Germs. They are too small to see with the naked eye, but they have killed more human beings than all the wars in history.

Before humans even knew that germs caused disease, they knew disease could be a weapon of war.

“Germ Warfare” traces the long, brutal story of those microscopic weapons. From the infected arrows of Bronze Age archers, to the plague factories of World War 2, up through the biological arms race of the Cold War into our modern age of genetically manipulated terrorism.

This graphic history is both a lesson from the past and a warning for the future. It reminds us never to take public health for granted, because we never know when, or how, the next pandemic will rise.


Max Brooks is the author of the novels ‘World War Z,” “Minecraft: The Island” and the graphic novel “The Harlem Hellfighters.” He is a non resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point and the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.


The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to comprehensively assess U.S. biodefense efforts and issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Panel’s fiscal sponsor.

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