Despite the TV show and the author’s landmark book, the truth about Chernobyl is still contested
Did it really happen? Was it really so bad? Is it true that they were so unprepared? These are the questions I have heard the past few months in connection with the stunning success of the miniseries Chernobyl. It brought to life the tragedy of people who lived through, were affected by and, yes, caused the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
My book Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, published in May 2018, one year before the broadcast of the miniseries, tells the story of the disaster on the basis of recently released archival documents, which I checked against people’s diaries, memoirs and interviews. Thus, on the factual level, I can provide some answers to the accuracy of the miniseries. But inquiries I’ve received in the past few months also made me think about the bigger question of what is true in our current understanding of the Chernobyl disaster, its causes, development and consequences.