The gripping story of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union from an acclaimed historian and writer
On the morning of 26 April 1986 Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. The outburst put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation. In the end, less than five percent of the reactor's fuel escaped, but that was enough to contaminate over half of Europe with radioactive fallout.
In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy recreates these events in all of their drama, telling the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, and policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear Armageddon and succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible: extinguishing the nuclear inferno and putting the reactor to sleep. While it is clear that the immediate cause of the accident was a turbine test gone wrong, Plokhy shows how the deeper roots of Chernobyl lay in the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry. A little more than five years later, the Soviet Union would fall apart, destroyed from within by its unsustainable communist ideology and the dysfunctional managerial and economic systems laid bare in the wake of the disaster.
A poignant, fast paced account of the drama of heroes, perpetrators, and victims, Chernobyl is the definitive history of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
An astonishingly wide-ranging history of Russian nationalism chronicling Russia's yearning for Empire and how it has affected its politics for centuries
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this violation of national sovereignty was in fact only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation. In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the merging of imperialism and nationalism in Russia today by delving into its history.
Spanning over two thousand years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin have exploited existing forms of identity, warfare and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy. A strikingly ambitious book, Lost Kingdom chronicles the long and belligerent history of Russia's empire and nation-building quest.
'An indispensable guide to the tragic history of a great European nation' (David Blair Sunday Telegraph)
Located at the western edge of the Eurasian steppe, Ukraine has long been the meeting place of empires - Roman to Ottoman, Habsburg to Russian - and they all left their imprint on the landscape, the language and the people living within these shifting borders. In this authoritative book, Harvard Professor Serhii Plokhy traces the history of Ukraine from the arrival of the Vikings in the tenth century to the current Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Fascinating and multilayered, The Gates of Europe is the essential guide to understanding not just Ukraine's past but also its future.