The sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is seen behind a building decorated with a graffiti in the abandoned city of Prypiat, April 4, 2011.
Gleb Garanich / Reuters

On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear reactor accident occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine, which contaminated as much as 75 percent of Europe. Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich conducted interviews with hundreds of people affected by the nuclear meltdown. Her interview subjects include firefighters, liquidators (the term given to members of Chernobyl's cleanup team that risked their lives inside the contaminated reactor), politicians, doctors, physicists and everyday citizens in the decade that followd the accident. Alexievich's powerful narratives are woven together to provide a glimpse into how life was irreparably changed by the meltdown, and provides vignettes of survivors carrying on in the

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.