Medvedev gives a detailed and insightful account of the events of the 26th April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and it's surrounding area. He explains clearly some of the reasons why the accident happened, in terms of both the immediate operation of the reactor prior to the explosion and the political and psychological anticedents to the accident which go back some years. He relates, first-hand, the experiences of many people who were there at the time, giving his work an immediacy and a reality which is both shocking and deeply absorbing to read. The courage of the fire-fighters and the operational staff who gave their lives to save colleagues and prevent the accident from becoming far, far worse shines through his work.
When I bought this book I though it would be heavy going but interesting. I have found, however, that it has been completely 'unputdownable'. The writing itself is lucid, clear and sometimes impassioned. I am left with a detailed understanding of what went on over in Chernobyl that night and the following days and a strong impression of both the floored system for running power plants under the Soviet regime and the tremendous courage, strength and optimism of many of the people themselves.