Until the events of September 11 and the anthrax attacks of 2001, biological weapons had never been a major public concern in the United States. Today, the possibility of their use by terrorists against Western states looms large as an international security concern. In Biological Weapons, Jeanne Guillemin provides a highly accessible and compelling account of the circumstances under which scientists, soldiers, and statesmen were able to mobilize resources for extensive biological weapons programs and analyzes why such weapons, targeted against civilians, were never used in a major conflict.
This book is essential for understanding the relevance of the historical restraints placed on the use of biological weapons for today’s world. It serves as an excellent introduction to the problems biological weapons pose for contemporary policymakers and public officials, particularly in the United States. How can we best deter the use of such weapons? What are the resulting policies of the Department of Homeland Security? How can we constrain proliferation? Jeanne Guillemin wisely points out that these are vitally important questions for all Americans to consider and investigate—all the more so because the development of these weapons has been carried out under a veil of secrecy, with their frightening potential open to exploitation by the media and government. Public awareness through education can help calm fears in today’s tension-filled climate and promote constructive political action to cut the risks of a biological weapons catastrophe.
Biological Weapons is required reading for every concerned citizen, government policymaker, public health official, and national security analyst who wants to understand this complex and timely issue.