Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox

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Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001 - Medical - 291 pages
2 Reviews
A Washington Post Best Book of 2001, Scourge provides a definitive account of the dramatic story of smallpox by a leading "expert on biological and chemical weapons" (The New York Times). Jonathan B. Tucker traces the history of the smallpox virus from its first recorded outbreak around 3700 B.C. through its use as the first biological warfare agent in human history, and draws some decisively important lessons for the future.

In a timely debate, Tucker addresses the ever-growing concerns about the proliferation of the deadly smallpox virus and its use by terrorist organizations. Explaining how the eradication of the disease in the late 1970s encouraged military research and production of the virus, he exposes the failure of the Russian government to secure its remaining cold-war stockpiles, and evaluates the past and present measures undertaken by the United States to counter the existing dangers of a smallpox attack. Ultimately, he passionately argues for the strengthening of the existing legal ban on the development and possession of biological weapons.

Impeccably researched, Scourge is as arresting as it is indispensable, and as William Beatty in Booklist raves, Tucker "has a sense of both the detail and the broad sweep of history that helps him make the story of smallpox as disease and as weapon fascinating and frightening."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Helcura - LibraryThing

The book is quite interesting as an overview of the challenge faced in eradicating smallpox in the 20th century. The book is detailed and addresses WHO efforts worldwide as well as political ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - joeteo1 - LibraryThing

This is a superbly researched account of the global program to eradicate smallpox. The science, politics and history of the illness are all presented in an engaging style that is very easy to read ... Read full review

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