Living Terrors

Book Review



Living Terrors


Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D. and John Schwartz


Delacorte Press, a division of Random House



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

November, 2001


Living Terrors - What American Needs to Know to  Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe is a book that should scare the living daylights out of any American citizen. It explains the different  types of chemical and biological agents that might be used in a terrorist attack and develops scenarios demonstrating how they might be released.

Get more information about Living Terrors at Amazon.comThis book about terrorism and germ warfare mixes discussion of the facts with hypothetical situations. One of the infectious agents it explores is anthrax; what it is, how it works, and how it might be dispersed. The book includes fictional stories  about several different terrorists and their attacks using different disease  causing agents and dispersal devices. Each scenario begins with a personal background showing the motivations of the terrorist, then proceeds to details about the  fictional crime and its aftermath. A body of facts relevant to the simulation is sandwiched between each fictional section.

The authors draw their material from a variety of credible sources. Every chapter is well annotated with a bibliography coming at the end of the book. Sources for the story includes scientific publications, government studies, and internet research. The material is then patched together to provide an enlightening overview of the state of readiness of the United States to deal with these types of threats.

The amazing thing about this book is the accuracy  of its predictions of a coming terrorist attack. First published in 2000, it  names the organizations most likely to pose a threat, the types of biological agents they will use, and the predictions seem to coincide with the actual terror  attacks on the United States during 2001. The author presents an eight-point plan for improving the readiness of the United States for dealing with these  types of disasters. I'm sure anybody reading this book today will find the conclusions  correct and the scenarios both realistic and believable.

This should be the first book on your list to read about this subject. It is well researched, contains a wealth of topical information, and correctly foresees the eventuality of these types of conflicts.

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