Synopses & Reviews
Glenn Cheney arrived in Kiev during those first days when the Soviet Union ceased to exist and Ukraine was reborn. Almost immediately he found himself talking with scientist, journalist, refugees, engineers, top-level government officials, doctors, environmentalists, parents of sick children and people living just a few kilometers from the Chernobyl complex. He heard stories about the disaster that went far beyond what had appeared in the Western press. The reports of atrocities, epidemics, tyrannyand dispair blend with a most unsual travelogue, considerable humor and KGB intrigue.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1991, Cheney, who teaches writing at Connecticut College, went to Ukraine to learn the circumstances of the world's deadliest nuclear accident and to interview the people who were affected by it. In this brief, informal report, this self-appointed investigator describes his travel adventures (with an expired visa) and his encounters with officials and victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe. Cheney made a daring visit to the nuclear ghost town of Propyat, originally built for Chernobyl's workers, and relates how they were forced to abandon their homes and possessions to escape the effects of nuclear radiation. The statistics are not yet confirmed, but evidence Cheney gathered indicates that at least 8000 people died as a result of the meltdown, with another 30,000 presently suffering from diseases related to radiation. His poignant account humanizes the events of April 26, 1986, at Chernobyl. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Cheney (composition, Connecticut Coll.) traveled to Russia and Ukraine on a UN-sponsored mission in December 1991, at the time the USSR formally split apart. The ensuing confusion made it easier for him to come and go as he pleased and to talk freely with persons near Chernobyl who were eager to share their experiences of the 1986 explosion and their fears for their futures. Neither a nuclear nor a Soviet expert, he discerns no pattern among these stories except a probable government cover-up; his evidence for this allegation is nothing new. Even the medical personnel he interviewed admitted that the health problems they saw could have been caused as much by poverty, malnutrition, and alcohol abuse as by radiation exposure. At times Cheney's primary interest in describing his arduous travels causes his focus to drift from the effects of radiation exposure on the populace. Not recommended. [For another account, see Alla Yaroshinskaya's Chernobyl, reviewed on p. 204.?Ed.] ?Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York.
- Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A useful and affecting look at the aftermath of a disaster we are only now beginning to understand." — Kirkus Review
"His observations about life in the former Soviet Union in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster are vivid, insightful and thought-provoking."
- U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman
Paperback edition with a new introduction by the author.
The name Chernobyl is now etched forever into human history. It was the scene of a man-made disaster, the full implications of which are still not known. Exactly what happened on April 26, 1986, remains a mystery. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the people of Ukraine were free at last to talk about what they knew. Glenn Cheney‹who has traveled widely‹spent more than six weeks in the Chernobyl area, arriving in Kiev during those first days when Ukraine became independent. From almost his very first day, he talked with scientists, journalists, refugees, engineers, top-level government officials, doctors, environmentalists, parents of sick children and people living just a few kilometers from the Chernobyl complex. He heard stories about the disaster that went far beyond what was reported in the Western press: the terrifying evacuation of Pripyat, a nearby city; bureaucratic bungling, falsification and destruction of data; the dangers of ³Chernobyl AIDS² that may be indirectly killing thousands of people; and the inevitability of future accidents. This is a look at Chernobyl from a unique perspective: reports of atrocities, epidemics, tyranny and despair blend with a most unusual travelogue, including close relationships and even KGB intrigue.
Cheney¹s very simple, very human voice alternately exudes humor and horror. The total effect is of an unpretentious person peering into an abyss of death and corruption.
About the Author
Glenn Cheney is also the author of more than fifteen works of non-fiction and fiction, including: They Never Knew: The Victims of Nuclear Testing (1996); Nuclear Proliferation: Problems and Possibilities (1998), and Journey on the Estrada Real: Encounters in the Mountains of Brazil (2003). He lives in Connecticut with his wife.