In This Review

Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans
Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans
By Jonathan D. Moreno
W. H. Freeman, 1999, 320 pp

The title is somewhat misleading, given that this book deals primarily with the United States, with only passing references to Germany, Iraq, and the Soviet Union. Still, the material is chilling enough, recounting the use of human subjects for ghastly experiments during the Cold War. Even making allowance for the acute sense of threat felt in the 1950s, Moreno makes clear that American civilians and military personnel were sometimes exposed to unacceptable risks in various experiments, including those involving lsd injections and plutonium. The author, a professor of biomedical ethics with government experience, writes well. What he does not do, unfortunately, is look much beyond the United States, where the abuses of the past are unlikely to be repeated. To be sure, other countries have not exposed so much of their history. But when they do, the results will probably be even scarier.