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Publisher's Summary

The first major bioterror event in the United States - the anthrax attacks in October 2001 - was a clarion call for scientists who work with "hot" agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at USAMRIID, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top-secret information of bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox - and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers - at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines. USAMRIID went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government's response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.
©2002 Richard Preston; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"This book will give you nightmares. Preston...turns a story about science and medicine into a theme-park ride of a thriller." (The New York Times)
"As exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S Atherton on 09-19-03

Pretty interesting listening in a horrific way

If skin sliding off your body in sheets and merging pustules don't bother you, dive in. This is not for the faint of heart or stomach. It does give a clear picture of the effects of anthrax and smallpox, and the results if they were released as a bioweapon.
If nothing else, do what you're mother told you, wash your hands!
Also have a listen to In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made (Unabridged). One of the interesting points made was that anthrax was present at the time and oftened mistaken for plague. Not that it made a lot of difference to the victim.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful


By colleen on 09-15-12

Interesting and eye opening

Insight in the operating procedure of the CDC and WHO and what a weaponized pathogen has done and can do in the wrong hands. Well performed and reads more like a novel than a tech book. Creditworthy

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18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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