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Book and Media Reviews
August 13, 2008

Bioviolence

JAMA. 2008;300(6):733-734. doi:10.1001/jama.300.6.733

In Bioviolence, Barry Kellman defines bioviolence as “the infliction of harm by the intentional manipulation of living micro-organisms or their natural products for hostile purposes” (p 1). Kellman argues that bioviolence is a serious threat, that “wise strategies” exist to effectively reduce this threat, and that important changes in global governance are required to enact such wise strategies.

The first section (chapters 1-3) outlines the threat. Chapter 2, which covers methods of bioviolence, will be of interest to clinicians for its comprehensiveness. However, it is not detailed enough to serve as a clinical reference. The strength of the section is chapter 3, in which the author provides a succinct and informative overview of past and potential bioviolence perpetrators. Much of the information here will be new even for readers who have read widely in the field. For instance, Kellman discusses Egypt's 1960s bioweapons program and updates the reader on unclassified information pertaining to the attempts of Al Qaeda to secure biological weapons.

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