Reviews of The United States and Biological Warfare: secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea

1. Peter Pringle, in The Nation, 3 May 1999

 "...Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman have produced the most impressive, expertly researched and, as far as the official files allow, the best-documented case for the prosecution yet made....unique access to top-secret Chinese archives...lends the book credibility from an entirely new angle....Indeed, their book shows in alarming detail how the United States was doggedly developing an array of biological weapons for offensive purposes at a time when the public was being told the arsenal was purely defensive."

1. KIRKUS Review, December 1, 1998:

 "An expose of a little-known and shameful episode in American military history.
Much has been made of the fact that the Japanese military during WWII resorted to the use of biological and chemical weapons, in violation of international law. Asian history specialist Endicott and military historian Hagerman, both professors at York University (Canada), together reveal that immediately after WWII, the US army picked up where the Japanese military left off, using testing facilities in Yokohama and Kyoto to find ways of turning plague, cholera, anthrax, undulant fever, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, typus, and tularemia against the newfound Communist enemy. Lt. General Yujiro Wakamatsu, commander of the notorious Unit 100, which tested biological weapons on Chinese prisoners during WWII, found work as a research scientist in the principal American laboratory; so did many other Japanese scientists granted immunity for their wartime crimes. In 1952, the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai accused the US of conducting biological warfare in Korea--of dropping bombs, for instance, "containing live insects of various descriptions and rotten fish, decaying pork, frogs, and rodents." Drawing on recently declassified documents, the authors lend credence to Zhou's charge, which the US denied at the time. (Among other things cited here is an approving letter of 1953 from President Harry S. Truman suggesting "that had the war in the Pacific not ended by mid-August 1945, [Truman] would have used biological as well as chemical weapons.") A number of villains turn up in Endicott and Hagerman's fast-paced narrative, among them key figures in American defense, pharmaceutical, medical, and intelligence circles; sadly, there are no heroes to match them.
A convincing and shockingly relevant case study of official and technological immorality."

2. Publisher's Weekly, November 30, 1998:

"If nothing else, Canadian historian Endicott and American historian Hagerman will make thoughtful readers see the irony in the U.S. government's ongoing showdown with Iraq over biological weapons. This history of the U.S. biological weapons program alleges that the U.S. actually deployed biological weapons during the Korean War. The authors marshal an impressive array of evidence that the military and executive branch lied to Congress and the public about the development of biological weapons. At the end of WWII, the American military enlisted the aid of top Japanese biological warfare officers; when the Korean War broke out, the U.S. embarked on an ambitious program to produce offensive biological weapons, despite Pentagon protestations that the research was geared toward defensive weaponry. During the war, Chinese officials learned of mysterious outbreaks of disease after some U.S. raids and began to suspect that biological weapons were being used. The authors were the first foreigners allowed to inspect Chinese archival documents dealing with the possible American use of biological weapons. They rely heavily on these sources, as well as on Canadian, British and American documents. The research is bolstered by endnotes and an array of photographs (not seen by PW)."

4. Stephen E. Ambrose, author of Citizen Soldiers,on the dust jacket:

 "This book is disturbing to an extreme degree. As prosecutors, Hagerman and Endicott present a strong case. They cannot be said to be dispassionate, but they are careful, even judicious. At a minimum their research and revelations raise questions about the possible use of biological warfare by the United States in the Korean War that must be answered before we indulge in further moral condemnatiion of Iraq's research and development of a germ warfare capability."

5. Conrad Crane, professor of history, U. S. Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., on www.

 "This is a prime example of bad history....some of their claims verge on the ludicrous...Don't believe the comments on the book jacket, readers would be much better off reading something more balanced on this subject."

6. Col. William D. Bushnell, U. S. Marine Corps, Library Journal, January 1999:

 "Canadian historians Endicott and Hagerman present a disturbing political and moral exploration of the U. S. biological warfare program during the Cold War, claiming that the United States actually used biological weapons during the Korean War.... the authors' antiwar argument condemns the United States for its development and alleged use of biological weapons and its denial and cover-up when challenged."


7. Robert A. Lynn, editor, Military and Bravo/Veterans Outlook Magazines, March 1999

 "...must reading for anyone interested not only in national security issues but also in the overall moral issues as well. The need to break down the barriers of both secrecy and double-talk are clearly made in this excellent book. Both authors have done a tremendous service to future generations with the publication of this detailed and well-researched account."

8. Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies News,University of Toronto - York University Winter 1999:

 "The authors use extensive American and Chinese sources to make a persuasive case that the US experimented with and deployed biological weapons during the Korean War. This is an important book for anyone interested in the history of the Korean War, American policy and the general question of the morality of modern warfare."

9. David Wilson, associate editor of the United Church of Canada's, The Observer, April 1999:

 "Supported by exhaustive archival research and interviews...the authors argue convincingly that the United States did indeed use germ warfare against China and North Korea in the early '50s....declassified documents place the U. S. germ warfare program firmly in the context of the doctrine of total war....Aside from its political, ideological and military dimensions, the story of germ warfare in Korea is ultimately an ethical one. It's about how political and military leaders, convinced of the divinity of their cause, encouraged "ethical blindness" and went to great lengths to keep activities "that violated the moral consensus" shrouded in secrecy."

10. Douglas Fisher, dean of the parliamentary press gallery, Ottawa, in The Toronto Sun, 21 March 1999:

 "...a very learned book by two professors at York University....The conclusion seems to be that there is circumstantial evidence in abundance which 'strongly supports the allegations of use (of such weapons)...and implies a continuing high-level cover-up about the true relationship of the United States government to biological weaponry in general.'"

11. John Kim, in Korean Quarterly,Spring 1999:

 "A fascinating work of serious scholarship, the book brings together an array of evidence amassed from governmental archives and interviews, presenting a compelling argument that the Uniterd States did, in fact, secretly experiment with biological weapons during the Korean War."

12. Ed Regis, in The New York Times,27 June 1999:

 "The evidence Endicott and Hagerman present for their extraordinarily dubious claim is notable only for its weakness."

13. John Ellis van Courtland Moon, in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/Jun 1999:

 "If the United States had used bio-weapons in the Korean War, it would have constituted an international crime of the first magnitude....Although the book fails to make its case, it does highlight the need to release records of the U. S. program during the early 1950's. Until this is done, the questions and accusations will not go away."

14. Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut, commentary at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations,26th Annual Conference, June 2000, at Ryerson University in Toronto:

 "The authors have assembled massive documentation from a multinational archival search, and they have pieced together a highly plausible, tightly reasoned analysis to sustain their arguments....Despite some doubts about the `proof` of these secrets, I believe that Endicott and Hagerman have written a model book and paper that other historians of foreign relations might emulate. They have tackled an important subject and have pieced together fragments of evidence in a meaningful pattern."

15. Brian L. Evans, University of Alberta, in Canadian Journal of History, April 2000:

 "Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman have done a masterful job in marshalling the evidence and providing the arguments to make the case for the charge that the United States indulged in biological (bacteriological, germ) warfare under the umbrella of the Korean War. Their book is one that deserves wide discussion, not only for what it tells us about how governments deliberately misinform and mislead their citizens, while sacrificing the rights of individuals, but for what it means in the history of Western (American) relations with Eastern Asia."

16. Jonathan D. Moreno, University of Virginia and senior staff member of President Clinton's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, in Undue Risk: secret state experiments on humans(New York, W.H. Freeman & Co., 2000), pg. 114:

 "Ever since the end of the Korean War there have been persistent rumors that the United States applied its captured Japanese biological warfare information in that conflict. Those rumors have proven resistant to evidence and have been heatedly denied by U.S. authorities. Recently, however, two Canadian investigators have built a compelling, if not conclusive, case that America's secret deal with Ishii and his colleagues had concrete consequences only a few years later....newly released documents from the United States, Canada, and China...undermine long-standing denials that the Japanese lessons were applied during the Korean War."

17. Daniel Paskowitz, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, on website of The Journal of the American Medical Association, MSJAMA, "White Coats and War Crimes,"March 1, 2000:

 "Endicott and Hagerman cannot absolutely prove that the United States deployed biological weapons in the Korean War, because no US declassified documents yet exist that explicitly admits these claims. However, through exhaustive research and careful documentation, Endicott and Hagerman build an effective case that a biological attack could have happened and probably did. They show that the US government built biological weapons and prepared to use them in war, whether or not an enemy government had used biological weapons first. Testimony from US military personnel, Chinese health officials, and international observers who were asked to investigate Chinese allegations of biological warfare all weigh heavily toward the probability that it happened. The book is meticulously researched, carefully documented, and well written....Medical students and others preparing to enter the health professions will be especially interested in the roles played by physicians and medical researches in the biological warfare program."

18. Chen Ping, staff writer, CHINA DAILY, (Beijing), "Germ warfare undeniable; plentiful evidence reveals biological weapons used during the Korean War," December 6, 2000, page 9:

 "The most in-depth investigation into the US biological warfare....To reveal the shrouded truth, Endicott and Hagerman conducted extensive research in the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe. They were the first foreigners to be given access to classified documents in the Chinese Central Archives."

19. G. Cameron Hurst III, Director of the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, commenting on The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea, in William Lafleur et al. eds., Dark Medicine: rationalizing unethical medical research, (Indiana University Press, 2007, pg 119):

“...Endicott and Hagerman is far and away the most authoritative work on the subject.”