Andrew is rather fond of looking for beauty in places few would ever call "beautiful." His appreciation for the earth and interest in how we are destroying it converge in this book as he travels to some of the nastiest places that we humans have made.
We visit Chernobyl, as the title states, but also places in China, Brazil, Canada, America and India. We see what our lust for oil, our need for electricity and for cheap products has resulted in. He even joins the crew of a ship and searches with them for the great trash dump in the ocean. It's not a little unsettling, to think about how truly ruinous our actions can be to this planet - but Andrew doesn't shove that in our face. He uses a rather light, humourous touch to gently guide us around, to help us see how sometimes things aren't even quite as bad as our imaginations have made them out to be, while showing us what a real human experience in those places is like. There IS beauty. There are people that live there, their whole lives, and even feel HAPPY.
It took me longer to read than I'd thought when I started - the last section really dragged for me and was rather disgusting. The Chernobyl part was fascinating and I liked the writing style for the most part. As much as it is about the earth, it's also about its people, especially the ones living and interacting in these polluted places. I enjoyed his way of telling the story, his adventures really were quite funny sometimes. If nothing else, I have come away a more aware person, and I think that matters.