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Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl [Kindle Edition]

Mary Mycio
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.99
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Product Description


"The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the water became wormwood, and many men died from the water for it was made bitter". Revelation 8-10"

Product Description

When a titanic explosion ripped through the Number Four reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in 1986, spewing flames and chunks of burning, radioactive material into the atmosphere, one of our worst nightmares came true. As the news gradually seeped out of the USSR and the extent of the disaster was realized, it became clear how horribly wrong things had gone. Dozens died--two from the explosion and many more from radiation illness during the following months--while scores of additional victims came down with acute radiation sickness. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated from the most contaminated areas. The prognosis for Chernobyl and its environs--succinctly dubbed the Zone of Alienation--was grim.

Today, 20 years after the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, intrepid journalist Mary Mycio dons dosimeter and camouflage protective gear to explore the world’s most infamous radioactive wilderness. As she tours the Zone to report on the disaster’s long-term effects on its human, faunal, and floral inhabitants, she meets pockets of defiant local residents who have remained behind to survive and make a life in the Zone. And she is shocked to discover that the area surrounding Chernobyl has become Europe’s largest wildlife sanctuary, a flourishing--at times unearthly--wilderness teeming with large animals and a variety of birds, many of them members of rare and endangered species. Like the forests, fields, and swamps of their unexpectedly inviting habitat, both the people and the animals are all radioactive. Cesium-137 is packed in their muscles and strontium-90 in their bones. But quite astonishingly, they are also thriving.

If fears of the Apocalypse and a lifeless, barren radioactive future have been constant companions of the nuclear age, Chernobyl now shows us a different view of the future. A vivid blend of reportage, popular science, and illuminating encounters that explode the myths of Chernobyl with facts that are at once beautiful and horrible, Wormwood Forest brings a remarkable land--and its people and animals--to life to tell a unique story of science, surprise and suspense.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1086 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Joseph Henry Press (29 Aug. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004R9Q1LC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #450,653 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, left me wanting more 1 Sept. 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Wormwood Forest" may well change the way you think about man's destructive impact on the world.
As a book, it reads like the sequel to a book that gives detailed account of the accident itself Such as "Ablaze- the Story of Chernobyl" by Piers Paul Reid.
My only minor frustration was the small number of B/W illustrations. Some higher quality maps and colour photos would have really helped illuminate the vivid descriptive passages in the text. The author does have a good website with suitable pictures which you can easily print out and use as a book-mark though.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this volume; it's thoughtful, insightful and inspiring. Many readers will value the myth-dispelling chapters (there is a lot of nonsense out there about Chernobyl); conclusions from her discoveries leave us feeling optimistic about the natural world's future. For all these reasons, it deserves a very high recommendation indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life goes on! 13 Aug. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A eminently readable layman's introduction to the "Zone of Exclusion". Explains the phenomena of the transport of radioactive materials through the various strata of the biosphere in some detail (a process which is highly complex and unclear; students in biology take note - there is enough to do for a series of PhDs) and does not fall into the trap of equating human tragedy with environmental destruction. Life goes on, evolution and adaption don't stop, even if lifespans are shortened and DNA gets cracked by burst of energy. A fold-out map would have been useful. But then again, one can use Google Maps, which has everything in glorious detail (with tourist's photograph of wild horses, too!)

Infinitely better than "Chernobyl: The Hidden Legacy" which is basically a dreary wallowing in pity and modern-age conspirational fingerpointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - an outstanding book 13 Aug. 2013
By Paul
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am on my second read of this excellent book. The author brings together the facts and outcome of this disaster in a very readable way. I am sure I will be able to read this again and again and still be entertained by it. The area has been on my bucket list for a number of years, and one day I am sure I will visit.
The book should appeal to anyone interested in the disaster itself, and those that are interested in how mother nature will always prosper despite the challenges.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Amazing first hand investigation into the wildlife around chernobyl. There's nothing like hearing someone who's actually been there and seen it all for herself!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Indecision 11 Aug. 2012
This IS an outstanding personal issue [and i emphasise it is personal, with no demerit on the author's fine effort]is that the author cannot decide what kind of book it wants to be: travelogue, memoir, natural history [belies the title], scientific paper, parable. It tries to be all and unsatisfactorily for the reader it is none of the above. I will be deliberately vague here: I have family who were directly involved in this tragedy; Chernobyl needs to be taught as an object lesson in modernity throughout the world (by goodness, if we cannot learn from this then we deserved to be damned). This book is a sampler, a disorganised overture. We need the sypathetic symphony. Facinating but flawed.
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