Secret State Experiments on Humans
By Jonathan D. Moreno
(W. H. Freeman, Hardcover, 9780716731429, 368pp.)
Publication Date: September 1999
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In 1994, Jonathan Moreno became a senior staff member of a special commission created by President Clinton to investigate allegations of government-sponsored radiation research on unknowing citizens during the cold war. The top secret documents he helped to declassify revealed a shocking truth-- that human experimentation played an extensive role in this country's attempts to build and protect against weapons of mass destruction.
In Undue Risk, Moreno presents the first comprehensive history of the use of human subjects in atomic, biological, and chemical warfare experiments from World War II to the twenty-first century. From the courtrooms of Nuremberg to the battlefields of the Gulf War, Undue Risk explores a variety of government policies and specific cases, including plutonium injections into unwitting hospital patients, U.S. government attempts to recruit Nazi medical scientists, the subjection of soldiers to atomic blast fallout, secret LSD and mescaline studies, and the feeding of irradiated oatmeal to children. It is also the first book to go behind the scenes and reveal the government's struggle with the ethics of human experimentation and the evolution of agonizing policy choices on unfamiliar moral terrain.
As the threat of foreign and domestic terrorist attack continues to grow, the need for our country to defend itself against insidious weapons is greater than ever. Can a democracy justify using humans in potentially risky experiments in order to answer scientific questions vital to national security? Exploring the possibilities, Undue Risk highlights a program of human experimentation that is a moral model for all others, civilian and military.
Jonathan Moreno, a former senior staff member of President Clinton's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, is Kornfeld Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University if Virginia. He is also Senior Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, an Adjunct Associate of the Hastings Center, and a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. A regular bioethics columnist for abcnews.com, Moreno is the author of Deciding Together: Bioethics and Moral Consensus. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
"No informed citizen can afford to ignore Undue Risk."--Arthur Caplan, Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
"From the horrific Nazi experiments of the concentration camps to the egregious efforts in the United States to research radiation and biological warfare, Jonathan Moreno presents a compelling historical narrative of how the claims of military science have often warped the ethics of human experimentation. Undue Risk is a powerful and human call for moral vigilance as we face complex issues of medical research in the present and future."--Allan M. Brandt, Kass Professor of the History of Medicine, Harvard University
"Moreno has accomplished something rare in Undue Risk. Its value lies not only in the care with which he has dug deep into primary sources to add significant details to familiar events-- such as the Nuremberg trials-- but in the way it reveals to scholars, politicians, and the public the role that bioethical thought may play in the future construction of domestic and foreign policy."--Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Bioethics Advisory Commission
"Jonathan Moreno has written a thoughtful, balanced, and much needed account of the different forces that in recent decades have caused various saints and devils to overlook or set aside the moral status of persons recruited (voluntarily or involuntarily) into medical experiments. Undue Risk should be mandatory reading for all those concerned with not only the protection of human subjects but the appropriate moral underpinnings of government action in a liberal democracy."--Harold T. Shapiro, President, Princeton University; Chairman, National Bioethics Advisory Commission