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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Madeline Drexler, former science and medical columnist for the Boston Globe will speak about her new book, Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections on Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in Reed’s psychology auditorium. The lecture, sponsored by the Reed American studies department, is free and open to the public. For more information call the Reed events hotline at 503/777-7755.

Praise and discussion for Drexler’s book began even before the book hit the shelves. A recent New York Times Book Review said, "Drexler has absorbed a mountain of material and distilled it into an authoritative, well-paced, vividly written book that will scare the pants off you. (You may never eat another hamburger!)"

The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey, said, "Madeline Drexler stuns the reader, and rightly so, in this superbly written and alarming book."

Each chapter in the book discusses one of today’s most dangerous infectious disease threats such as food-borne pathogens, diseases carried by animals and insects, the looming risk of lethal influenza, bacteria that resist every drug on hospital shelves, startling infectious causes of chronic diseases, and bioterrorism—including the latest, in-depth information on the public health perils posed by diseases such as anthrax, smallpox, and botulism.

The book focuses on the United States and its widely differing (often too low) levels of preparedness for threats from a variety of sources. After examining the threats to our nation Drexler argues that now is the perfect time to build up a long-neglected public health system. Cleveland Plain Dealer Magazine says, "Drexler is a clear and concise writer who avoids sensationalism despite the nature of the subject."

"All in all," said the New York Time Book Review, "Drexler has produced a fascinating book that everyone (except perhaps serious hypochondriacs) ought to read."

Madeline Drexler wrote a column on science and medicine for the Boston Globe from 1988 to 1996. She was a 1996–97 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been a staff writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer Magazine, and a staff photographer for the Associated Press. Her articles have appeared in New York Times, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, Redbook, Lear’s, Self, Walking, and other national publications. She currently holds a Radcliffe Research Partnership.

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