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



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

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2019

Did you like this book?

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


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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?