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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

by Keith Gessen Svetlana Alexievich

On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Although the Soviet government claims that only 31 people died as a result, the aftermath of the event is astounding. Over 485 villages are lost, and approximately 2.1 million people (including 700,000 children) live on contaminated land. There is no official record of how many thousands have died, but thousands of children have been born with catastrophic birth defects. Countless others suffer ongoing health problems resulting from their exposure to radiation.

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