Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It” as Want to Read:
Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,163 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Anthrax. Smallpox. Incurable and horrifying Ebola-related fevers. For two decades, while a fearful world prepared for nuclear winter, an elite team of Russian bioweaponeers began to till a new killing field: a bleak tract sown with powerful seeds of mass destruction—by doctors who had committed themselves to creating a biological Armageddon. Biohazard is the never-before-t ...more
Paperback, 319 pages
Published April 11th 2000 by Delta (first published January 1st 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Biohazard, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Biohazard

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Required reading for any person living on this planet that breathes.

This is one of those extremely rare books that I will be recommending as a MUST READ book to every person who ever asks me... "What book would you recommend be on EVERY person's reading list?" If I could give it a gazillion stars, I would! Yes, it's that well written. This book will scare the livin' daylights out of you. For anyone living under the illusion that the world is a super safe place and that our governments are doing
I would estimate that I accept about 80% of what Kanatjan Alibekov describes in this book as truthful and factual. The most frightening aspects about the horrible pathogens he helped develop in the Soviet Union's bioweapons program are in fact quite believable. What I don't quite accept are Alibekov's explanations for his involvement in the program.

He suggests that he initially had misgivings about developing biological weapons at the start of his career. He quickly forgot those concerns out of
Alibek uncovers the world of the USSR bioengineering and production of deadly weapons used in biowarfare. During the Cold War, during the reckoning of weapons of mass destruction, Former Soviet Union took an extreme interest in not only nuclear weaponry, but biological, and Alibek gives a detailed account about the horrifyingly real world he walked through. There is not a doubt in my mind that everything here happened. USSR backed out of treaties with the UN to implement their plans on biowarfar ...more
Jim Hale
A blistering indictment of how the Soviet regime spent billions of dollars, in violation of numerous treaties, to build the most sophisticated biological weapons program that has ever existed. When Alibek defected to the US, he proceeded to blow the lid off all the lies that the Russians had been perpetrating on the naive Western world for decades. He describes in detail how many thousands of Russians were killed by experiments gone bad and the embarrassing efforts to cover up the truth. This sh ...more
To be clear from the start, the book was written in late 1998. The Nook version of it claimed to be published in March, 2014, but the author obviously finished this book in 1998, based on his "predictions" for 1999. That being said, the book dealt with the early career of Ken Alibek (the American name of the Soviet scientist Kanatjan Alibekov) while he was still a scientist employed in the bioweapons program of the Soviet Union, so even though the book was published in the late '90s, it still fu ...more
Rebecca McNutt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In Biohazard, Dr. Kenneth Alibek, born Kanatjan Alibekov in what is now the country of Kazakhstan, then simply another satrapy of the sprawling Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, shares the incredible story of his work in what is perhaps the best-kept secret of the twentieth century - Biopreparat, the mammoth chain of state-of-the-art biological weapon development and production plants, mostly built AFTER Leonid Brezhnev solemnly stood beside the President of the United States and the Prime Mi ...more
Peter King
Some people oppose genetic engineering because nuclear loving Gaia Hypothesis originator James Lovelock came up with a rather crazy 'sludge that took over the world' scenario. Well that was crap. Most agricultural GMOs are completely harmless or at worst no more problematic than the weeds we introduced during the bio-colonial period when the Europeans kicked everyone around. But if you want some genetic engineering that will *really* scare the crap out of you "Biohazard" will tell you all about ...more
The world can be a scary place and this book definitely supports that idea. We've heard a lot about chemical warfare and weapons of mass destruction; here is the book that tells you all about what Russia (Soviet Union) was experimenting with throughout the 80s and 90s. It's terrifying because it wasn't that long ago that they were amassing a ridiculous amount of biochemical weapons. With the eventual break down of the Soviet Union, scientists were without jobs and income and left (or were recrui ...more
The title of this book pretty much spells out exactly what you will find inside--a grim, chilling account of Russia's covert bioweapons program--definitely not your average memoir! I walked away feeling 1. disconcerted that no one in the rest of world knew what the Russians were doing through Biopreparat. 2. frightened at the possibility that our current enemies have most likely benefited by Russia's covert programs 3. and disturbed by the chilling anecdotes of life within the walls of Russia's ...more
Biohazard was one of those books that you wished was fiction. Who better to tell the true account of the Soviet Bio-Weapons program than the man who ran it?

This awesome book not only explains the history of the Soviet Union, their disgraceful weapons program, but also a change of heart if the man behind it.

Sworn to "do no harm" Alibekov quickly betrays this oath as a patriot without morals. As the Soviet Empire collapses around him, he is forced to rethink the diabolical program that he was so
What Kanatjan Alibekov describes in this book as truthful and factual. The only thing i dislike is that he helped the Ussr with this project and some of what he say might not be the truth. Although Alibekov had a good part in a way to this project i didnt like the reason that he gives for being involved. I dont want to spoil it for those who havent read it ,but the disease these bio wepons were made to spread were some of the worst(small pox). The thing i really did like about the book though is ...more
This book described the biological weapons program of the former Soviet Union. The author was a Colonel in the Army of the Soviet Union and was the deputy director of the research and development of the program. The book provides a look into a weapons program that the western world did not know existed until another scientist defected to Great Britain. A few years later, this author defected to the USA.
Benjamin Stahl
This book was a real eye-opener, and for the fact that it's all one true account, it succeeds in being quite horrifying. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know what anthrax and brucellosis and smallpox really were. Even more, I didn't know how freaking close our world once was to falling victim to these horrible diseases. This book, although totally and officially true, is written in the form of a fictional thriller, and is told with an unsettling lack of reassurances, by a man who defected from ...more
Dec 05, 2007 Rebecca rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the Germans at Stalingrad
I'll admit: I would have given this book 3 stars, a more-than-average rating, if after I read it in 2005 i had not proceeded to endure lecture after lecture by Alibek, giving me the distinct impression that he is masterful at inflating his contributions and mental acuity and distancing himself from any culpability for developing the Soviet offensive BW program. One also gets the impression that the whole truth is not (and may never) be told. The story is well laid-out, however, and is a good bac ...more
"Chilling" does not begin to outline this memoir. I picked this up looking to gain some knowledge about CBRN and gained a much better understanding of the weaponization of viruses and bacteria.
Seems like an effort by someone to dish on his old girlfriend to make sure his new girlfriend loves him. Not really that engaging.
This book will scare the hell out of you. Very disturbing and worse, most of it is true. Enough to give you nightmares.
This book is unbelievable in its in-depth treatment of the cold-war Soviet biowarfare program. The sheer scale of the mass-production of various agents (Plague, Smallpox, Anthrax, Marburg, and Ebola, among others) and the means developed for dispersing them in catastrophic amounts is enough to give one goosebumps (hence "The Chilling True Story," I suppose. (Not to mention that we're not quite sure just where all of those stocks and the scientists who worked with them are located now.) Besides t ...more
Really interesting book into the Soviet Unions biological programs. Much more captivating than I expected.
Jennifer Martin
Informative book about Soviet bioweapons research and development. Some times its better not to know!
Debbie Allen
This one is a wowzer for me. Still reading. If you want to sleep at night, Not recommended.
Meg Warren
Loved this book. But a bit scary.
A chilling account of how lucky we were not to have biological catastrophes in the US during the Cold War. The book, written by a Soviet scientist living in exile in the US, was decidedly anti-Soviet and pro-American. But it was still terrifying to see the extent of biological weapons programs and the potential for careless mistakes that would have been extremely costly or the destruction of entire populations from germ warfare.

Note that the author is actually Ken Alibek, not Stephen Handelman (
Bill Bishop
A fascinating read.
A mostly solid account of some elements of the Soviet Bio-weapons program, in particular related to the Sverdlosk incident. Alibek had a great ghostwriter, so it reads better than many books by former Soviet chemical and bio warfare program members, but Alibek was prne to exaggeration and self promotion, so parts of it have to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, an essential work for anyone trying to get a deeper understanding of the history of bio-weapons, especially in the Soviet Union.
Parts of this book were very interesting, but some sections were also incredibly boring and hard to get through. Way more than I wanted to know about the Soviet Union bueracracy - that's what really bogged this book down for me. Unbelievable, though, how advanced their bioweapons program was! Really sobbering to think, even in my lifetime, they were (or had!) been able to weaponize lethal pathogens like Marburg virus. I would liked this book much more if was about half as long.
S.G. Rainbolt
I decided to try this book years back to broaden my horizons. I was pleasantly surprised! I ended up loving this book! There was no fiction - all non-fiction! Probably, one of the few non-fictions I've thoroughly enjoyed. It is such an eye-opener with regards the cold war and the international competition between Russia and US - but that isn't the half of the story. You really feel you walk along with Alibek as he mixed the biochemicals set to be unleashed on America.
Atila Iamarino
Uma descrição sobre o programa de bio-armas soviético descrito por quem estava lá dentro, que por tudo o que li é bem verídico. Pessoalmente, esperava muito mais detalhes biológicos sobre o que fizeram com os organismos ou qual a lógica por trás das modificações que fizerem. Encontrei muito mais sobre as mudanças políticas da URSS e um tanto de rusgas do passado do autor.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Add book 8 85 Jun 23, 2014 03:45PM  
  • Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World
  • Killer Germs: Microbes and Diseases That Threaten Humanity
  • Virus X: Tracking the New Killer Plagues
  • Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory
  • Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC
  • Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service
  • Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections
  • Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague
  • Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War
  • Ebola: A novel of the first outbreak, by a doctor who was there
  • The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease
  • Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
  • Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World
  • Viruses, Plagues and History
  • The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco
  • The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera
  • The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox
Colonel Kanatjan Alibekov (known as Ken Alibek since 1992 — is a former Soviet physician, microbiologist and biological warfare (BW) expert. He rose rapidly in the ranks of the Red Army to become the First Deputy Director of Biopreparat where he oversaw a vast program of BW facilities. In 1992 he defected to the United States, has become an American citizen, and makes his living as a biodefense co ...more
More about Ken Alibek...
Direktorium 15: Russlands Geheimpläne Für Den Biologischen Krieg Biological weapons: designing a personal plan of defense : the Bio-Prep, Inc. manual Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook Bioterrorism and Infectious Agents: A New Dilemma for the 21st Century New and Evolving Infections of the 21st Century

Share This Book

“Since leaving Moscow I have encountered an alarming level of ignorance about biological weapons. Some of the best scientists I've encountered in the West say it isn't possible to alter viruses genetically to make reliable weapons, or to store enough of a give pathogen for strategic purposes, or to deliver it in a way that assures maximum killing power. My knowledge and experience tell me that they are wrong. I have written this book to explain why.
There are some who maintain that discussing the subject will cause needless alarm. But existing defenses against these weapons are dangerously inadequate, and when biological terror strikes, as I am convinced it will, public ignorance will only heighten the disaster. The first step we must take to protect ourselves is to understand what biological weapons are and how they work. The alternative is to remain as helpless as the monkeys in the Aral Sea.”
“When Davis finally went back and turned the flashlight on, he saw that the walls near the door were dented and pitted—the telltale marks left by fragments of explosives. “You have been using explosives here,” he declared. “No, no,” Petukhov insisted. “Those marks come from the hammers we had to use to make the door fit when we were constructing the building. It was poorly made by our factory, you see.” 0 likes
More quotes…