Review of The Languages of Nightmares by Dr.
Andrew L. Ternay, ISBN 0-9619806-4-8 can be purchased from the
The Tattered Cover in Denver (303 322-7727) and Amazon.com.
List USA $15.95, Canada $22.00
The Languages of Nightmares is an appropriate title
for such a timely, well-conceived and prepared book.
With the advent of terrorism within our shores, there are
many buzzwords that strike terror in our hearts.
is the perpetration of physical or mental harm, stress and
fear to civilian populations. Its goal is the
destruction of our infrastructure and economy for political
or social gain. Some of these objectives have already
been achieved. Even the mere threat of terrorist
activity can have a major impact on society. The press
has also capitalized on this frenzy by sensational reporting
of these events or threat of events by using scary buzzwords describing the threat, act or consequences of the act.
What do all of these
scary words mean? Dr. Andrew Ternay, the Founder and
Director of Chemical Sciences of the Rocky Mountain Center
for Homeland Defense, has done an excellent job in
articulating the definitions of many of these terms in
The Language of Nightmares. Based on his extensive
knowledge and experience in the fields of chemical and
biological defense, Dr. Ternay has translated many of the
technical terms and acronyms into everyday language.
This book is an
absolute must for everyone to read so that we can understand
the language we hear daily. We are all now on the
Harry Salem, Ph.D.
Journal of Applied Toxicology
Chemical Soldiers British Gas Warfare in World War I, Donald Richter,
University Press of Kansas, 1992, 282 pages. (ISBN
This book packs into sixteen chapters a large amount of
history and humanity. Its six-page index makes that
information rather easy to access. The appended materials
include a useful set of abbreviations, an extensive set of
notes and references, as well as some other items. The book
includes nearly three dozen informative photographs and maps
(b&w) as well as a useful bibliography.
After a brief introductory chapter, Chemical Soldiers opens with a chapter ("The Germans Do It First") that
presents early French activities linked to chemical warfare
(cw), several unsuccessful attempts to use cw agents by
Germany, a peek into the role of Fritz Haber (Nobel laureate
in chemistry) during this early period, and the early
response of the British to the threat. The second chapter
("Decision to Retaliate") presents glimpses of Winston
Churchill, Lord Thomas Cochrane ("[the British]
father of modern chemical warfare"), Charles Foulkes, and
others, as the British prepare their response. Several
chapters lead to the first British chemical attack at Loos
(Chapter 6). The presentation includes comments by those
who were in the field at the time, portions of some battle
plans, and sketches of the equipment that was used. The
interplay of soldier, weapon, fear, courage, heroism and
ignorance is woven throughout this book. I found it
particularly interesting to learn how "conscience" played a
role (or was ignored) in deciding what actions to take
during World War I and how this ephemeral quality played a
varying role as the war progressed.
What isn't in the book? To this chemist the most obvious
absence was the discussion of the chemistry of these cw
agents. If you are interested in a detailed discussion of
the chemistry of early cw agents then I cannot recommend
this book. I didn't read Chemical Soldiers to learn
chemistry. Rather, I read it to learn about the history,
the culture and the people surrounding the use of chemicals
in WWI. I read it to learn about the technology related to
early chemical warfare and the problems that confronted the
soldiers, engineers and civilians who had to create,
release, control and/or confront "poison gas." If your
goals are related to mine then I would urge you to read this
well-written account of one aspect of what has been dubbed
"the chemist's war." Finally, it must be noted that many of
the chemicals considered for use as chemical warfare agents
during WWI still loom as potential terrorist weapons.
Ternay, Jr., Ph.D.
Inhalation Toxicology, 2nd Edition
Edited by Harry Salem and Sidney A. Katz
Publisher: Taylor and Francis, 2006
This is a well-produced tome of over 1100 pages (forty chapters). The size of the book, while necessary for the amount of material, does not lend itself to easy transportation. The editors have selected as authors experts from a range of backgrounds including the military, industry, academia, medical school, and consulting. Part I (Chs.1-10; pp. 3-228) focuses upon “Methods and Measurements,” Part II (Chs. 11-25; pp. 231-620) upon “Methods,” Part III (Chs. 26-34; pp, 623-910) upon “Toxicology of Materials,” and, Part IV (Ch. 35-40; pp. 913-1015) “Toxicology of Bioaerosols.” I sometimes found myself wondering what were the criteria for placing chapters in various Parts of the book, especially Parts I and II.
While the book is better thought of as a reference volume than as a textbook, there are portions that, when taken together, would clearly be of value as potential texts. For example, I imagine that Parts I and II, with a total of 620 pages, would make a fine textbook to present the technology and methodology of the area.
A number of these chapters discuss various topics related to chemical and biological warfare/terrorism. These include, but are not limited to, Ch. 5 (Low-Level Effects of VX Exposure on Pupil Size and Cholinesterase Levels in Rats [Benton, Sommerville, Anthony, Crosier, Jakubowski, Whalley, Dabisch, Hulet, Matson, Crouse, Mioduszdewski and Thomson]); Ch. 11 (Toxicogenomics of Low-Level Nerve Agent Exposure [Sekowski]); Ch. 18 (Toxicokinetics: Deposition, Absorption, Distribution, and Excretion [Inchiosa]); Ch.20 ([Inhalation Toxicology of an Irritant Gas – Historical Perspectives, Current Research and Case Studies of Phosgene Exposure [Sciuto]); Ch. 22 ( Chemical Warfare Agents and Nuclear Weapons [Elsayed and Salem]); and Ch.38 (Inhalation Toxicity of Botulinum Neurotoxin [Adler]). In adition to these are found fine Chapters devoted to riot control agents (Salem, Ballantyne and Katz), hydrogen cyanide vapor (Ballantyne and Salem); emerging biothreats (Mann and Connell), ricin (Wannemacher and Anderson; and molds (Ward, Chung and Selgrade). The final chapter (“Toxicity, Mechanisms, Prophylaxis and Therapy of Inhaled Biological Toxins” [Paddle]) is an appropriate capstone to this volume.
All of the chapters represent valuable contributions and can provide the novice with a meaningful introduction to a range of topics and the “pro” with meaningful reviews and insights.
Were there any errors in the volume? A few, but nothing that would be considered catastrophic. While I realize why they are not included, it is unfortunate that contact information (e.g. e-mail addresses) for the authors is not provided.
This book belongs on the bookshelves/library of anyone working in the area of inhalation toxicology. It also should be available to those who need this type of information but are neither researchers nor practitioners.
Andrew L. Ternay, Jr. Ph.D., Research Professor and
Founder, Rocky Mountain Center for Homeland Defense/Security
University of Denver
A Reading List
For the general public
Provides an overview of WMDs
1. The Language of Nightmares, A. L. Ternay, Jr., Simpler Life Press, ISBN 0-9619806, Oct., 2003.
Covers American bioweapons lab at Plum Island
2. Lab 257, M. M. Carroll, Harper-Collins Publishers, ISBN 0-06-001141-6, 2004.
Covers Soviet bioweapons program
3. Biohazard, K. Alibek (with S. Handelman), Dell Publishing, ISBN 0-385-33496-6, 2000.
Covers the impact of disease on history
4. Armies of Pestilence, R. S. Bray, Barnes and Noble Books, ISBN 0-7607-1915-2, 2000.
A biography of Fritz Haber
5. Fritz Haber, D. Stoltzenberg, Chemical Heritage Press, ISBN 0-941901-24-6, 2004.
Covers chemical and biological weapons in the ancient world
6. Greek Fire, Poison Arrows and Scorpion Bombs. Overlook Duckworth, ISBN 1-58567-348-X, 2003.
Covers chemical warfare in WWI
7. Chemical Soldiers – British Gas Warfare in World War I, D. Richter, University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0544-4, 1992.
Covers most countries and their WMDs (including nuclear)
8. Deadly Arsenals, Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction. J. Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ISBN 0-87003-193-7, 2002.
Covers a range of topics from historic to current
9. Chemical and Biological Warfare: A Reference Handbook, A. Mauroni, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1-85109-482-2, 2003.
For the medical professional
10. Medical Management of Chemical Casualties Handbook, Chemical Casualty Care Division, USAMRICD, MCMR-UV-ZM, 3100 Ricketts Point Road, APG, MD 21010-5400, 1999. (Small and compact.)
11. Textbook of Military Medicine-Part I. Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Office of the Surgeon General at TMM Publications, Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001, 1997.
12. Physician’s Guide to Terrorist Attack, M. J. Roy, ed., Humana Press, Totowa, N.J., 2004.
13. “Best Practices and Guidelines for Mass Personnel Decontamination,” cbrncsubgroup@TSWG.gov., 2003, limited distribution!