Book look: the nuclear nightmare

The devastating Chernobyl catastrophe was a turning point for society, economy and politics. The effects of the reactor four detonation of 26 April 1986 are now documented by a 1collection of gripping photographs.

Gerd Ludwig has worked for the National Geographic for more than 25 years. The award-winning lensman not only took pictures of the destructed power plant. He also documented the deserted exclusion zone, traumatised children, wounded workers and elderly residents who returned to their hometowns a few years after the tragedy. Mikhail Gorbachev, the creator of Perestroika and Glasnost, contributed two pages of introductory words for “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl”.

The 250-page book – which features informative texts in German, English and French – was named Best Photography Book at the Pictures of the Year Award 2014. The renowned retired Russian politician speaks of a “horrible lesson” we learned. He also mentions the poor information politics in the Soviet Union, the continuing danger caused by the existence of nuclear weapons and the economic effects of the disaster. Thousands of Europeans died from thyroid cancer and other diseases since the detonation. Between 1,000 and 1,600 Austrians lost the battle against thyroid cancer and other diseases linked with the radioactive fallout.

The Long Shadow of Chernobyl (Der lange Schatten von Tschernobyl)
By Gerd Ludwig and Mikhail Gorbachev
Published by Edition Lammerhuber (

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