Chernobyl 01:23:40 by Andrew Leatherbarrow

Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster by Andrew Leatherbarrow
Michael Page – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 06:24:50
Published October 26th, 2016 by Tantor Audio

At 01:23:40 on April 26th 1986, Alexander Akimov pressed the emergency shutdown button at Chernobyl’s fourth nuclear reactor. It was an act that forced the permanent evacuation of a city, killed thousands and crippled the Soviet Union. The event spawned decades of conflicting, exaggerated and inaccurate stories.

This book, the result of five years of research, presents an accessible but comprehensive account of what really happened. From the desperate fight to prevent a burning reactor core from irradiating eastern Europe, to the self-sacrifice of the heroic men who entered fields of radiation so strong that machines wouldn’t work, to the surprising truth about the legendary ‘Chernobyl divers’, all the way through to the USSR’s final show-trial. The historical narrative is interwoven with a story of the author’s own spontaneous journey to Ukraine’s still-abandoned city of Pripyat and the wider Chernobyl Zone.

Complete with over 45 pages of photographs of modern-day Pripyat and technical diagrams of the power station, Chernobyl 01:23:40 is a fascinating new account of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

My thoughts…

Chernobyl 01:23:40 is focused on the details of nuclear energy, how reactors work, reactor meltdown and the effects of radiation. Many other disasters and accidents are touched upon in this book. There are also arguments in favor of still using nuclear energy and the political aftermath.

The author is also a talented photographer and described in detail the destruction of what was left of Chernobyl when he had the opportunity is visit the area. I’ve always been curious about Chernobyl and viewing his photos are unnerving. Since I listened to the audio version of this book, I went searching for the authors photos of Chernobyl.

If you are a curious reader about Chernobyl disaster and how it happened, I would recommend reading Chernobyl 01:23:40.

I am NOT an affiliate marketer.


  1. This is on my to-review pile, still haven't gotten around to it yet. Though it was an interesting read though. I don't know why Chernobyl is such huge attraction for me, but I try to read any book I can find about it. Maybe it is the whole 'you can look at the remains of the city and see exactly when time stopped' thing. The images never cease being captivating and horrifying.

    1. Yes, I'm also attracted to anything Chernobyl. I do agree with you, time stopped and it's fascinating how that could happen, just pack up and leave.