8 books to read about the Chernobyl disaster – recommended by Craig Mazin, creator of the TV series

Jun 06, 2019 | Posted by Cristina in Articles

You probably heard about Chernobyl, the popular five-part TV miniseries from HBO and Sky Television about the nuclear disaster with the same name, that occurred on April 26, 1986, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, Ukraine.

The final episode aired (err. streamed?) this week and, right afterwards, its creator Craig Mazin shared on Twitter the books he used as a resource, those he found fascinating and useful – a sort of bibliography for the TV series.

You can see them all below, together with his blurbs. Do note that some of them might be hard to find, as they haven’t been in print for many years.

Mazin is the creator, writer and executive producer of Chernobyl, and he’s been a professional screenwriter for 20 years, working in all genres. If you’re curious to learn even more about how the TV series was created and the differences between the real life accident, check out The Chernobyl Podcast, a podcast Mazin co-hosted.

Chernobyl TV series bibliography:

1. “Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices From Chernobyl. Absolutely essential, and heartbreaking, reading. There’s a reason Ms. Alexievich has a Nobel Prize.” (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich)

2. Andrew’s book is a fantastic combination of travelogue and historic and scientific recounting of the Chernobyl disaster, and I found it incredibly helpful. Plus… he’s a great guy! Buy this one!” (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster, by Andrew Leatherbarrow)

3. ABLAZE is a very well-done book from a Western historical perspective. As with a number of the books I read, it’s a bit outdated simply because of when it was written, but it’s an excellent recounting.” (Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl, by Piers Paul Read)

4. The Truth About Chernobyl is essential reading from a Soviet physicist’s perspective… and Grigori Medvedev had his boots on the ground. An excellent combination of historic recounting and clear science.” (Truth About Chernobyl, by Grigori Medvedev)

5. The Legacy of Chernobyl is also good for an additional perspective from the inside.” (The Legacy of Chernobyl, by Zhores Medvedev)

6. Chernobyl: A Documentary Story by Iurii Scherbak has some amazing stuff from a Ukrainian and Soviet perspective, including some remarkable exchanges with Legasov himself.” (Chernobyl: A Documentary Story, by Iurii Shcherbak)

7 & 8. “Two others worth considering (although they are often hard to find) that rounded out my library…
Chernobyl: Insight from the Inside by VM Chernousenko
Chernobyl Record by RF Mould”
(Chernobyl: Insight from the Inside, by Vladimir M. Chernousenko, and Chernobyl Record: The Definitive History of the Chernobyl Catastrophe, by R.F Mould)

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