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Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans Paperback – December 22, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0415928359 ISBN-10: 0415928354 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (December 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415928354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415928359
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #994,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Between 1949 and 1969, the U.S. Army conducted over 200 "field tests" as part of its biological warfare research program, releasing infectious bacterial agents in cities across the U.S. without informing residents of the exposed areas, Moreno reveals in this chilling, meticulously documented casebook. A professor of biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia, Moreno (Arguing Euthanasia) served on a ClintonAappointed advisory committee that blew the lid off the government's secret radiation experiments from WWII through the mid-1970s, which involved the injection of unwitting human volunteers with plutonium, uranium and other radioactive substances. His disturbing new book partly overlaps with Eileen Welsome's The Plutonium Files (Forecasts, Aug. 2), though Moreno's survey extends furtherAfrom Walter Reed's turn-of-the-century yellow fever research to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study; from army and air force mind control experiments (1950--1975) involving ingestion of LSD and incapacitating chemicals by thousands of subjects, often without their consent, to the compulsory vaccination of Gulf War GIs with botulism toxin vaccine not approved by the FDA that may have contributed to "Gulf war syndrome." While Moreno duly excoriates the excesses and horrors, his overarching thesis is that human military experimentation is unavoidable, and he commends the army's current infectious-agent research program at Fort Detrick, Md., as a model for future "ethical" research. Some readers may welcome his coolly detached chronicle as a complement to Welsome's scathing, far more powerful expos?. Agent, Betsy Amster; 3-city author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

The infamous Nazi medical experiments on human subjects represent an extreme of government arrogance. But many other nations, including the U.S., have done similar if less egregious things, usually in the name of national security. Radiation, chemical agents and disease-causing agents are tested on people who have not given informed consent and may not even know they were test subjects. Moreno, professor of biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics there, decided to pursue the subject after his service on the presidential Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to investigate allegations of government-sponsored radiation research on unknowing citizens during the cold war. He tells of secret medical experiments, some ancient but most during and since World War II, by many nations. "If there is a single lesson to be gleaned from the story of military-medical human experiments," he says, "it is that we can expect them to continue in the future.... I believe it is also true that these experiments can be done ethically." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

See Jonathan's website at wwwjonathandmoreno.com.

Jonathan D. Moreno is one of thirteen Penn Integrates Knowledge university professors at the University of Pennsylvania, holding the David and Lyn Silfen chair. He is also Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, of History and Sociology of Science, and of Philosophy. In 2008-09 he served as a member of President Barack Obama's transition team.

Moreno is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is a National Associate of the National Research Council. He has served as a senior staff member for three presidential advisory commissions, including the current bioethics commission under President Obama, and has given invited testimony for both houses of congress. He was an Andrew W. Mellon post doctoral fellow, holds an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, and is a recipient of the Benjamin Rush Medal from the College of William and Mary Law School.

Moreno is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, where he edits the magazine Science Progress (www.scienceprogress.org). Moreno has served as adviser to many non-governmental organizations, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a member of the Governing Board of the International Neuroethics Society, a Faculty Affiliate of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, a Fellow of the Hastings Center and the New York Academy of Medicine, and a past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He advises various science, health, and national security agencies and serves as a member of the Defense Intelligence Agency's TIGER committee on potentially disruptive novel technologies.

Kirkus Reviews said that Moreno's new book, The Body Politic: "illuminates intricate threads of history and complex philosophical arguments. Patient general readers, as well as scholars and students of bioethics, will benefit from Moreno's erudition and fairness...." Publisher's Weekly called it "[a]n important analysis of the societal currents swirling around volatile scientific issues . . . Moreno delivers a powerful defense of science [and] respects his readers' intelligence in this nuanced and thoughtful book." JAMA described Progress in Bioethics (2010) as "provocative and stimulating." Publisher's Weekly said that his book Science Next (2009) "brings hope into focus with reports of innovation that will enhance lives." The journal Nature called Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense (2006), "fascinating and sometimes unsettling." The New York Times said that Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans (1999) was "an earnest and chilling account." His other books include Ethical Guidelines for Innovative Surgery (2006); Is There an Ethicist in the House? (2005); In the Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality in a Time of Crisis (2003); Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research (2003); Deciding Together: Bioethics and Moral Consensus (1995); Ethics in Clinical Practice (2000); and Arguing Euthanasia (1995). Moreno has published about 300 papers, reviews and book chapters, and is a member of several editorial boards.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Undue Risk is a clearly and meticulously constructed documentation of over 50 years of medical and military experiments world wide, with an emphasis on those done in the U.S. It is one of the most important books written on the subject, and it is a must read for anyone concerned about the ethics and interests of government.
Moreno limits himself to information that is documentable. He focuses on the medical community as handmaidens to the military establishment. For example, his thorough and horrific accounts of Dr. Ishii's murderous medical experiments on thousands of helpless captives during WWII in Japan, and his grim comment that despite his criminality, Dr. Ishii today enjoys high social status and wealth, partially due to intervention by the United States, are a testimony to Moreno's clear insight into the pervasive nature of intellectual greed and the grand cover-up of government when it wishes to acquire knowledge.
It is unfortunate that Moreno could not cover the misdeeds of the neuro-sciences. But with the neuro/psychopharmacological arsenal of amnesiacs, sedatives, ECT, and hypnosis it is difficult to find those survivors who can clearly articulate the tale of what was done to them in the name of science. To his credit, Moreno does refer to the CIA's MKULTRA experiments, and gives a nice insight into the LSD death of Fort Detrick's Dr. Frank Olsen, who specialized in airborne delivery of disease as a biological weapon. This book is a must read. It is aurhoritative, restrained in nature, but completely accurate.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By H. W. Cummins on November 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
We are fortunate Jonathan Moreno did dare and took the time to write "Undue Risk." Not only does he inform, he has the courage to take a stand. A person of the caliber of David Kevles of California Institute of Technology says in his New York Times Book Review ". . . the historical record that he presents in ''Undue Risk'' strongly supports his contention that the rights of human subjects deserve to be held paramount over any needs of national security." Anyone familiar with the work of the President's Committee on Human Radiation Experiments knows it was anything but a whitewash. While flawed it is the most thorough review of documents surrounding this sad, sad chapter of our nations recent history. The experiments were outrageous attacks against human rights. I am co-founder of the Human Experiments Litigation Project which successfully filed seven suits against the experimenters. I commend Moreno for his in depth research, excellent grasp of the entire range of experiments, his concern for the sanctity of human life and ability to tell this story with a clear demarcation between fact and opinion. The more people who read this book, the more our chance as a society of remembering just a bit longer the lessons of science gone amuck.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans by Jonathan D. Moreno

Calling chemical warfare "weapons of mass destruction" is misleading since they are more limited than atomic or biological weapons. Biological weapons can turn against their users. Only atomic weapons have enormous destructive capacity (p.xv). The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation documented secret experiments on humans from WW II to the present day. Biological warfare goes back to ancient times: placing decaying bodies into a water supply or launching them into a besieged fort. There is much more known about biological and chemical weapons today than before 1992. Government secrecy is corrosive to democracy, and is a true threat to our way of life. The use of human guinea pigs shows something rotten at the heart of society's political rulers. This very readable book faces the uncomfortable reality of using humans for medical experiments.

Bacteria and chemicals are hard to control and deliver effectively but relatively cheap to produce and transport. Testing on humans has a long international history, as is hiding these facts (p.4). The Nazi doctors trial at Nuremberg set a standard for military-medical human experiments. Hundreds of other doctors were never tried. A "crime against humanity" was defined as the reckless pursuit of scientific knowledge, or sheer sadism. Experiments on humans predated the Nazis; in 1931 the powerful chemical manufacturers were caught using patients in hospitals (p.64). Then there was America's own wartime research (pp. 65-6). But America was not riddled with a hate-mongering pathology that permitted the systematic injury of certain groups of humans (p.79).

Chapter 4 tells of Nazi scientists brought to America because of their expertise.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on June 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans by Jonathan D. Moreno

This very readable book faces the uncomfortable reality of using humans for medical experiments. Government secrecy is corrosive to democracy, and is a true threat to our way of life. The use of human guinea pigs shows something rotten at the heart of society's political rulers.

Chapter 5 tells about radiation experiments. There was a need to study the health risks from inhalation or ingestion to determine the toxic levels. Releasing radioactive products into the air was part of deliberate policy that occurred hundreds of times (pp.153-4). Chapter 6 tells how the Nuremberg Code was adopted for testing ABC weapons (p.166). This rule prevailed in the civilian hierarchy but lacked traction in the military medical culture (p.184); this reflected the political struggles (p.187). Chapter 7 tells of the experiments with hallucinogens as a military secret weapon during WW II (pp.190-1), and afterwards. The Blauer Case tells how state hospitals' experiments killed patients (pp.194-8)! Scanty record keeping on atomic bomb explosions was continued with Agent Orange in Vietnam (p.206). The known dangers from uranium mines were disregarded by the AEC (p.221). Uranium miners fate was to die in their forties for reasons of national security (p.226). After Nuremberg, only America among Western countries experimented on prisoners (p.230).

Chapter 8 tells of the attacks on the Nuremberg Code rules. Pages 252-3 tell why it is legal to experiment on members of the Armed Forces: the Supreme Court said so! Nerve gas experiments were suspended in 1969 (p.263). President Nixon asked for the ratification of the 1925 Geneva Accord to prohibit the first use of biological and chemical weapons.
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