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Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe Paperback – October 9, 2001
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Books about disease and bioterrorism have become a subgenre in recent years, following the popular success of Richard Preston's The Hot Zone and Ken Alibek's Biohazard. Living Terrors probably provides the best quick-and-dirty guide to the problem for lay readers, with its harrowing descriptions of why certain diseases are so fatal and its clear assessment of America's disturbing vulnerabilities. Each chapter begins with a fictionalized account of how an attack might occur. In one, Osterholm and Schwartz write of a disgruntled scientist who loads anthrax into a crop-duster and flies over a crowded stadium. The authors believe this kind of sensationalism is completely warranted, given the nature of the threat and federal government's lackadaisical response to it. The point, they say, is "to warn you that the threat of biological terrorism is real without frightening you out of your wits. Instead, we hope to frighten you into your wits." --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
book is written by Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D. and science journalist
John Schwartz. It is based largely on Dr. Osterholm's experience as
an epidemiologist, his expertise in biological weapons, and his
efforts to educate the public on the threats of bioterrorism. He
illustrates several points about the unique aspects of this threat by
beginning chapters with fictional vignettes about hypothetical
bioterrorists. The emphasis is on the general anonymity of the
perpetrators, ready availability of biological agents, and the
difficulty tracking the terrorist. He uses the subsequent chapters to
argue that the bacteria and viruses are readily available and the
technology for dispersing easily learned. He discusses estimates of
potential loss of life and economic damage from a bioterrorist
The second half of the book describes a hypothetical
smallpox attack on the city of Chicago. Most Americans over the age
of thirty have some recollection of smallpox vaccinations they
received as a child. The wild form of smallpox was eradicated in 1977
and the World Health Organization recommended discontinuing
vaccinations against it in 1980. The only remaining smallpox was in
laboratories in the United States and the Soviet Union. The authors
present evidence here that other countries have this agent and that
the combination of high infectivity, high lethality, and low immunity
make it lethal if dispersed by a terrorist.
Living Terrors also
focuses on systems and logistics that need to be addressed.Read more ›
First, a disclaimer. While at a national meeting on infectious diseases in the fall of 1998, almost solely out of curiosity, I decided to listen to a presentation on "Bioterrorism" by Dr. Osterholm. I was familiar with him from a distance - he was a well known expert in food borne illnesses and the like, while at the Minnesota Department of Public Health. Like a child being told by his older sibling that there is no Santa Claus, what I heard that day I desperately wanted not to be true, but in my heart, like that child, I knew it was, and I could not go back. Since that time, I have become more and more interested in bioterrorism (defined as the intentional use of biologic agents or their products for the purpose of producing disease among humans, animals or plants) while at the same time convinced that Dr. Osterholm's concerns are right on the mark. It was with this bias that I eagerly awaited publication of his book.
As one who grew up during the Cold War, I remember all too well the fears of nuclear war - the civil defense drills and the scenes on black and white television of a simulated nuclear blast with instructions to "take cover". These fears were magnified many fold as I grew older, married, had children and began to slightly understand the true implications of it all.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While I think some of the material is a bit outdated- the book is getting old and we know a lot more about ebola now- I think- it's still very relevant in many, many ways-... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kristi Gilleland
Dr Osterholm wrote this book in 2000. I read it & was scared but felt informed. I gave the book to a friend. Read morePublished 20 months ago by marla wahl
Great book, although a little out dated. It's still a good read and makes you think! Especially great for the price I paid!Published 21 months ago by Holly Hedrick
I read this book back in 2007 and it keeps becoming a relevant read. Although written as a non-political book, after 9/11 and Hillary Clinton's treasonous lie about Iraq not... Read morePublished 21 months ago by R. Dodd
Published in 2000, this prescient book presents the authors’ suggestion that the United States will inevitably be attacked with biological agents, and that not enough is being done... Read morePublished 21 months ago by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
Opens your eyes and mind as to what may come or actually what is already happening. You could put this book away and reread 4-5 months again and see something that you might of... Read morePublished on March 9, 2014 by Marian E. Wells
This book is scary. It should be mandatory reading for every kid as soon as they are able. Barak Obama should get a law passed that makes it a federal offence to refuse to read... Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by William L. Vacca
Originally I didn't think much of this book, since it was one of the required books for my capstone course. Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by SGC
Real life scenario based book about biological terrorism in all its potential forms and sources. Could be front page news in the current world we live. Read morePublished on March 6, 2011 by R. J. LaBarba