The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston
A True Story

81%

8 Critic Reviews

As with The Hot Zone, Preston writes with a chilling exactitude and precision that leaves little doubt of the deadly potential for smallpox. The book is very readable and, frankly, hard to put down once started.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

“The bard of biological weapons captures
the drama of the front lines.”

-Richard Danzig, former secretary of the navy


The first major bioterror event in the United States-the anthrax attacks in October 2001-was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the U.S. biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.

Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox-and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers-at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.

Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.
 

About Richard Preston

See more books from this Author
Michael Crichton has sold over 200 million books, which have been translated into thirty-six languages; thirteen of his books have been made into films. His novels include "Next", "State of Fear", "Timeline", "Jurassic Park", and "The Andromeda Strain". Also known as a filmmaker and the creator of "ER", he remains the only writer to have had the number-one book, movie, and TV show simultaneously. At the time of Crichton's death in 2008, he was well into the writing of "Micro"; Richard Preston was selected to complete the novel. Richard Preston is an internationally acclaimed best-selling author of eight books, including "The Hot Zone" and "The Wild Tree"s. Many of Preston's books have first appeared in "The New Yorker". He has won numerous awards, including the American Institute of Physics Award and the National Magazine Award, and he is the only person not a medical doctor to receive the Centers for Disease Control's Champion of Prevention Award for public health. He lives with his wife and three children near Princeton, New Jersey.
 
Published October 8, 2002 by Random House. 306 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, War, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 14 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Demon in the Freezer
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

Preston guides us deftly on another scary excursion (Hot Zone, 1994) into the world of really bad viruses—this time smallpox, with a side helping of anthrax.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 22 2016

..make this book as exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by HAROLD VARMUS on Nov 10 2002

Such uncertainty and unanswered questions dominate ''The Demon in the Freezer,'' making it as perplexing as the times. It is also a less satisfying tale than its predecessors.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T... | See more reviews from NY Times

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Deano on Apr 10 2003

As with The Hot Zone, Preston writes with a chilling exactitude and precision that leaves little doubt of the deadly potential for smallpox. The book is very readable and, frankly, hard to put down once started.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Fierman on Oct 11 2002

What Preston has crafted here is another ripping real-life horror story – one made all the more disturbing by his conclusion. We now know all too well that terror is no longer the domain solely of the impoverished and war-ravaged.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T...

Large Print Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness on Jan 08 2004

The Demon in The Freezer is a haunting, and important book. The issues presented in this work are applicable to any disease outbreak, and the threat posed by bioweapondry.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T...

Curled Up

Good
Reviewed by Barbara J. Martin on Feb 22 2016

...The Demon in the Freezer, Preston segues neatly from the genuine tragedy of the anthrax assault to the possible, deliberate spread of the highly contagious and deadly smallpox virus. This time, Preston explores a threat befitting his heated prose.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T...

She Treads Softly Blog

Above average
Reviewed by Lori L on Apr 13 2007

The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston is chilling reading during this age of bioweapons and fear over weapons of mass destruction.

Read Full Review of The Demon in the Freezer: A T...

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Aaron Marquez

Aaron Marquez 16 Feb 2016

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