Five Past Midnight in Bhopal

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9780743220354: Five Past Midnight in Bhopal

A beautifully written human account of the infamous Bhopal chemical accident, from the bestselling author of CITY OF JOY. It was hailed as a miracle. A cheap, effective solution to India's food shortages, the American pesticide, Sevin, promised the world. And Union Carbide's state-of-the-art factory would provide jobs for the thousands of refugees who came from far and wide to the vibrant, teeming city of Bhopal, dreaming of a better life. But at five past midnight on the night of 3 December 1984, a terrible explosion poured noxious fumes into Bhopal's crowded slums. The apocalypse had begun. With pace and compassion, Lapierre and Moro bring this disaster and its victims to centre stage: the young Padmini who is to be married that night; the advent of Union Carbide and its mission to rescue the Third World; a Scottish nun who risks her life to save lost children; and a poetry lover who unleashes the tragedy. They weave together these and many other stories to tell this epic of love and heroism, catastrophe and consequence. Vivid and compelling, FIVE PAST MIDNIGHT IN BHOPAL is an unforgettable tale of courage amid disaster.

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Review:

On the night of December 3, 1984, a cyanide cloud drifted over the streets of Bhopal, India, set loose by a leak in a nearby chemical plant. When the deadly fog lifted untold numbers of the city's residents--perhaps as many as 30,000, by some accounts--lay dead, while half a million others were injured. Dominique Lapierre, a French journalist and longtime champion of India's poor, joins with Spanish writer Javier Moro to recount the terrors of that night, about which the whole truth may never be known. The deaths are but one part of the authors' long, sometimes elaborate tale, which relates how the industrial conglomerate Union Carbide had come to build its vast chemical complex at Bhopal, one meant to be a glory of technology and, ironically, to save thousands of lives brought low by insect-wrought starvation. There are few villains but many heroes in the authors' account, which explores the margins at which good intentions conflict with the profit motive, at which cost-cutting omissions yield horrifically unintended consequences. It all makes for a thoughtful and disturbing book. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

DOMINIQUE LAPIERRE is the author of numerous international bestselling books including IS PARIS BURNING? and CITY OF JOY, several of which have been made into films. A humanitarian and philanthropist, Lapierre and his wife provide sole support for a network of relief programmes throughout India. JAVIER MORO has worked with producers such as Ridley Scott and is the author of THE FOOT OF JAIPUR and THE MOUNTAINS OF BUDDHA.

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Lapierre, Dominique, Moro, Javier
Published by Scribner (2003)
ISBN 10: 0743220358 ISBN 13: 9780743220354
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Lapierre, Dominique; Moro, Javier
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