A sobering exposé; required reading for anyone concerned with the state of our medical preparedness.

LIVING TERRORS

WHAT AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW TO SURVIVE THE COMING BIOTERRORIST CATASTROPHE

Worries over domestic terrorism rarely extend to biological weapons; if the authors are correct, that may be a fatal mistake.

Osterholm (former Epidemiologist in Chief for the state of Minnesota) and Washington Post reporter Schwartz present three fictional scenarios illustrating the raw potential of bioterrorism. The first, in which a lone terrorist spreads anthrax spores over a football stadium from a crop-dusting plane is frightening enough. But the real nightmare is the third, showing the probable effects of the release of smallpox in a Chicago shopping mall near Christmas season. This highly contagious disease, against which only a minority of the population now has any real immunity, would wreak havoc in a modern city—especially now that insurance plans have made hospitals pare back their facilities to the absolute minimum. The system is no better prepared for plague, tularemia, or botulism—the diseases most widely being developed as bioweapons. Osterholm points out the lack of training (one simulation showed that few medical personnel would even recognize the symptoms of anthrax), of vaccines, and of antidotes (the supplies currently in stock would barely suffice for emergency workers). Nor has the government recognized the distinctions between the kind of threat posed by bombs or chemicals and the more difficult problems (e.g., enforcing quarantines) inherent in an outbreak of infectious disease. Government officials cite Iraq’s failure to deploy biological weapons in the Gulf War as proof that the threat is still remote. That may be true for military weapons designed for battlefield delivery, says Osterholm, but the expertise necessary for a terrorist strike is within the reach of many graduate students. He concludes with a seven-point plan for change, addressing the key loopholes in our defenses.

A sobering exposé; required reading for anyone concerned with the state of our medical preparedness.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-33480-X

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

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

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