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John Bryden

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 314pp, cloth, $28.95
ISBN 0-7710-1724-3. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

John Bryden is a journalist who has worked for The Hamilton Spectator, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. This is his first book.

Deadly Allies is about the attempts by Canada, Great Britain and the U.S. to develop chemical and biological weapons during and after World War II. Bryden claims that the story was never supposed to be written because the documents were thought to be de­stroyed and because the subject was too controversial. In 1941, the Department of National Defence was in charge of such irregular research and had the records microfilmed. Through adminis­trative errors, some sensitive material fell into Bryden's hands and helped form the basis of part of this book. From 1939 to 1949, the National Re­search Council was in charge of chemi­cal and biological warfare. There were no restrictions on its files.

In the hands of a professional histo­rian, this book might have been interest­ing. In Bryden's hands, it is pretty humdrum stuff. There are some inter­esting bits of historical trivia such as the research into poison darts and poison bullets, but since this was never per­fected, it is not important.

There isn't much of a story in Deadly Allies.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology, North Bay, Ont.
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