Published in conjunction with the eight-hour public-television series airing this spring, Avoiding Armageddon focuses our attention like never before on threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. It engages the reader in an exploration of who endangers our national interest, the forms their threats might take, and what can be done to avert the kinds of disasters likely to ensue from the use of unsecured weapons.Martin Schram and his team of reporters explain why biological, chemical, and nuclear warfare may very well be our next nightmare. Using interviews with an international team of experts, Avoiding Armageddon is a riveting story of America's newfound vulnerability and offers a new understanding of the future contours of our personal, national, and global security.
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Martin Schram has been a Washington-based journalist and editor for more than three decades. The author of four books, he writes a column for the Scripps Howard News Service that is distributed nationally to more than four hundred newspapers. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.From Publishers Weekly:
This companion book to a PBS series (airing April 14-17) details the threats facing the U.S. today-from nuclear, chemical and biological attack and from terrorism-and outlines possible solutions. Schram, a syndicated columnist for Scripps-Howard, succeeds admirably in translating eight hours of documentary footage into anecdotal prose. There is a wealth of historical and statistical detail here (for example, that there are 32,000 nuclear bombs and warheads on the planet, all but 2,000 belonging to the U.S. and Russia), but Schram lets the interviews carry the book. Thus Leonid Smirnoff, a former foreman at a Russian chemical-research site, tells how he easily siphoned off enriched uranium to sell on the black market, enough for a terrorist to build a nuclear bomb. An Iraqi defector who worked on Saddam Hussein's nuclear program details how, in 1956, the U.S. gave Iraq the Manhattan Project reports through its ill-advised Atoms for Peace program. In discussing chemical threats, Schram details efforts by companies like DuPont and Dow after WWI to sell legislators on the idea of "humane" chemical warfare. Also alarming is the section on Project 112, in which the U.S. Army and Navy targeted populations in American cities in secret open-air biological tests. The centerpiece of the section on terrorism is an informative series of interviews with Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al-Qaeda. Gunaratna notably singles out terrorist propaganda as a powerful fund-raising and recruitment tool that must be dismantled if the war on terror is to succeed. The final section of the book outlines solutions aimed at addressing the poverty and political unrest around the world that he says foster terrorism and other potential threats.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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