In This Review

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War
By Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad
382 pp, Simon & Schuster, 2001

A worthwhile book at any time, this volume deserves particularly close reading after the anthrax attacks of recent months. The book originally began as a team effort by three top reporters of The New York Times to probe the U.S. military's controversial anthrax vaccination program. It ended up as something rather different: a survey of biological warfare programs and developments up to the first modern use of biological weapons against the United States. There are some puzzling conclusions here. ("Is the threat of germ weapons real or exaggerated? Our answer is both.") But Germs is a useful place to begin reading about a threat that is, alas, all too present in our minds.