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Biological & Chemical Warfare

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  1. 10.8 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    On a tranquil summer night in July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Nicknamed the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” Y-12 was reputedly one of the most secure nuclear weapons facilities in the world, a bastion of warhead parts that harbored hundreds of metric tons of highly-enriched uranium—enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs. The activists—a house painter, a Vietnam veteran, and an eighty-two-year-old Catholic nun—penetrated the complex’s exterior with alarming ease; their strongest tools were two pairs of bolt cutters and three hammers. Once inside, the pacifists hung freshly spray-painted protest banners and streaked the complex’s white walls with six baby bottles’ worth of human blood. Then they waited to be arrested. With the symbolic break-in, the Plowshares activists had hoped to draw attention to a costly military-industrial complex that stockpiled deadly nukes and drones. But they also triggered a political, legal, and moral firestorm when they defeated a multimillion-dollar security system. What if they had been terrorists with a deadly motive? Why does the United States continue to possess such large amounts of nuclear weaponry in the first place? And above all, are we safe? In Almighty, Washington Post reporter Dan Zak explores these questions by reexamining America’s love-hate relationship with the bomb, from the race to achieve atomic power before the Nazis did to the solemn seventieth anniversary of Hiroshima. At a time of concern about proliferation in such nations as Iran and North Korea, the US arsenal is plagued by its own security problems. This life-or-death quandary is unraveled in Zak’s eye-opening account, with a cast that includes the biophysicist who first educated the public on atomic energy, the prophet who predicted the creation of Oak Ridge, the generations of activists propelled into resistance by their faith, and the Washington bureaucrats and diplomats who are trying to keep the world safe. Part historical adventure, part courtroom drama, part moral thriller, Almighty reshapes the accepted narratives surrounding nuclear weapons and shows that our greatest modern-day threat remains a power we discovered long ago.

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    Almighty by Dan Zak

    Almighty

    10.8 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 18.4 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged

    The definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51. No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department’s most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history about the organization, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or “the Pentagon’s brain,” from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present. This is the book on DARPA—a compelling narrative about this clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.

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    The Pentagon’s Brain

    18.4 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 11.9 hrs • 5/10/2005 • Unabridged

    In February 1945, 350 American POWs captured earlier at the Battle of the Bulge or elsewhere in Europe were singled out by the Nazis because they were Jews or were thought to resemble Jews. They were transported in cattle cars to Berga, a concentration camp in eastern Germany, and put to work as slave laborers, mining tunnels for a planned underground synthetic-fuel factory. This was the only incident of its kind during World War II. Starved and brutalized, the GIs were denied their rights as prisoners of war, their ordeal culminating in a death march that was halted by liberation near the Czech border. Twenty percent of these soldiers—more than seventy of them—perished. After the war, Berga was virtually forgotten, partly because it fell under Soviet domination and partly because America’s Cold War priorities quickly changed, and the experiences of these Americans were buried. Now, for the first time, their story is told in all its blistering detail. This is the story of hell in a small place over a period of nine weeks, at a time when Hitler’s Reich was crumbling but its killing machine still churned. It is a tale of madness and heroism, and of the failure to deliver justice for what the Nazis did to these Americans. Among those involved: William Shapiro, a young medic from the Bronx, hardened in Normandy battles but, as a prisoner, unable to help the Nazis’ wasted slaves, whose bodies became as insubstantial as ghosts; Hans Kasten, a defiant German-American who enraged his Nazi captors by demanding, in vain, that his fellow U.S. prisoners be treated with humanity, thus committing the unpardonable sin of betraying his German roots; Morton Goldstein, a garrulous GI from New Jersey, shot dead by the Nazi in charge of the American prisoners in an incident that would spark intense debate at a postwar trial; and Mordecai Hauer, the orphaned Hungarian Jew who, after surviving Auschwitz, stumbled on the GIs in the midst of the Holocaust at Berga and despaired at the sight of liberators becoming slaves. Roger Cohen uncovers exactly why the U.S. government did not aggressively prosecute the commandants of Berga, why there was no particular recognition for the POWs and their harsh treatment in the postwar years, and why it took decades for them to receive proper compensation. Soldiers and Slaves is an intimate, intensely dramatic story of war and of a largely forgotten chapter of the Holocaust.

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    Soldiers and Slaves

    11.9 hrs • 5/10/05 • Unabridged
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  4. 12.0 hrs • 12/1/2002 • Unabridged

    Saddam’s Bombmaker is the true saga of one man’s journey through the circles of hell. Educated at MIT and Florida State University, dedicated to a life of peaceful teaching in America, Iraqi scientist Dr. Khidhir Hamza relates how Saddam’s regime ordered him home, seduced him into a pampered life as an atomic energy official, and forced him to design a bomb. The price of refusal was torture. With the cynical help of US, French, German, and British suppliers and experts, he secretly developed Baghdad’s nuclear bomb and kept it hidden from UN inspectors after the Gulf War. The tale of his escape, his first bungled contact with CIA agents, and his flight abroad will keep listeners riveted toward a climax worthy of a well-crafted spy thriller.

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    Saddam’s Bombmaker by Khidir Hamza

    Saddam’s Bombmaker

    By Khidhir Hamza, with Jeff Stein
    12.0 hrs • 12/1/02 • Unabridged
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  5. 9.7 hrs • 7/1/2002 • Unabridged

    Smallpox, the only infectious disease to have been eradicated, was one of the most terrifying of human scourges. It covered the skin with hideous, painful boils, killed a third of its victims, and left the survivors disfigured for life. In this riveting, often terrifying look at the history of smallpox, Jonathan B. Tucker tells the story of this deadly disease, the heroic efforts to eradicate it worldwide, and the looming dangers it still poses today. Beginning in the sixteenth century, smallpox afflicted rich and poor alike, repeatedly altering the course of human history. No vaccine existed until 1796, when an English country doctor named Edward Jenner developed one. While this vaccination banished the virus from industrialized countries, smallpox remained a major cause of death in the developing world. Finally, in 1967, the World Health Organization launched an intensified global campaign to eradicate smallpox worldwide. By early 1978, the disease had been eliminated. During the 1980s, Soviet leaders cynically exploited the world’s new vulnerability to smallpox by mass-producing the virus as a strategic weapon. In recent years, concern over the possible return of smallpox has taken an even greater urgency with the realization that clandestine stocks of the virus may still exist.

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    Scourge by Jonathan B. Tucker

    Scourge

    9.7 hrs • 7/1/02 • Unabridged
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  6. 6.2 hrs • 11/1/2001 • Abridged

    Deadly germs sprayed in shopping malls, bomblets spewing anthrax sporesover battlefields, tiny vials of plague scattered in Times Square -- these are the poor man's hydrogen bombs, hideous weapons of mass destruction that can be made in a simple laboratory. Germs uncovers the truth about biological weapons and shows why bio-warfare and bio-terrorism are fast becoming our worst national nightmare. Based on hundreds of interviews with scientists and senior officials -- including President Clinton and defectors from the former Soviet Union's sinister bio weapons labs -- as well as recently declassified documents, Germs shows is bioo-warriors past and present at work at their trade. A frightening and unforgetable narrative of cutting-edge science and spycraft, Germs shows us why advances in biology and the spread of germ weapons expertise to such countries as Iran, Iraq, and North Korea could make germs the weapon of the twenty-first century.

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    Germs

    6.2 hrs • 11/1/01 • Abridged
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