CHERNOBYL: The Forbidden Truth by Alla Yaroshinskaya, translated by Michele Kahn & Julia Sallabank (Bison Books: $10, 136 pp.; illustrated, paperback original). As the old Soviet regime crumbled, reporter Alla Yaroshinskaya was able to investigate the extent of the 1986 nuclear disaster. She discovered a government cover-up of horrifying facts: 300 times more cesium-137 was released than at Hiroshima, the number of people hospitalized for radiation sickness far exceeded the official reports, thousands of Soviet citizens were exposed to contaminated food and land. The principal victims were children, who continue to suffer from elevated rates of leukemia and other cancers, cataracts, thyroid and auto-immune problems. Yaroshinskaya's report exposes the danger the jerry-built nuclear plants in the former Soviet Union pose to the world.