Daniel Fierman
November 02, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
William J. Broad, Stephen Engelberg, Judith Miller
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A

”We remain woefully unprepared for a calamity that would be unlike any this country has ever experienced.” That’s the last line of Germs, and by the time you get there, the point has been chillingly made by a trio of New York Times journalists. From the birth of bio-weapons to the now-obvious danger of their use in terrorism, this slim, readable book clearly demonstrates why these instruments of mass destruction are considered the poor man’s atom bomb — cheaply constructed and undeniably lethal. The names pop — Anthrax, Marburg, Ebola, Plague — but the tone is measured, highlighting risks (the proliferation of Soviet-trained bio-weapons experts- for-hire is particularly troubling) and rarely straying into alarmism. The result is a revealing piece of work that pulses with danger and grim prognostication.

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