Full of fascinating and sometimes-disturbing information, little of which is widely known.

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BITTEN

THE SECRET HISTORY OF LYME DISEASE AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS

A Lyme disease researcher suggests that the emergence of the disease in the 1960s is related to U.S. germ warfare programs.

Science writer Newby, herself a victim of Lyme disease, looks into the career of Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born scientist who discovered the pathogen that causes Lyme. Trained as a tick researcher in Switzerland shortly after World War II, Burgdorfer came to the U.S. Public Health Service’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana in 1951, where he worked on the tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Then, in 1953, the U.S. military began a program of chemical and bioweapons research, recruiting scientists at the Rocky Mountain lab. Burgdorfer was tasked with mass-producing fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other blood-sucking bugs and infecting them with the microbes that cause disease in humans. Some in the defense establishment justified germ warfare as more humane than other weapons, arguing that the goal was to incapacitate enemy nationals instead of killing them. There were programs to drop “weaponized” ticks and other bugs from airplanes; others released uninfected bugs in populated areas of the U.S. in order to trace their spread. The big question is whether one of them was behind the eruption of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in New England in the late 1960s. The author interviewed many veterans of the biowar programs along with medical researchers, and she sifted through Burgdorfer’s files (obtained from the National Archives as well as from his family), turning up a remarkable amount of frightening material. At least one informant told her that some of her lines of investigation, if pursued too vigorously, could get her killed to prevent their results being made public. While there are intriguing hints, including a couple of laconic statements by Burgdorfer before his death in 2014, Newby admits that the case for Lyme as a germ disease experiment that went literally “viral” remains unproven.

Full of fascinating and sometimes-disturbing information, little of which is widely known.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289627-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper Wave/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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