Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory Info

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Nestled near the Hamptons, the fashionable summer playground
of America's rich and famous, and in the shadow of New York City, lies
an unimposing 840-acre island unidentified on most maps. On the few on
which it can be found, Plum Island is marked red or yellow, and stamped
U.S. government—restricted or dangerous animal diseases. Though
many people live the good life within a scant mile or two from its
shores, few know the name of this pork chop–shaped island. Even
fewer can say whether it is inhabited, or why it doesn't exist on the
map. That's all about to change.

Lab 257: The Disturbing Story
of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory
blows the
lid off the stunning true nature and checkered history of Plum Island.
It shows that the seemingly bucolic island on the edge of the largest
population center in the United States is a ticking biological time bomb
that none of us can safely ignore.

Based on innumerable
declassified government documents, scores of in-depth interviews, and
access to Plum Island itself, this is an eye-opening, suspenseful
account of a federal government germ laboratory gone terribly wrong. For
the first time, Lab 257 takes you deep inside this secret
world and presents startling revelations including virus outbreaks,
biological meltdowns, infected workers who were denied assistance in
diagnosis by Plum Island brass, the periodic flushing of contaminated
raw sewage into area waters, and the insidious connections between Plum
Island, Lyme disease, and the deadly 1999 West Nile virus
outbreak.

An exploration of the complex world of microbiology,
viruses, and bacteria, Lab 257 also shows how the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, which ran Plum Island for the last half
century, is far more than wholesome grade-A eggs and the food pyramid.
The book probes what's in store for Plum Island's new owner, the
Department of Homeland Security, in this age of bioterrorism. And for
those interested in questions of national security and safety, it is a
call to action for those concerned with protecting present and future
generations from preventable biological catastrophes.

Lab
257
will change forever our current understanding of Plum Island --
a place that is, in the words of one insider, "a biological Three Mile
Island."


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Reviews for Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory:

4

Oct 26, 2008


Michael C. Carroll - image from his site

Lab 257 is located on Plum Island off the eastern edge of Long Island. Established after the second World War (in part by an Operation Paperclip Nazi recruit) it has been involved in developing biological weaponry for decades. It began as an Army institution but is currently under the aegis of homeland security, having spent most of the last few decades under the Department of Agriculture, ostensibly as an investigator of animal diseases. The book tells
Michael C. Carroll - image from his site

Lab 257 is located on Plum Island off the eastern edge of Long Island. Established after the second World War (in part by an Operation Paperclip Nazi recruit) it has been involved in developing biological weaponry for decades. It began as an Army institution but is currently under the aegis of homeland security, having spent most of the last few decades under the Department of Agriculture, ostensibly as an investigator of animal diseases. The book tells of the various known, or suspected, leaks of evil substances that have occurred during its existence, the personnel involved in the management and running of the institution, the effect of privatization, relations with its Long Island neighbors and its potential culpability in various epidemics, including Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. Perhaps the most significant message here is that Plum Island and its labs are on the map to terrorists and are vulnerable to disruption. Should bad guys get their hands on materials held at Lab 257, the results could be disastrous, on a level with a nuclear attack. It is a well-researched book, with a host of interesting and alarming pieces of information. Despite plans for the feds to sell Plum Island it remains federal property.

=============================EXTRA STUFF

The author’s personal site.

Carroll is among several folks interviewed in this CBS news documentary about Plum Island

Visitors Day at Plum Island, circa 2009

There are plenty more such things to be found on Youtube. Be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands REALLY, REALLY WELL after you do. ...more
1

Jun 10, 2009

Since my dad was one of the last people to work in Lab 257, I'm super interested to read this. I've already stumbled upon some names I know and pictures I've seen, but honestly from what I've read, I can't help but feel like this is a piece of propaganda written by someone who just doesn't see the big picture. I could be wrong though. We'll see...

I'm about halfway through the book and I've enjoyed reading quotes from some of the people Dad used to work with. For the most part, there's been a lot Since my dad was one of the last people to work in Lab 257, I'm super interested to read this. I've already stumbled upon some names I know and pictures I've seen, but honestly from what I've read, I can't help but feel like this is a piece of propaganda written by someone who just doesn't see the big picture. I could be wrong though. We'll see...

I'm about halfway through the book and I've enjoyed reading quotes from some of the people Dad used to work with. For the most part, there's been a lot of history and the author is still stuck in the 70s with all the mistakes people who ran the island made at that time. A disturbing recurrance in this book that I'm catching on to is that the author is presenting his theories as fact, when in actuality, it has never been proven and there is no conclusive evidence that Lyme Disease, Swine Fever, West Nile, and Rift Valley Fever have spread rampantly because of Plum Island. In essence, he's blaming lots of problems and diseases solely on Plum, and trying to skew his research to point in that direction.

Right now, Plum Island is still in the process of fully decommissioning Lab 257, and they are taking every precaution in doing so. Needless to say, the information within this book is outdated.

Maybe if I was an outsider reading this book, I'd freak out a little bit and rant and rave that the place should be shut down, however, I have a bit of a different perspective on it since many people in the community I grew up in work there or used to work there. The scientists on Plum Island are the underground heros who protect our nation's livestock from Foot and Mouth Disease, Mad Cow Disease, and other biological terrors that could wipe out a country's agriculture industry. Not only are they working on finding cures to these awful diseases, but they are also trying to find correlations between how certain antibodies act on cancer and AIDS. They are very careful about the spread of germs and take every precaution to prevent germs from leaving the labs.

I would caution readers to look objectively at this book and remember that similar claims could be made against the CDC in Atlanta. It's all about perspective, and I think that Mr. Carroll's is a bit off, especially since he was only allowed to visit the island 6 times. In no way is that enough time or experience to give him the credibility to write about half a century's worth of scientific work in a secure laboratory environment. ...more
4

Sep 10, 2007

This book scared the holy hell out of me and I live nowhere near Plum Island. The island research facility is real, and so scary that it even shows up as a joke in Silence of the Lambs. Here, amid shoddy conditions and poor hazard containment, US government workers toyed around with countless deadly diseases and germs and tested both potential weapons and potential animal viruses as part of "defensive" planning. Possible links to numerous negative health effects to the surrounding community and This book scared the holy hell out of me and I live nowhere near Plum Island. The island research facility is real, and so scary that it even shows up as a joke in Silence of the Lambs. Here, amid shoddy conditions and poor hazard containment, US government workers toyed around with countless deadly diseases and germs and tested both potential weapons and potential animal viruses as part of "defensive" planning. Possible links to numerous negative health effects to the surrounding community and larger implications for the ethics of US studies into germ warfare make this book truly frightening and more gripping than any horror story. Though it isn't too far removed from the stuff of great fiction; Nelson Demille's "Plum Island" is centered around the very real facility described in this book.

NC ...more
1

Jan 25, 2009

I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is mostly a load of crap. First of all, the author is a lawyer, and obviously has no understanding of the science/medical stuff he is talking about. For instance, he describes a hypothetical situation where an arthropod with rift valley fever escapes the island and infects someone's dog, and the dog succumbs to the virus. First of all, rift valley fever is primarily a disease of ruminants (sheep, cattle, etc.) and if it infected a pregnant dog, yes I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is mostly a load of crap. First of all, the author is a lawyer, and obviously has no understanding of the science/medical stuff he is talking about. For instance, he describes a hypothetical situation where an arthropod with rift valley fever escapes the island and infects someone's dog, and the dog succumbs to the virus. First of all, rift valley fever is primarily a disease of ruminants (sheep, cattle, etc.) and if it infected a pregnant dog, yes the dog would probably abort, but the dog itself likely would survive. I do not know how Plum Island was run in the past, but I have been there within the last few years and the biosecurity measures are tight. Accidents happen, but with what I saw it is unlikely something would get out. Also, he talks about veterinarians like they are cold-hearted killers, specifically saying that they are better suited for research on animals because they, unlike medical doctors, do not take an oath to "first do no harm". Gimme a break. He makes the research facility and what goes on there sound extremely scary, but doesn't talk at all about the benefits of it. Anyway, I didn't even finish the book (got about three-fourths of the way through it) because it made me too angry and my husband suggested I just stop reading it. I think that was a good choice. ...more
5

Jan 16, 2015

Terrifying and enraging, to learn how many diseases are "lab-created" and what our immoral government, through many eras and different administrations does with these diseases! Also how moronic and totally inept these idiots are at keeping their hideous creations contained.

Not an easy book to read, but if you hate being surprised and conned as I do, by those in power, this book explains a lot.
3

Sep 18, 2019

So, this is a book.

This is a book about biological warfare with a particular focus on zoonotic diseases. More narrowly still, it is a book about Plum Island and the fact that research done there was definitively paid for by the army, concerned diseases that the island lacked the clearance to study, and was done so irresponsibly that it is a wonder we aren't in worse shape than we currently are. Bitten by Kris Newby lead me to this book. I kind of wish it hadn't.

The book is good, of that there So, this is a book.

This is a book about biological warfare with a particular focus on zoonotic diseases. More narrowly still, it is a book about Plum Island and the fact that research done there was definitively paid for by the army, concerned diseases that the island lacked the clearance to study, and was done so irresponsibly that it is a wonder we aren't in worse shape than we currently are. Bitten by Kris Newby lead me to this book. I kind of wish it hadn't.

The book is good, of that there is little doubt. While written a bit more dryly than I'd care for, the information contained herein is more than enough to keep one's interest. The information is horrifying, first person accounts disgusting. The level of negligence, even if it has been corrected now, went on far too long for there to be any justification of it.

I walked away from this book horrified and feeling helpless to do much about it. So uh, thanks? I guess that's what the book set out to do... For anyone with any history of Lyme Disease or knowing people who had it, well, give this book a try.

Same for CJD, Anthrax, and others. And don't we all know a little something about those? ...more
1

Dec 25, 2012

The author seems to have an axe to grind with Plum Island. This book is filled with scientific inaccuracies and wild assumptions. For example he postulates that Lyme Disease was released as a result of secret weapon research on the island, supported by absurd disease incident mapping and infection vectors rebutted by almost every respected Lyme Disease researcher. I finished it just to remind myself how important real verifiable research data is to true scientific reporting.
5

Mar 11, 2009

As someone who has lived a medical nightmare straight out of Michael Moore's Sicko this past year as a result of my Lyme Disease battle, I am finding this book immensely distressing.

Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, I am taking a breather to read The Bell Jar, which is a Winnie The Pooh story in comparison.
5

Feb 02, 2012

This book ranks right up there with Richard Preston's "The Hotzone" for keeping me up all night. The story of Plum Island should be required reading for every aspiring scientist and people interested in government inefficiency. The threat to our agriculture and food supply is real, and I admire the important work that people were trying to accomplish on the island, but I think it could have been handled better and more efficiently with better oversight. A cautionary tale to be sure.
4

May 16, 2015

Now if you want real horror for Halloween this is it! It is very hard to believe this.
1

Jan 02, 2017

All speculation and conspiracy theories. I was really hoping for some science and epidemiology.
4

Oct 05, 2008

Having had Lyme Disease most of my life, I took particular interest in this topic for years. I am chronic as the result of suffering this disease for 25 years before a doctor would believe me enough to order the test. This book helped me to understand the reason why the medical community so adamantly opposed testing me. It infuriated me, but at least I can understand their ignorance now. This book will scare the hell out of you. If you read the lines, and between them, you'll realize there is Having had Lyme Disease most of my life, I took particular interest in this topic for years. I am chronic as the result of suffering this disease for 25 years before a doctor would believe me enough to order the test. This book helped me to understand the reason why the medical community so adamantly opposed testing me. It infuriated me, but at least I can understand their ignorance now. This book will scare the hell out of you. If you read the lines, and between them, you'll realize there is much more going on behind the scenes even today. ...more
3

Dec 25, 2009

A very revealing book and very well researched. Carroll did us justice by providing us with an open door to one of the governments many well kept secrets. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because he left the conclusion unfinished. I feel that the author should have delved even deeper into the reasoning of the lab's heads as to how and why they thought it impossible for germs to escape Plum Island. Carroll was not too far off in his theories as to the connections between animal A very revealing book and very well researched. Carroll did us justice by providing us with an open door to one of the governments many well kept secrets. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because he left the conclusion unfinished. I feel that the author should have delved even deeper into the reasoning of the lab's heads as to how and why they thought it impossible for germs to escape Plum Island. Carroll was not too far off in his theories as to the connections between animal diseases on Plum Island and various symptoms that appeared in animals and humans in the surrounding areas. It is a start, but Carroll, left a large amount of the story unfinished, and failed to explain to us why the facility as well as the U.S. government did not completely comply with the public as to why the island was not one hundred percent quarantined. This book demands a follow up! ...more
2

Jan 14, 2008

While the subject matter will certainly find an audience with anyone interested in virology/bioweapons programs, the book itself is sorely lacking. The subject matter is scientific, and should have been approached as such--objectively. Instead Mr. Carroll deals with the subject matter in a very subjective manner, although he assures the reader that he intends to portray the Plum Island facility from all sides.

My greatest frustrations with the book stem from his poor grasp of the science. The While the subject matter will certainly find an audience with anyone interested in virology/bioweapons programs, the book itself is sorely lacking. The subject matter is scientific, and should have been approached as such--objectively. Instead Mr. Carroll deals with the subject matter in a very subjective manner, although he assures the reader that he intends to portray the Plum Island facility from all sides.

My greatest frustrations with the book stem from his poor grasp of the science. The subject matter experts he often cited were usually portrayed as "establishment" types trying to guard the secrets of their dark cabal.

In short, the book was amateurish and lacking in the type of scientific credibility that sets books like "Virus X", or "Germs" leagues apart. ...more
3

Sep 15, 2011

Overall, I found this to be a well-written and seemingly well-researched book about Plum Island. Just as with "Area 51" I think you need to take the book with a grain of salt; you can never know how truthful former employees are in their accounts of events.

I have no doubt there are germs on the island that the public will never be told about. I am equally certain that there were containment issues that the public will never be told about. I appreciate the DHS's need to keep Overall, I found this to be a well-written and seemingly well-researched book about Plum Island. Just as with "Area 51" I think you need to take the book with a grain of salt; you can never know how truthful former employees are in their accounts of events.

I have no doubt there are germs on the island that the public will never be told about. I am equally certain that there were containment issues that the public will never be told about. I appreciate the DHS's need to keep projects/experiments/inventories classified. I don't appreciate, however, the egregious safety lapses that have been allowed to happen and were not corrected.

After reading this I am all for the shutdown of Plum Island and the subsequent opening of a biosafety level 4 facility in Manhattan, KS. (I read about that in C&EN recently.) I would hope that bringing the research facility to the mainland and starting from scratch would lead to more accountability, a safety-conscious culture, and an adequate budget. I think this research needs to be done, but it needs to be done safely. Developing a vaccine isn't terribly useful if you accidentally infect the population before you successfully make the vaccine. ...more
3

Aug 17, 2013

The start of this book is ready easy to summarize: "The government lied to us." Or more completely: The government lied to us about this deadly disease laboratory, and several especially virulent diseases now found in the US spread from there. And they did it for decades. As I began reading, the details seemed a bit tedious, but I suppose that's what happens when you research something that is being hidden - you have to present whatever information you can find. As the book went on that feeling The start of this book is ready easy to summarize: "The government lied to us." Or more completely: The government lied to us about this deadly disease laboratory, and several especially virulent diseases now found in the US spread from there. And they did it for decades. As I began reading, the details seemed a bit tedious, but I suppose that's what happens when you research something that is being hidden - you have to present whatever information you can find. As the book went on that feeling left me and I was more interested in seeing the drama unfold. Early in the book we are introduced to a host of incurable diseases: Lyme disease, Elboa, Rift Valley, Hoof and Mouth, and others. There we have a concentrated supply of them less than 2 miles from a major US population center, and right in a hurricane path.

There is lots of tragedy in here - of people's lives damaged as a new administration ignores basic safety.

"After the meltdown, with no help from Plum Island and no diagnosis from his doctor, Shine turned to the one person who could help him recover - his wife, Fran. 'My best doctor was my wife. She took all these books out of the local library, and threw away my meds.' Fran put him on a strict regimen of exercise, good food, and positive thinking, and he slowly regained himself. To this very day he has no idea what his illness was. A possibility is one of the feared 'slow' viruses, so named not for the tempo of virus growth, but for the protracted time of the disease's course, which can be months or years." (Page 211)

The Soviets knew what was going on. (Chapter 14)

Speaking of the Russians: "In 1976, the average U.S. farm worker fed 52 mouths, while the Russian worker fed only seven; livestock production per animal was up 130 percent from the previous fifty years. ... The USDA has accomplished this growth through proselytizing the new religion of science with an uncanny blind faith, ignoring any fallout over the last half century. It claimed that DDT would not contaminate the wildlife and marine ecosystem. Thanks in large part to Rachel Carson, the USDA now admits that it does. The USDA championed chemical pesticides ... But now, it grudgingly admits the chemicals are infused into the food products people eat, and wreak havoc upon wildlife. ... said that fertilizer nitrates ... would never reach groundwater aquifers. Today, the USDA admits that nitrates have seeped into and blighted potable water supplies in dangerous concentrations. ... The USDA promoted dieldrin ... to eliminate the Argentinean fire ant. ... 'The lost war against the fire ants should have been a cautionary, ... instead it typified a mind-set that substituted faith in science and bureaucratic expertise for common sense.' " (Page 232)

The author is not a professional author nor investigative journalist. This is something he cared deeply enough about to spend 7 years putting it together. And that is what makes the book interesting. (page 288)
...more
4

Oct 30, 2019

I read this out of concern for existential risks, among which I recently understood is included biowarfare.

This book seems to be backed by a great deal of personal interest, although to my eye it also has a very great share of speculation. I don't find that the difference will influence my personal behavior, and I am happy to treat it as a historical fiction at times.

The attack surface for agricultural terrorism and biological weaponry is quickly approaching the scale of the individual given a I read this out of concern for existential risks, among which I recently understood is included biowarfare.

This book seems to be backed by a great deal of personal interest, although to my eye it also has a very great share of speculation. I don't find that the difference will influence my personal behavior, and I am happy to treat it as a historical fiction at times.

The attack surface for agricultural terrorism and biological weaponry is quickly approaching the scale of the individual given a low investment of time. Conversely, this work discusses many of the ways that it can be very difficult to pursue defensive or preventive measures.

Reading this has enhanced in me the idea that there are certain things which are very difficult to defend against. At times, it can require true works of engineering to respond to individual circumstances: yet just as with the problem of curing cancer, defending against mutation and design is not just a moving target, but a swarm.

While it is always impressive to come up with new solutions for important problems, it is at times yet more impressive to bungle things to the degree that is depicted here. This lab faced an important problem, worthy of and especially demanding a very stringent standard, and is instead being utilized as an escape route for certain people's careers.

This satisfied my desire to know more about what will destroy us all.

It may not even be intent! As with many past civilizations, it may be by accident; unlike them, we may be able to blight the Earth. ...more
5

Aug 13, 2017

After the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK was shown to be the result this virus’s escape from one of two nearby research labs, I thought it was timely to review a book that investigates this same occurrence in the United States. Lab 257: the Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory (NYC: William Morrow; 2004) by Michael Christopher Carroll, is the riveting story of an animal disease research lab located on an 840-acre island that is only two After the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK was shown to be the result this virus’s escape from one of two nearby research labs, I thought it was timely to review a book that investigates this same occurrence in the United States. Lab 257: the Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory (NYC: William Morrow; 2004) by Michael Christopher Carroll, is the riveting story of an animal disease research lab located on an 840-acre island that is only two miles from Long Island, New York, and Olde Lyme, Connecticut, and a mere 85 miles from Manhattan. This book tells the frightening story about this government lab’s spotted history and also reveals that Plum Island Animal Disease Research Laboratory, which is home to many of the deadliest germs known to man, is about as safe as the average high school biology lab.

African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, anthrax, mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, West Nile virus … this lab is home to all these deadly microbes and more. The reason? One of the primary targets for terrorists is to infect a nation’s livestock with dangerous microbes so they can cause widespread famine and panic. Thus, since the end of World War II, our government has been busily researching the bacteria and viruses that can be used to accomplish this goal. To that end, Plum Island’s two research labs, Lab 101 and Lab 257, were designed and established by two men: William Hagan, a veterinarian and former dean of Cornell University’s veterinary school who developed the first weapons-grade strain of anthrax known as Strain 99; and Erich Traub, a Nazi germ warfare expert who worked for Heinrich Himmler and who was allegedly smuggled into the United States in 1949 to work with the CIA, Army, Navy and the USDA.

Currently overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, Plum Island’s stated purpose was to study animal diseases that could threaten our livestock and to design vaccines against them. But the real purpose of Plum Island is to study dangerous animal diseases with the goal of weaponizing them for use against the livestock in other countries — originally the Soviet Union — while protecting our own livestock from such attacks.

Relying on interviews with current and former employees of the labs and with nearby residents, Carroll does his homework by documenting that Plum Island is an astonishingly insecure facility. The author follows the fortunes of Plum Island from its inception, explores how the labs went from the US Army’s jurisdiction to that of the USDA and then to the Department of Homeland Security, and details how many aspects of the labs’ daily maintenance was later sold to the lowest civilian bidder, thus causing the research program to decline in its standards and level of biosafety. Further, Lab 257 reveals instances of gross negligence in biosecurity and of ailing workers who were denied diagnostic assistance by their employers.

Most interesting and troubling to birdwatchers and other outdoors-y types is the author’s investigation into the unproven but nonetheless highly suspicious connections between Plum Island and the sudden appearance of Dutch duck plague (1967), Lyme disease (1975) and West Nile virus (1999) on the East Coast. All of these disease outbreaks were first documented within a few miles of the labs. Further, as if the appearance of these foreign disease organisms are not incriminating enough, the sudden and inexplicable appearance of the Lone Star Tick in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should be, because this sedentary tick species was formerly confined to the state of Texas. Despite the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s repeated denials of their work with these organisms at Plum Island, there are documents that reveal otherwise. However, even if the government denials are true, these many coincidences are, in my opinion, just too numerous not to be viewed with great suspicion.

This readable 255-page book is carefully researched and documented, including a separate 30-page section of source notes detailing interviews, news stories and other printed source materials along with the author’s own Freedom of Information Act requests for various documents. The book also has a separate inset section containing 30 black and white images, and also embeds within the text several maps of Plum Island, the Eastern flyways followed by migratory birds, and a blueprint for the first floor of Lab 101.

I do have several criticisms. First, the book lacks a glossary and footnotes, which makes it difficult at times to identify the precise source for some of the information presented in the text. I was also disappointed that, after the big build-up at the end of the book, the author did not write more about the aftermath of Hurricane Bob and the power outage that it caused. How did Plum Island clean up the resulting mess? What was the reaction of upper management to the hurricane? Additionally, why was author denied further access to the island after he had already made six visits — he only mentioned that he was denied access by the government due to reasons of “national security”. And one last thing .. perhaps this is nit-picking on the part of a birdwatcher, but I was really annoyed that the author repeatedly referred to Canada geese as “Canadian” geese. Did he talk with any knowledgeable birders or ornithologists while writing this book? If he had, they would have immediately corrected his usage of that erroneous common name.

Nevertheless, in spite the book’s shortcomings, I think Lab 257 presents an eye-opening look into the very real and ever-present dangers of germ warfare research, of government secrecy, and the gross arrogance and lack of responsibility enjoyed by many of our politicians and government officials. I think Carroll forms the basis for an important argument that homeland security should begin at home; it is essential that our government spend the money necessary to improve biosecurity in this nation’s research laboratories and that it carefully monitor every vial of dangerous microbes, so we can avoid dangerous epidemics of our own making.


NOTE: Originally published at scienceblogs.com on 30 August 2007. ...more
3

Apr 25, 2019

I'm not a huge conspiracy theorist, so this book isn't really up my alley in general. But I do treat a lot of Lyme Disease (as an ND), and I'd been wondering why it had become so common. This book describes an island off the coast of New York, Plum Island, where biological warfare research has been going on since WWII. It launches allegations that many epidemics over the decades have entered the general population due to increasingly lax security on Plum Island. I can't say whether it convinced I'm not a huge conspiracy theorist, so this book isn't really up my alley in general. But I do treat a lot of Lyme Disease (as an ND), and I'd been wondering why it had become so common. This book describes an island off the coast of New York, Plum Island, where biological warfare research has been going on since WWII. It launches allegations that many epidemics over the decades have entered the general population due to increasingly lax security on Plum Island. I can't say whether it convinced me or not, since I did a lot of skimming--I just wanted to get the rough gist of the argument. It seems plausible, I'll say that much. ...more
3

Sep 08, 2008

I recall reading Nelson DeMille's Plum Island but didn't think there was an actual island. This author was interviewed on the Geraldo Riviera show last week and he gave an eye opening account of the security lapses on the island. Since the 1950s the island has been host to hoof and mouth disease, Rift Valley Fever, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and other hot agents. The facility was originally created to counter the anti-crop and anti-livestock diseases other countries after WW II were I recall reading Nelson DeMille's Plum Island but didn't think there was an actual island. This author was interviewed on the Geraldo Riviera show last week and he gave an eye opening account of the security lapses on the island. Since the 1950s the island has been host to hoof and mouth disease, Rift Valley Fever, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and other hot agents. The facility was originally created to counter the anti-crop and anti-livestock diseases other countries after WW II were developing. However, the author feels the island's migratory birds, mosquitos, other insects, and escaping animals have spread the disease to the mainland. It's a pretty scary read, not quite as riveting as Hot Zone. I'm just surprised that PETA hadn't parked themselves on their doorstep over the years. One startling revelation was that in 2002 when they arrested a terrorist in his home in Pakistan, they found maps and other info on Plum Island. ...more
4

Jun 02, 2007

Crazy book that details what's been going happening on an island less than 10 miles from me...Plum Island...

The book is a little slow reading, b/c of its nature I think, or b/c I'm a slow reader, but is VERY interesting.

I find it astonishing that an island that is in charge of working with the world's deadliest viruses is a stone's throw away, and that they take about as much precaution from danger as a hot dog shop in Topeka, KS.

I would recommend this book if you're looking to learn about the Crazy book that details what's been going happening on an island less than 10 miles from me...Plum Island...

The book is a little slow reading, b/c of its nature I think, or b/c I'm a slow reader, but is VERY interesting.

I find it astonishing that an island that is in charge of working with the world's deadliest viruses is a stone's throw away, and that they take about as much precaution from danger as a hot dog shop in Topeka, KS.

I would recommend this book if you're looking to learn about the NYC area... ...more
3

Feb 29, 2012

content-wise, this book was 5 stars. it was incredibly interesting & gave me a lot to think about, i learned a lot about virus & disease research done by the gov't that i had not been aware of before. however, the writing itself was kinda dull & tough to muddle through in some places. however, it is an unbiased account. i do not get a "conspiracy theorist" vibe from the way the material is presented, just a statement of facts that you are then allowed to process & infer as you content-wise, this book was 5 stars. it was incredibly interesting & gave me a lot to think about, i learned a lot about virus & disease research done by the gov't that i had not been aware of before. however, the writing itself was kinda dull & tough to muddle through in some places. however, it is an unbiased account. i do not get a "conspiracy theorist" vibe from the way the material is presented, just a statement of facts that you are then allowed to process & infer as you please ...more
3

Oct 22, 2013

I heard about this book from a friend who lives in Old Lyme. Can't say that I'm shocked the the U.S. gov't had a facility to "study" biological/germ warfare, but definitely shocked that it was on an island just off the tip of Long Island! The book is thoroughly researched, and the content is eye-opening, but unfortunately the writing was disjointed and read more like a thesis. If I could, I'd give the story 4 stars, and the writing 2.
4

Mar 26, 2008

I am now more afraid of governmental arrogance and incompetence than I will ever be of foreign terrorists. This is pretty scary and controversial stuff.

"Strictly off limits to the public, Plum Island is home to virginal beaches, cliffs, forests, ponds...and the deadliest germs that ever roamed the Earth."
2

Jan 09, 2012

I started this book expecting something similar to The Hot Zone or Panic in Level 4, both excellent books by Robert Preston. Instead, this book reads like a sensationalist treatment of similar subject matter. The narrative seemed to lack real substance, and was not backed up well by multiple sources the way good investigative journalism should be. As a consequence, I quickly lost interest.

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