Excerpt from Germs by Judith Miller, et. al., plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Germs

Biological Weapons and America's Secret War

by Judith Miller, et. al.

Germs
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2001, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2002, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


From the start, the army knew that the protective action of vaccines could be turned on its head to make viruses more suitable for war. An aggressor could use immunization to protect his troops, while an unvaccinated enemy would be vulnerable.

As Patrick settled into Detrick, the genocidal power of viruses was driven home by two dramatic episodes of pest control. The target was rabbits. The creatures had overrun Australia, their numbers competing so vigorously for sheep and cattle pasture that livestock production began to fall. In 1950, scientists responded with the virus that causes myxomatosis, a disease that often kills rabbits after leaving them blind and twitching. It spread fast and killed more than 99 percent of the infected animals. Europe in the postwar period had suffered a similar explosion of rabbits, which ate farmers' crops. In 1952, French experts released a few animals infected with the virus at Eure-et-Loire, not far from the palace at Versailles. By the next year, the disease had swept not only through France but as far as Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany, killing up to 90 percent of the rabbits. Farmers were elated. In time, the exterminations were seen as vital to the postwar revival of European agriculture.

The rabbit killing was of special interest to the American germ warriors because the myxomatosis virus is part of the pox family, whose most famous member causes smallpox. So the rabbit drama was considered useful in studying how the smallpox virus might spread through populations of unvaccinated humans.

Copyright © 2001 by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad.

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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Rise
    by Cara Brookins

    How a house built a family. An inspiring real-life story.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Sellout
    by Paul Beatty
    Paul Beatty's The Sellout was one of those books that flew somewhat under the radar when it was...
  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.