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Date & Time

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
6:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Free and open to the public

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Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


*This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule in the coming months.**

“A magisterial blend of historical research, investigative journalism and poetic awe-inspiring journey.” — Economist

CEERES of Voices presents Kate Brown on "Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future." She will be joined in conversation by Joseph Masco.

Presented in partnership with CEERES, the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies at the University of Chicago.

At the Co-op

About the book: The official death toll of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, ‘the worst nuclear disaster in history’, is a reassuringly small number (44), and stories today commonly suggest that nature in the Exclusion Zone is thriving. Yet award-winning historian Kate Brown uncovers a much more disturbing story, one in which radioactive isotopes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, and the magnitude of this human and ecological catastrophe has been actively suppressed.

Based on a decade of archival and on-the-ground research, "Manual for Survival" is a gripping exposé of the consequences of nuclear radiation in the wake of Chernobyl – and the plot to cover up the truth. As Brown discovers, Soviet scientists, bureaucrats, and civilians documented stunning increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers and a multitude of more prosaic but still life-altering diseases. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons-testing during the Cold War, scientists and diplomats from international organizations, including the UN, tried to bury or discredit it. Yet Brown also encounters many everyday heroes, often women, who fought to bring attention to the ballooning health disaster, and adapt to life in a post-nuclear landscape, where dangerously radioactive agricultural produce and distorted trees still persist today.

An astonishing historical detective story, "Manual for Survival" makes clear the irreversible impact on every living thing, not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiation from nuclear energy and weaponry around the world.==

About the author: Kate Brown is Professor of History in the Science, Technology and Society Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of the prize-winning histories "Plutopia: Nuclear Families in Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters" (Oxford 2013) and "A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland" (Harvard 2004). Brown was a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Her work has also been supported by the Carnegie Foundation, the NEH, ACLS, IREX, and the American Academy of Berlin, among others. Her latest book, "Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future" was published March 2019 by