . . . It is hard to imagine it being surpassed any time soon as the definitive English-language account of the Greek Revolution.” —New York Times Book Review

“[A] superb new history of the rebellion and its broader implications. . . . A compelling story—full of conflicting characters, rivalries, massacres, betrayals, enslavements—all of which [Mazower] narrates with earned authority and exceptional power. . . . He achieves more clarity on this tangled subject than other historians in English have managed before.” —Wall Street Journal

“[A] rich, illuminating, and imposing history of [a] paradigm-shifting conflict . . . . An expert storyteller, Mazower unravels a Gordian knot of local, regional, and international factionalisms.” —Claire Messud, Harper's

“[A]n engaging combination of fast-flowing narrative and insightful analysis.” —Financial Times
 
“Elegant and rigorous . . . [The Greek Revolution] holds lessons for modern geopolitics: about the galvanising effects of violence, the role of foreign intervention and the design flaws in dreams.” —The Economist
 
“Mazower tells the story as it always needed to be told. . . . The Greek Revolution offers the best and fullest explanation, to date, for a series of events whose effects would change the entire geopolitics of Europe. Written with compassion and understanding for the human cost of that achievement, it deserves to remain the standard treatment of the subject in English for many decades to come.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“Mazower contextualizes a major transformation in 19th-century Eastern Europe for readers of European history and provides a solid background of modern Greece for students of ancient history.” —Library Journal

“Broad in scope and colorful in detail, this is a masterful portrait of a historic watershed. . . . [A] sweeping history of Greece’s 1821 war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. [Mazower] recounts the revolution’s inception among Greek emigrés with an idealistic dream of Hellenic nationalism and its actuality as a murky, eight-year struggle fought mainly by peasants and warlords who were motivated less by patriotism than by religious hatred of Muslims, factional vendettas, and mercenary self-interest . . . [A] lucid, elegantly written, and often gripping account.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“On the bicentennial of the Greek revolution, a prominent scholar tracks the historical detail and enormous international significance of the improbable, largely grassroots uprising against the Ottoman Empire. Mazower, a Columbia professor and winner of the Wolfson Prize for History who has written extensively about Greece and the Balkans, ably ties together the many disparate threads of this complex history of Greek independence. . . . An elucidating history that is relevant to understanding the geopolitics of Greece today . . . [The Greek Revolution] will prove indispensable to scholars.” —Kirkus
 
“Mazower has constructed out of all this [new research] an epic narrative, both scholarly, breathlessly page-turning and packed with hauntingly romantic characters. Few historians dig so deep or with such sympathy into what history felt like to those living through it.” —The Tablet


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