Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich
Svetlana spent years collecting these stories of all the people affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, giving voice to the people the officials tried so hard to quiet. This book was very eye opening to me, I thought i knew what had happened, one of those things…yah…Chernobyl…horrible disaster, but I really had no idea. When I actually thought about it I had no clue what country it actually happened in (the plant was near the town of Pripyat on the border of the Ukraine and Belarus). My mind was reeling the entire time from the details of the disaster and the lasting effects. This was organized in a series of almost short stories or vignettes of the people involved. There was stories from the wives of the firemen who put out the fire at the plant and died two weeks later from the effects. The soldiers who were tricked into cleaning up. The farmers who were forced to leave their homes and didn’t quite understand why. Those who have found refuge from their war torn countries in the safety of the radioactive zone because no one else wants to be there. Stories of how the refugees were treated with fear by others as they fled for safety. The long reaching effects of couples exposed to the radiation being told not to have children. The confusion of misinformation provided by the government and the lengths they went to hide the truth. This book gave a face to the disaster and really presented the scope of the tragedy. This was a difficult but important read.