Summary and book reviews of Lab 257 by Michael Carroll

Lab 257

The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory

By Michael C. Carroll

Lab 257
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2004,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2005,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary



Nestled near the Hamptons, the fashionable summer playground of America's rich and famous, and in the shadow of New York City, lies an unimposing 840-acre island unidentified on most maps. On the few on which it can be found, Plum Island is marked red or yellow, and stamped U.S. government—restricted or dangerous animal diseases. Though many people live the good life within a scant mile or two from its shores, few know the name of this pork chop-shaped island. Even fewer can say whether it is inhabited, or why it doesn't exist on the map. That's all about to change.  Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory blows the lid off the stunning true nature and checkered history of Plum Island. It shows that the seemingly bucolic island on the edge of the largest population center in the United States is a ticking biological time bomb that none of us can safely ignore.

Based on innumerable declassified government documents, scores of in-depth interviews, and access to Plum Island itself, this is an eye-opening, suspenseful account of a federal government germ laboratory gone terribly wrong. For the first time, Lab 257 takes you deep inside this secret world and presents startling revelations including virus outbreaks, biological meltdowns, infected workers who were denied assistance in diagnosis by Plum Island brass, the periodic flushing of contaminated raw sewage into area waters, and the insidious connections between Plum Island, Lyme disease, and the deadly 1999 West Nile virus outbreak.

An exploration of the complex world of microbiology, viruses, and bacteria, Lab 257 also shows how the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which ran Plum Island for the last half century, is far more than wholesome grade-A eggs and the food pyramid. The book probes what's in store for Plum Island's new owner, the Department of Homeland Security, in this age of bioterrorism. And for those interested in questions of national security and safety, it is a call to action for those concerned with protecting present and future generations from preventable biological catastrophes.

Lab 257 will change forever our current understanding of Plum Island -- a place that is, in the words of one insider, "a biological Three Mile Island."

1975: The Lyme Connection

Dear Ann,

Have you ever heard of Lyme disease? I am writing this letter because I know you can help thousands of people by warning them about this awful sickness. I have been battling it for 18 months. Frankly I am not doing well.

It would be impossible for me to describe the emotional and physical pain that I have been through. I am a 42-year-old man, married nearly 20 years, and have a family. The days of slinging a 100-pound sack of bird-seed over my shoulder and walking to the backyard are over.

Today I can't even lift a five-pound sack of flour. There was a time when I could play nine musical instruments. I sang in the church choir and ran my own small business. Today, I do none of the above. I am saving all my energy to fight Lyme disease.

The treatment costs are staggering. IV antibiotic therapy runs from $150 to $475 a treatment ... We have already taken out a third mortgage on our home. Had I been aware of the symptoms from the...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

Is there a connection between Lyme disease, West Nile virus and the Department of Homeland Security's laboratories on Plum Island? According to Michael Carroll's apparently thorough research, yes there is, and those aren't the only concerns - add to these biological meltdowns, infected workers denied assistance in diagnosis, flushing of contaminated sewage into local waters, and it's difficult to be anything but concerned. Is Plum Island an accident waiting to happen? It would seem so.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (216 words).

Media Reviews
Kam Aures - MostlyFiction.com

Carroll's book leaves no stone unturned. He has thoroughly researched the history and present day workings of the laboratories and operations on Plum Island. He drew his information from a variety of sources, including speaking with employees past and present and utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to extract information from the appropriate government agencies. The way that he skillfully assembles all of this research into a work that reads as easy as fiction is remarkable. Carroll is a very talented investigative writer and LAB 257 is by far the most interesting and engaging piece of non-fiction that I have ever read.

Publishers Weekly

Is there a connection between Lyme disease and Plum Island research?...And what about West Nile virus, which also suddenly appeared in close proximity to Plum Island?...The author acknowledges that the times demand that the U.S. have a research facility like the one at Plum Island and ends this provocative book with a list of reasonable, well-conceived suggestions on how to make the research lab safe, or at least safer. Readers will hope that someone takes notice.

Author Blurb Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of New York
If we're lucky, someone in the media will read this carefully researched, chilling expose of a potential catastrophe and force the government to do something about it. If not, Mike Carroll's brilliant work will have been wasted and we may be the victims, once again, of government inadvertence.

Author Blurb Nelson DeMille, bestselling author of Plum Island and Up Country
If you lost sleep after reading The Hot Zone, then Michael Christopher Carroll's LAAB 257 will keep you awake all night. One of the best pieces of investigative reporting you'll read this year. LAB 257 is must-reading for the post-9/11 world.'

Author Blurb Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., former Governor of Connecticut
Lab 257 proves that scientific fact on Plum Island can indeed be stranger than science fiction. Mike Carroll has the uncanny ability to transport the reader inside the frightening world of Plum Island.

Reader Reviews
mb1

Informative coverage of a sensitive topic
Book did a nice job of covering a sensitive topic that most people are unaware of. Biological weapons are by far some of the most insidious potentially damaging weapons in the modern arsenal. It should not surprise anyone that our government is ...   Read More

Ranger X

Lyme Disease didn't appear until 1975
Dee, I hate to outright call you a liar, but Lyme disease wasn't called such or discovered until the mid- to late-1970s. http://www.state.me.us/dhhs/boh/ddc/lyme_history.htm

The Arrow

There's even more information that he missed finding
Read the book in a very short while. Excellent. May only have scratched the surface of the problem. There may have been, as he suggests, collusion among the very 'Hallowed Ivy Covered' Halls of our most revered academic institutions ,the very ...   Read More

Dee

Complete Nonsense!
I have a book published by the Government that talks about Lyme Disease in the 1940's. The book I have talks about the Lyme Spirochetes and tick bites and all the diseases it causes. Obviously, Mr. Carroll did not do his research. Shame on Mr. ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Lab 257, try these:

  • Dry Storeroom No. 1 jacket

    Dry Storeroom No. 1

    by Richard Fortey

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Fortey introduces the reader to the extraordinary people, meticulous research and driving passions that helped to create the timeless experiences of wonder that is London’s Natural History Museum.

  • Germs jacket

    Germs

    by Judith Miller, et. al.

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A frightening and unforgettable narrative of cutting-edge science and spycraft.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  88Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.