The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World-told From the Inside by the Man Who Ran It

Book - 1999
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Imagine a hot zone in which Ebola is being spliced--using the latest techniques of genetic engineering--with smallpox, the most infectious disease known to man. Now imagine that cocktail is meant for you.          For fifty years, while the world stood in terror of a nuclear war, Russian scientists hidden in heavily guarded secret cities refined and stockpiled a new kind of weapon of mass destruction--an invisible weapon that would strike in silence and could not be traced. It would leave hundreds of thousands dead in its wake and would continue to spread devastation long after its release. The scientists were bioweaponeers, working to perfect the tools of a biological Armageddon. They called it their Manhattan Project. It was the deadliest and darkest secret of the cold war.          What you are about to read has never before been made public. Ken Alibek began his career as a doctor wanting to save lives and ended up running the Soviet biological weapons program--a secret military empire masquerading as a pharmaceutical company. At its peak, the program employed sixty thousand people at over one hundred facilities. Seven reserve mobilization plants were on permanent standby, ready to produce hundreds of tons of plague, anthrax, smallpox, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis, to name only a few of the toxic agents bred in Soviet labs. Almost every government ministry was implicated, including the Academy of Sciences and the KGB.          Biohazardis a terrifying, fast-paced account of tests and leaks, accidents and disasters in the labs, KGB threats and assassinations. The book is full of revelations--evidence of biowarfare programs in Cuba and India, actual deployments at Stalingrad and in Afghanistan, experiments with mood-altering agents, a contingency plan to attack major American cities, and the true story behind the mysterious anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk. But beyond these is a twisted world of lies and mirrors, and the riveting parable of the greatest perversion of science in history.          No one knows the actual capabilities of biological weapons better than Dr. Alibek. Many of the scientists who worked with him have been lured away from low-paying Russian labs to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world. In our lifetime, we will most likely see a terrorist attack using biological weapons on an American city. Biohazard tells us--in chilling detail--what to expect and what we can do. Not since Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon has there been such a book--a report from inside the belly of the beast.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c1999
ISBN: 9780375502316
Branch Call Number: ANF 358.38
Characteristics: xi, 319 p. ; ill., map ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Handelman, Stephen


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Greg_library Sep 30, 2012

This is essentially a historical overview of the Soviet Biological Warfare program told through the first-person account of the author. Most of the text is dedicated to the author's rise from medical school to deputy chief of Biopreparat and his defection to the United States. There is some description of the politics of the Soviet Union in the decades preceding Ken Alibek's defection to the U.S., and the book ends with the author warning about the dangers of various world groups attempting to build on his home county's research. The book is a bit dated, given that it was published in 1999, but still an excellent read for those interested in history of biological warfare.

Aug 11, 2010

A very easy to read book. Seriously written --- for sure not an Idiots guide.This is a book very worth reading --- especially for followers of the history of the former Soviet Union.

What follows is a review that appeared on the website.:
In this fast-paced memoir, Ken Alibek combines cutting-edge science with the narrative techniques of a thriller to describe some of the most awful weapons imaginable. The result will remind readers of The Hot Zone, Richard Preston's smart bestseller about the Ebola virus. That book focuses on the dangers of a freak accident; Biohazard shows how disease can become a deliberate tool of war. Alibek, once a top scientist in the Soviet Union's biological weapons program, describes putting anthrax on a warhead and targeting a city on the other side of the world. "A hundred kilograms of anthrax spores would, in optimal atmospheric conditions, kill up to three million people in any of the densely populated metropolitan areas of the United States," he writes. "A single SS-18 [missile] could wipe out the population of a city as large as New York."
Chilling passages like these, plus discussions of proliferation and terrorism, make Biohazard a harrowing book, but it also has a human side. Alibek, who defected to the United States after a career of working on the USSR's biological warfare projects, describes the routine danger of his work: "A bioweapons lab leaves its mark on a person forever." An unending stream of vaccinations has destroyed his sense of smell, afflicted him with allergies, made it impossible to eat certain kinds of food, and "weakened my resistance to disease and probably shortened my life." But it didn't take away his ability to tell an astonishing story. --John J. Miller .

If you read this book you'll get a pretty good idea of how fast and free the soviet germ warfare program was playing up till the 1990's (and perhaps beyond) It's part of a cavalier, don't-give-a-damn attitude . This produces big boo boos. Like Chelyabinsk and Chernobyl.

This book almost reads like a novel --- of course it isn't --- it's all true. In this case the truth is spellbindingly exciting.

Read this book and be frightened... be very frightened.

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Greg_library Sep 30, 2012

Greg_library thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Greg_library Sep 30, 2012

This book is a first-person account of the biological warfare program in the former Soviet Union from 1975 to 1991 with some insight on the history, politics, successes and disasters of the program.


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