BOOK REVIEW: 'Demon' captures terror's scary potential

Lost amid the hand-wringing over colored alerts is the specter of another terror attack. Demon provides a scary account of what such an attack may look like.

Lost amid the hand-wringing over colored alerts is the specter of another terror attack. Demon provides a scary account of what such an attack may look like.

Preston, a science writer, provides clear, gruesome descriptions of how killer viruses like smallpox and anthrax destroy life. He also reminds readers that the civilized nations once united to eradicate such diseases. Demon also tells how infighting among US agencies slowed the response to the 2001 anthrax attacks. But it's also a heart-warming chronicle of unlikely heroes - the researchers who risk their own lives to uncover the secrets of biological weapons. Crises, like the viruses covered in the book, must be thoroughly dissected to be understood. How is it that we eradicated smallpox in small villages around the globe over the past 20 years only to develop huge stashes of weapons-grade smallpox to kill millions? This crisply written chronicle is effective in offering a chilling reminder of terrorism's demonic potential. Title The Demon in the Freezer Author Richard Preston Publisher Fawcett Books (August 2003), 304 pages Reviewed by Larry Kamer, director, issue and crisis management, MS&L

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