In April of 1979, the city of Sverdlovsk, Russia, was struck by a frightening epidemic of anthrax. Sixty-eight people died. Was it due to tainted meat as the Soviet doctors claimed or could it have come from Military Compound 19 which was suspected of making biological weapons? In 1992 the author, acting as a medical anthropologist, traveled with a team of US doctors and researchers to Sverdlovsk to investigate the cause and extent of the anthrax outbreak. Guillemin located most of the families that experienced an anthrax death and was able to pinpoint where the deaths occurred. With information gleaned from hospital records the team is able to tell the truth of the events surrounding this tragedy.
Even though everything in this book is true, it reads like a medical mystery, complete with suspense, frustration and perserverence in hunting down clues. The book also prods the reader to consider the all-too-real prospect of biological warfare being used by terrorists or cults.
Reviewed by sc, 6/00. Other reviews by sc.