Monday, July 25, 2011

Voices from Chernobyl

I'm not any kind of history know it all, but I do enjoy learning about history.

(slight tangent: my favorite history source right now is The History Chicks. Check them out. subscribe to their podcast and visit their website)

Anyway, back on task. I know enough about history that I can answer a Jeopardy category on most history topics, but that's about it. And my Husband has a BA in History and Political Science and BBWP has an MA in history. So, I'd like to know more.

Recently, Husband has been checking out more nonfiction books out of the library that he thinks I'll enjoy and Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster is the latest one. I actually heard about this one on a recent episode of This American Life and mentioned it'd be a book I'd enjoy digging in to. Weeks later, Husband picked it up.

And I guess enjoy is certainly the wrong word. There was nothing enjoyable about this book. It was hard and dirty and sad and pitiful. But also so moving and powerful.

Before reading this book, all I really knew about Chernobyl was that in April of 1986, a nuclear reactor blew and caused massive amounts of radiation to escape. And really, that's all you need to know to appreciate the book.

Ten years later Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing first responders, their families, evacuees, soldiers called in to help with the "clean up," journalists, teachers, pretty much anyone that would talk to her that had their life impacted due to the explosion and its aftermath.

The stories are so gripping, and moving and sorrowful. By far my two favorite stories are the first and final ones. They are both told by wives who lost their husbands. These were the ones that I reacted to the most, that pulled my heart and made me cry. Probably because I am a wife and have a fear that my husband will die. And these women told their stories so bravely and nakedly.

Anyway, I recommend this book if you're into history and nonfictions. It really is a story that deserves to be remembered.


Lee said...

Jospeh Morton Dennis will be so proud to know you love to learn about history. =)

Mike and I were watching Gene Simmons show the other day, they were in a cemetary in Israel...ahh the memories of slide shows of graves. I started telling Mike about it-he just didn't appreciate it. Guess he had to be there.

Lee said...

Ok my spelling is way off-my fingers were going faster than the keys.