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Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe

Osterholm Ph.D. MPH, Michael T.; Schwartz, John

73 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0385334818 / ISBN 13: 9780385334815
Published by Delta
Used Condition: Very Good Soft cover
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0385334818 Autographed by author! Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # AUD2243CFIF101016H0531

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Title: Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know ...

Publisher: Delta

Binding: PAPERBACK

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title

Synopsis:

America is one killer organism away from a living nightmare that threatens all we hold dear....

A deadly cloud of powdered anthrax spores settles unnoticed over a crowded football stadium.... A school cafeteria lunch is infected with a drug-resistant strain of E. coli.... Thousands in a bustling shopping mall inhale a lethal mist of smallpox, turning each individual into a highly infectious agent of suffering and death....

Dr. Michael Osterholm knows all too well the horrifying scenarios he describes. In this eye-opening account, the nation’s leading expert on bioterrorism sounds a wake-up call to the terrifying threat of biological attack — and America’s startling lack of preparedness.

He demonstrates the havoc these silent killers can wreak, exposes the startling ease with which they can be deployed, and asks probing questions about America’s ability to respond to such attacks.

Are most doctors and emergency rooms able to diagnose correctly and treat anthrax, smallpox, and other potential tools in the bioterrorist’s arsenal? Is the government developing the appropriate vaccines and treatments?

The answers are here in riveting detail — what America has and hasn’t done to prevent the coming bioterrorist catastrophe. Impeccably researched, grippingly told, Living Terrors presents the unsettling truth about the magnitude of the threat. And more important, it presents the ultimate insider’s prescription for change: what we must do as a nation to secure our freedom, our future, our lives.

Review:

"We are ... at the brink of a new age: what some experts call catastrophic terrorism," write Michael T. Osterholm (an epidemiologist) and John Schwartz (a Washington Post science reporter) at the start of this slim volume. What's more, "the United States is not doing enough to prepare." Smallpox, anthrax, bubonic plague--a smart terrorist could use any of these deadly diseases to wreak havoc on thousands or even millions of Americans. Yet there aren't enough antibiotics and vaccines in stockpile, public-health facilities can't handle a "surge," and most law enforcement agencies have no idea how to cope with a crisis. "I do not believe it is a question of whether a lone terrorist or terrorist group will use infectious disease agents to kill unsuspecting citizens; I'm convinced it's really just a question of when and where," writes Osterholm in the introduction.

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

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