A Journey Through the Nuclear Age, From the Atom Bomb to Radioactive Waste

Fred Pearce

Published: 7 June 2018
Trade Paperback, Royal PB
153x234mm, 268 pages
ISBN: 9781846276255


At a moment when a new generation of power stations and weapons are being developed, Fallout is a measured and fascinating exploration of our most misunderstood energy source and asks: what can we learn from our past mistakes, and what role should nuclear play in our future?

Hiroshima. Bikini Atoll. Windscale. Chernobyl. Fukushima. These names no longer denote a place, but a disaster. In a few syllables, they evoke the heights of human ingenuity clashing with the worst of human error. Individually, each place has its own sobering story to tell; together, they form a timeline of the nuclear age. In this compelling and deeply researched book, Fred Pearce investigates the greatest nuclear incidents and accidents of the past 80 years by visiting their now iconic landscapes. He tours former power stations and abandoned testing sites in the company of scientists and engineers; and in toxic wastelands, where radioactive wolves now stalk the streets , he witnesses the surprising resilience of nature.

As well as the radiological legacy, Pearce also considers the psychological impact of these disasters. Amid rumours of state cover-ups, corporate deception, and hushed-up medical epidemics, Pearce expertly weighs the evidence on either side of the argument to disentangle the facts from the fear and reveal the truth about radiation.

About the author

Image of Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce is an award-winning journalist and author, reporting from 87 countries. He is the environment consultant of New Scientist magazine, a regular broadcaster and contributor to the Guardian, Washington Post and others. He has written fourteen books on environmental and development issues, translated into 24 languages. Fallout is his first book for Portobello. More about the author


‘An extraordinary and necessary investigation of humanity's brief but alarming relationship with atomic power from Britain's distinguished/ veteran reporter. This is an illuminating tale of horrifying hubris, hidden catastrophes and indefensible experiments, which raises profound questions about our post-carbon energy future’



‘Fred Pearce takes you on an extraordinary first-person odyssey through the nuclear world we now live in, whether we like it or not. By turns thoughtful and hair-raising, this is a vivid, immediate travelogue of places most people dare not enter’

‘This tour de force by Fred Pearce takes the reader on a riveting journey through nuclear installations and radioactive landscapes around the world... The author's penetrating political eye and sober scientific gaze combine to reveal the many reasons, including toxic legacies of fear and deception, that it's time to call an end to the nuclear age. Read this book as if the future depended on itBetsy Hartmann

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