cover image Dead Silence: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail

Dead Silence: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail

Bob Coen, Eric Nadler. Counterpoint LLC, $25 (257pp) ISBN 978-1-58243-509-1

For years after its 2001 appearance in the U.S. mail, filmmakers and journalists Coen and Nadler followed the trail of panic-inducing anthrax, uncovering events worthy of a spy thriller and concluding that the biggest biochemical threat comes from the government, not terrorists. In a dramatic play-by-play, they detail sojourns through the U.S., Siberia, Africa, and England, following clues, a surprising number of deaths and the testimony of those brave enough to go on the record. Although extraneous detail can occasionally distract, the authors move smoothly through biotechnological advances, strange misfortune and political machinations around the globe; horrifying stories of recent germ warfare research worldwide includes a reported lack of regulation for such research in the U.S. (where $1.76 billion were spent on anthrax research in 2006 alone). As they follow a path of dead scientists, Coen and Nadler find that ""the walls went up wherever anthrax was found... Those that looked behind the walls did so at their own peril."" Engaging and populist, this volume should prove interesting to a range of politically-minded readers, from policy wonks to conspiracy theorists.