Chemical and Biological Warfare: A Comprehensive Survey for the Concerned Citizen

Chemical and Biological Warfare: A Comprehensive Survey for the Concerned Citizen

Paperback(Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2002)

Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, February 20
10 New & Used Starting at $24.90


The armaments of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) are now widely held not just by nation-states, but by terrorist and criminal enterprises. The weapons themselves are relatively inexpensive and very easy to hide, allowing organizations of just a few dozen people to deploy potentially devastating attacks. While in the twentieth century most arms-control efforts focused, rightly, on nuclear arsenals, in the twenty-first century CBW will almost certainly require just as much attention. This book defines the basics of CBW for the concerned citizen, including non-alarmist scientific descriptions of the weapons and their antidotes, methods of deployment and defensive response, and the likelihood in the current global political climate of additional proliferation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781461265207
Publisher: Springer New York
Publication date: 09/08/2012
Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2002
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.03(d)

Table of Contents

1: Chemical warfare (CW) history; 2: Defenses against chemical weapons; 3: Incentives and Disincentives to Acquire Chemical Weapons; 4: The Geopolitics of Proliferation; 5: Strategies for Control and Disarmament; 6: Definition of a biological warfare (BW) agent; 7: Brief History of Biological Weapons; 8: Motivations for Proliferation; 9: Biological warfare (BW) agent detection; 10: Biological warfare (BW) and terrorism; 11: Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972

What People are Saying About This

Theodore Karasik

Croddy's robust study helps CBW experts hone their opinions after the events of September 11, 2001. From armchair generals to scholars everyone should feel informed after reading Croddy's concise and illuminating tour de force on CBW.--Theodore Karasik, Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Henry D. Sokolski

This is a first-rate primer for students and policy analysts alike.--Henry Sokolski, Executive Director Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Washington, DC

William C. Patrick III

William C. (Bill) Patrick III, President of BioThreats Assessment, and the "father" of the U.S. biowarfare program. (In the 1960s he was Chief of the Product and Development Division of the Viral Production Facility of the U.S. Army):
"The portion devoted to biological warfare, which I am qualified to comment on, is most informative without getting into the 'how to' business. The book is very readable and addresses all aspects of biological warfare that an informed citizen should know."

A. T. Tu

A. T. Tu, Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 80523
"For those wanting to know not only about anthrax, but also about all forms of chemical and biological warfare, this is the one book you should have. Simply, there is no other book that describes the subject so thoroughly. . .

. I recommend that the book be on your shelf and is a must-have book for emergency personnel and law enforcement people."

J. Granville

J. Granville, Clemson University
Croddy provides a useful handbook for anyone who wishes to know about CBW. Not presupposing any prior knowledge, Croddy lays out basic information in the beginning and only gradually adds complexity when the reader is ready for it. . . . Croddy incorporates the latest information, including the changing tactics of terrorists and their plans to use CBW. . . . Particularly useful is Croddy's discussion of the current controversy surrounding mandatory vaccination of all US militar personnel . . . Recommended for both undergraduate and graduate students.

John Ellis Van Courtland Moon

John Ellis van Courtland Moon, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, a member of Harvard University¹s Chemical-Biological Warfare Study Group and MIT¹s Expert Working Group on Biological and Toxin Weapons Verification
Chemical and Biological Warfare provides the general reader, in clear terms, an overview of a subject that was once arcane but now dominates the headlines. . . . but its dangers are often overplayed by a fervid media which tends to stress its dangers without describing its limitations. Croddy and his associates provide an essential correction to views that have exaggerated the danger to almost mythic proportions. . . an excellent and accessible reference work.


Exclusive Author Essay
My father instilled in me at a very young age a love for organic chemistry. He taught me the alkane series when I was about eight years of age. While I certainly wasn't the best of students, I took a number of chemistry courses in college in the late 1980s. In 1992, while thumbing through one biochemistry text, I was intrigued to find a reference to mustard agent, and how it affected the human body. It turned out that the description and explanations in the book were wrong, but no matter. It got me thinking: How do these and other toxic compounds actually create their pathologies? Finally, in 1994, I could stand my ignorance no longer, and I looked to the literature of CBW, but the critical event was the terrible attacks in Japan by Aum Shinrikyo wackos who used sarin, VX, and other means of assassination, culminating in their final assault on the Tokyo subway in 1995. (I vividly recall living in a cheap flat in San Francisco, watching NHK Tokyo footage, and telling my wife about the Russian-made nerve agent detector obtained by the cult. Not that she cared terribly much). Being able to read Japanese allowed me to get a better grip on what was happening by using media sources in Japan. This led to my first published article in Jane's Intelligence Review later that year.

After a stint in the defense/aerospace consulting business, I was hired by Jonathan Tucker at the Monterey Institute in 1998. The first and foremost responsibility I had was to put together an introductory text on CBW, with assistance from two recent graduates: John Hart and Clarisa Perez-Armendariz. The manuscript went through several rewrites and revisions before being released by Copernicus Books in December 2001.

In many respects, and despite all of the attention afforded to it of late, the subject of CBW is still arcane to most people. The term may now be ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean knowledge of chemical or biological weapons is widespread or profound. Few know very much about, say, nerve agents or Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus as weapons. But is this unusual? If you think about it, the same can be said for conventional weapons, too. For example, ask yourself or your friends: How do explosives work? What is the Munroe effect? What's the difference between a tank and an armored vehicle? Chances are, most have not really paid that much attention to such details, but these are very important subjects all the same. Now, consider what you know about the science of poisons or infectious disease. These, too, are subjects that are not found in many classrooms, certainly not often at the undergraduate level. But perhaps now they will be, and maybe even in relation to matters having to do with CBW. For once you know how and why these things work, the more likely you can intelligently address the potential risk and threat. Keeping our risks in perspective is sometimes difficult, but it's necessary lest we take counsel of only our fears.

And learning more about the nitty-gritty details of CBW means more than having the tools to adequately address the potential threats. It could also help prevent or at least predict when and where it could happen. Looking back, and it's deceptively easy to do, recall that a major sarin agent attack occurred in Matsumoto, Japan (the details of which are still unknown to many) a year before the infamous attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995. If chemical terrorism wasn't a household term in 1994 -- not to mention a ubiquitous topic of concern within security and intelligence circles -- a year later it would be. Perhaps the Matsumoto attack was unavoidable, but could the Japanese authorities have seen the next one coming? Would more communication and coordination have averted the Tokyo subway incident? On that day in March 1995, the dozen people who died and the hundreds who were injured might have otherwise gone about their daily lives in peace. Its one of those lessons we need to learn over and over again. (Eric Croddy)


Why study chemical and biological warfare (CBW)? At the very lowest level, the topic lends itself to morbid curiosity. The scale on which "bugs and gas" can be used to kill people, and the way in which they cause death, can make for gruesome reading. Then there is the matter that these weapons are considered, rightly or wrongly, to be abominable, and those who wish to confirm that opinion will find in studying CBW plenty to abhor. Readers in these two categories are likely to be disappointed by what they will find in this book.

Fear is another motive for study. One can hardly read the paper or listen to the news today and not, sooner rather than later, hear reports about the belligerent nations, repressive regimes, and terrorist organizations that have access to, or are working on the development of, these weapons. The mere existence of CBW armaments, we are told, poses a significant threat to the stability of international order. Even if one believes that the nuclear stand-off between superpowers-the Balance of Terror that characterized the Cold War-is a thing of the past, we now have a whole new cast of characters to worry about. They are less well understood than our old adversary the Soviet Union, and less predictable. They operate as states (or sometimes "rogue states"), but also in the shadows, in league with networks of terrorists, global criminal enterprises, and splinter groups representing every conceivable type of fanaticism. And they will, it is almost certain, push us into a whole new kind of decades-long war. For readers arriving with this point of view, I hope this book will serve as a kind of corrective. It is not my belief that CBW armaments are benign, or that states and sub-state organizations are not wishing for or even planning chemical or biological attacks against the United States and the rest of the industrialized world. I am not someone who places great faith in the good will and sober judgment of, say, Saddam Hussein. In fact, if I were a betting man, I would put my money on the likelihood that we will see chemical or biological weapons attacks in the not-too-distant future. But where this book perhaps differs from some more popular discussions of the topic is in its argument, in its underlying theme, that biological and especially chemical attacks of any magnitude are extremely difficult to plan, develop, execute, and fund. Certainly it is true that a fanatical cult could release nerve agent on a crowded subway car, as happened in Tokyo in March 1995. And the ultimate splinter group, a single deranged individual, may be perfectly capable of killing, injuring, or incapacitating large numbers of individuals in any number of ways chemical or biological. If you add to these all the belligerent major powers, rogue states, and oppressive regimes worldwide (and factor in their client terrorist organizations as well), you can imagine no end of mischief-gas attacks, reservoir poisonings, anthrax outbreaks, and so forth. But what we have to do is dwell less on nightmare scenarios and try to learn-as calmly and clearly as possible-what CBW agents are, how they work, who has used them in the past, and what is being done to limit their proliferation. Fear may be a good motivator, but it is not, as far as I can tell, an aid to understanding.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into three major parts. In Part I, "Gas, Bugs, and Common Sense," there is a brief introduction to and definition of CBW (Chapter 1), including descriptions of why and how nation-states and "sub-states" (for example, terrorist organizations) develop chemical and biological weapons. Chapter 2 then lists, in a fairly straightforward manner, the nations that have CBW capabilities, along with brief descriptions of the particular agents they possess. In Chapter 3, we take a look at some of the threats we're likely and unlikely to face.

Part II is focused on chemical weapons. In Chapter 4, there are rather extensive descriptions and discussions of more than fifty of the best-known CW agents. Chapter 5 is a history of chemical warfare from ancient times to the present. And Chapter 6 discusses in detail the workings of the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), by all accounts one of the most effective international treaties written. (But not, as the chapter makes clear, without its limitations.) Included in the chapter is a lengthy discussion of the extremely difficult matter of verification, and the highs and lows of the international community's relationship with Iraq, an unwilling signer of the accord.

Part III, which more or less mirrors Part II, focuses on biological agents and weapons, with Chapter 7 describing more than forty biological agents in detail. Chapter 8 focuses on BW armaments in history, again covering a broad span. Chapter 9 covers the Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention of 1972 (BWTC), a work of the best intentions but not much good effect. (The success of the CWC and the comparative ineffectiveness of the BWTC are discussed in some detail.) Finally, a whole chapter (Chapter 10) is devoted to the issue of vaccinations and biological warfare.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews