Top positive review
51 people found this helpful
What your taxes help to pay for.
on August 9, 2005
I found this to be one of the most engaging and astounding books I have ever read. The author tells the story of Plum Island, an island of the coast of Long Island on which was located a US government laboratory that ran secret experiments of various viruses, bacteria, and other microbial agents. Superficially owned by the USDA, its stated purpose was to help US agriculture by studying the different diseases that could afflict livestock, and come up with vaccines or cures for them. The real purpose of the lab was to study those diseases to see if and how they could be weaponized for use against the livestock of other countries in a war, specifically the Soviet Union.
The experiments that went on at Plum Island began during the 1940s and continued through the 1990's. During this time, Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, Ebola, and other diseases were imported here from various geographies and countries to be studied. The author speculates that many of these diseases accidentally got out and of the island, and spread to the local wildlife and then to the human population. The causes of these mishaps range from human error, technical failures of various kinds, and the occasional hurricane.
The author does a good job of covering the science that went on at this lab, along with the politics and secrecy involved, such as Congressional oversight, lawsuits from various NGO's, and conflicts with the local media and governments. This is a great book to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about where your tax money goes to.