Crime without Punishment

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ISBN: 978-1-4128-4296-9
Pages: 409
Binding: Hardcover
Publication Date: 07-25-2011
Also available as:
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Long before the tragedy of the 2011 nuclear disasters in Japan, the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl experienced an explosion, meltdown, fire, and massive release of radioactivity. Twenty-five years later, we still know very little about the event and its aftermath. Few of the professional papers describing the aftereffects of the disaster have been translated from Russian into English or distributed in the West. This is now remedied, with the publication of this definitive volume, based on original sources, and originally published in Russian.

Alla A. Yaroshinskaya describes the human side of the disaster, with firsthand accounts by those who lived through the world’s worst public health crisis. Chernobyl: Crime without Punishment is a unique account of events by a reporter who defied the Soviet bureaucracy. The author presents an accurate historical record, with quotations from all the major players in the Chernobyl drama. It also provides unique insight into the final stages of Soviet communism.

Yaroshinskaya describes actions after the disaster: how authorities built a new city for Chernobyl residents but placed it in a highly polluted area. She also details the actions of the nuclear lobby inside and outside the former Soviet Union.

Bringing the book into the twenty-first century, the author reviews the latest medical data on Chernobyl people’s health from the affected countries and from independent investigations; and states why there has been no trial of top officials who covered up Chernobyl and its disastrous consequences.

Editorial Reviews

“The author, a former member of the USSR Congress of Deputies and prominent environmental activist, revisits the April 26, 1986, accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Her book provides a searing indictment of the former Soviet authorities for what she perceives as cover-up and lies following the accident. . . . She outlines how the true impact of the accident—the victims, the radiation fallout, the dangers to civilians, the evacuations, and the clean-up work—was systematically concealed from the public. . . . The reader can only admire Yaroshinskaya’s courage and fortitude. . . . Plainly, Yaroshinskaya has vast knowledge about Chernobyl. . . must has been forgotten, and the author of this book is ideally placed to remind the public of its enormity.”

—David R. Marples, The Russian Review

“Russian journalist Yaroshinskaya has prepared an extensive, thorough account of the tragedy at Chernobyl. She documents a series of misinformation campaigns by the Soviet government to avoid responsibility and deny any wrongdoing in the disaster. The book, translated from the original Russian, is a wealth of personal stories and information on official meetings and conference proceedings that offer insight into Soviet-era politics and decision making. Another strength is that it continues the story into the 21st century and documents the tragedy of government inaction in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus. Millions of people over decades have been lobbying for justice, compensation, and recognition for the people who have suffered as a result of Chernobyl. The disaster still poisons the region. The book serves as both a condemnation of nuclear power and an exposé of government duplicity. It is an invaluable resource for researchers, graduate students, and faculty interested in nuclear power policy, an anatomy of a disaster, or Soviet-era decision making. Summing Up: Highly  recommended. Graduate students and above; general readers.”

—D. Ostergren, Choice

“Alla A. Yaroshinskaya's CHERNOBYL: CRIME WITHOUT PUNISHMENT remedies a long-standing lack in the literature by reprinting original papers from Russian scientists describing the aftermath of the event, and is a 'must' for any collection strong in nuclear disaster analysis. It gathers firsthand accounts from those who lived through the disaster, and comes from a reporter who defied the Soviet bureaucracy to get this information out to the rest of the world. From the nuclear lobby inside and outside the former Soviet Union to government attempts to handle its aftermath, this is a powerful survey for any social issues or nuclear studies collection.”

The Bookwatch

Chernobyl 25 Years Later: Crime Without Punishment is a pick for any college-level collection strong in environmental conservation and Russian studies, and synthesizes the few professional papers translated from Russian into English, going beyond the prior lack of detail to include discussions based on original sources published in Russian. The human effects of the disaster are charted, from accounts by those who lied through it to reporters who defied the Soviet bureaucracy to provide reports. Actions after the disaster chart ongoing snafus and dangers in a title that reviews the latest medical data on Chernobyl people's health and the lasting impact of Chernobyl on the modern world.”

California Bookwatch

“[T]his book is a writer’s journey through the labyrinthine catastrophes of the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown. It explores not only the disaster itself, but the bureaucratic response to it and the difficulty of getting information out to the public.”

Natural Hazards Observer 

"In this powerful condemnation of injustices suffered by Chernobyl victims for the past quarter century, the author provides volumes of the evidence about their suffering – and it is the only kind of evidence we should really need; that is, the stories of the victims and witnesses that reveal the health effects of the world’s worst radiological catastrophe."

—Fukushima Update

“With admirable courage and heroic persistence, the author overcomes strong barriers of government secrecy, lies, and cover-ups to bring to light a story of official arrogance and incompetence, resulting in tragic suffering and death from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  A brilliant book and an essential read for anyone who cares about humanity’s future.”

—David Krieger, president, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA

“We all know what to do in case of a volcano, earthquake, fire or flood! We’ve had eons of negative experiences to help us! But, surviving a nuclear disaster? Alla Yaroshinskaya has given a human face to Chernobyl, not a dry scientific, political, engineering or legalistic text. She is a skilled investigative reporter and front line victim of the disaster. I would rate this book as a must for survival in the nuclear age. Everyone should read it!”

—Dr. Rosalie Bertell, International Institute of Concern for Public Health

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