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There’s more to know about the Chernobyl disaster

HBO miniseries “Chernobyl”
A scene from HBO’s miniseries “Chernobyl.”
(HBO)

Numerous books and films over the past 30 years have covered the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath. Here are a few worth checking out.

On the page

“Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,” by Adam Higginbotham: Exhaustively researched and critically acclaimed history of the event. The Times called it “a riveting, deeply reported reconstruction.”

“Voices From Chernobyl,” by Svetlana Alexievich: The Nobel Prize winner in literature puts together an oral history, told by the people who were there.

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“Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe,” by Serhii Plokhy: A Ukrainian historian weighs in on the disaster. Called “gripping” by the Wall Street Journal.

“Chernobyl: 01:23:40,” by Andrew Leatherbarrow: Another in-depth look at the event, which “Chernobyl” series writer Craig Mazin found “incredibly helpful.”

“The Truth About Chernobyl,” by Grigori Medvedev: The chief engineer at the construction of the Chernobyl plant, who was an investigator after the accident, gives an account of the accident and its aftermath. An “invaluable” work, said Publishers Weekly.

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On the Screen

“Chernobyl Heart,” a short subject Oscar winner in 2004, looks at children born after the event who have deteriorating heart conditions.

“The Battle of Chernobyl,” a 2006 film, details how the disaster happened, and the Soviet attempts to cover up and downplay it.

“Chernobyl 3828,” a short Ukrainian documentary about the containment efforts following the meltdown.

“Pripyat,” a 1999 documentary about people who elected to stay in the title city after it was rendered a virtual ghost town by the meltdown.

And, for something completely different, “Stalker”: This 1979 film from Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky predated the disaster by seven years, but its tale of the title character, a guide who leads people into the Zone, an enigmatic post-apocalyptic landscape, seems eerily prescient. If nothing else, its visuals of the Zone look like they were shot in post-disaster Chernobyl.


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