Chemical and Biological Weapons in Our Times by Herbert M. Levine, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Chemical and Biological Weapons in Our Times

Chemical and Biological Weapons in Our Times

by Herbert M. Levine
     
 
Like nuclear weapons, chemical and biological agents can kill hundreds--if not millions--of people. Less than one hundred years ago, these weapons were mainly agents of war. More recently, civilians have also been the target of these substances.

What can people do to guard against the harmful effects of these deadly weapons? Protective gear, such as gas masks and

Overview

Like nuclear weapons, chemical and biological agents can kill hundreds--if not millions--of people. Less than one hundred years ago, these weapons were mainly agents of war. More recently, civilians have also been the target of these substances.

What can people do to guard against the harmful effects of these deadly weapons? Protective gear, such as gas masks and special suits, is often effective. Sometimes specific preventive measures, such as vaccines, are available. The U.S. government has determined that its soldiers may be in danger of attack from a biological agent--the bacteria that cause anthrax, a deadly disease. Now U.S. military personnel are vaccinated against anthrax.

Chemical and Biological Weapons in Our Times begins by describing a terrorist attack--the 1995 use of the nerve poison sarin in the Tokyo subways. Will terrorists successfully use chemical or biological weapons to murder hundreds or thousands of people? Maybe yes, maybe no. Author Herbert M. Levine presents both sides of the argument. It is true, for example, that with some knowledge and the proper materials and equipment, some of these harmful agents aren't that difficult to make, but the manufacturing process might prove expensive.

What is being done to control chemical and biological weapons? Countries have signed international agreements that outlaw the development and use of these deadly agents. If a particular country does not trust other nations that signed the agreement to abide by it, it may use other measures, such as trade restrictions, spying, or even military action.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
On the morning of March 20, 1995, members of a secret Japanese terrorist group titled "Aum Shinrikyo" placed plastic bags filled with a liquid form of sarin nerve gas on subway trains in Tokyo. After puncturing the bags with umbrellas and exiting the trains, these terrorists left behind them a trail of death, injury, and pain. Fortunately, errors in the development of the sarinlaced liquid resulted in a far more gradual evaporation than had been anticipated. Despite this flaw, the poisonous compound resulted in the death of twelve people and the injury of more than 5,000 others. The use of chemical weapons both as part of systematic warfare and by terrorists is the subject of this chilling work. The author traces the development of both chemical and biological weapons over time, beginning with the medieval use of the bodies of bubonic plague victims to destroy opposing forces, and progressing to our own age. The history of chemical and biological warfare is relatively long. However, it was in the twentieth century that such weaponry achieved its broadest usage. In World War I, the massive use of poison gas caused the death of over 100,000 people and the maiming of countless others. Strangely, aside from the Japanese use of both chemical and biological weapons in China, World War II saw little use of these weapons. In the Vietnam war, American armed forces utilized an enormous amount of chemical defoliants (including Agent Orange), in regions such as Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. More recently, the Iraqis inflicted thousands of casualties upon Iranian forces in their bloody conflict. Iraq's dictatorial leader, Saddam Hussein, also used chemical weapons in the brutal and genocidalexecution of its own Kurdish minority. All in all, as the author of this wellresearched book indicates, the stakes are high. Chemical and biological agents represent a threat not only to military personnel, but to innocent civilians randomly victimized by the acts of terrorist groups. 2000, Franklin Watts, Ages 14 up, $25.00. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531118528
Publisher:
Scholastic Library Publishing
Publication date:
06/28/2006
Series:
Single Titles Series
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.33(w) x 9.33(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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