“The bard of biological weapons capturesthe drama of the front lines.”-Richard Danzig, former secretary of the navyThe first major bioterror...more
“The bard of biological weapons capturesthe drama of the front lines.”-Richard Danzig, former secretary of the navyThe first major bioterror event in the United States-the anthrax attacks in October 2001-was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the U.S. biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox-and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers-at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.From the Hardcover edition. less
The fact of truth being scarier than fiction is epitomized by this book. This is a incrediby quick read, I couldn't put it down. It is a must read for all scientists in general, as it reveals the mostly "hidden" science regarding viruses and bacteria that have the potential to test human species existence.
I had to read it for school. It's definitely a read for those who are interested in the medical field. It's intensely interesting, but equally morbid. Read at your own risk. I would not suggest this for those of you with weak stomachs.
From the author of The Hot Zone (about ebola)
Like horror stories? Read this.
It isn't fiction; it's the true story of nations storing bio weapons. Some of these agents make the plague look like a resort and health spa. God forbid anyone every uses these.
Preston presents history that reads like a screenplay. Whoever thought being a scientist could be so exciting. Learn about the people working hard to keep us from extinction at the hands of the world's deadliest viruses.
An accounting of the near-vanquishing of Smallpox. Descriptions of infection are, well, terrifying, as only Preston can achieve.
Sadly, Smallpox isn't fully vanquished, as the sections dealing with WMD and the 2001 anthrax attacks attest.