Publisher: Bantam Books
Release Date: June 07, 2011
Editors at American Library Association's Booklist named The Mirage Man one of 2011's ``outstanding books.'' The editors honored books that ``combine literary, intellectual, and aesthetic excellence with popular appeal.''
"The Mirage Man" should be required reading in every journalism school, and law school, in this country. It should be the textbook of a case study at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. -- and police academies everywhere. It should be taught in college government classes, and handed out to freshman members of Congress when they arrive in Washington, and to staffers assigned to the Capitol Hill committees and the White House National Security Council."
— Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
"The Mirage Man is hard to put down and extremely well researched. ... It is a powerfully written book and a very engaging look at the Amerithrax investigation."
— Dan Kaszeta, former biodefense advisor, White House Military Office, CBRNe World
``A meticulous and mesmerizing account of the worst act of bioterrorism in American history.''
— Glenn C. Altschuler, Cornell University professor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Willman starts the story with Ivins' childhood in small-town Ohio, deftly drawing the portrait of a disaster waiting to happen: Brilliant, awkward, given to strange obsessions, his passive father terrorized and even beaten by Ivins' tyrannical mother, trying too hard to fit in and succeeding only when his chameleon like personality convinced others that he was someone other than who he was."
— Paul Jablow, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Willman, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, offers a nuanced account of the bungled FBI investigation into the "anthrax attacks" as the Bush administration strove to use the public panic to strengthen their case to go to war, while the culprit was, in all likelihood, a military microbiologist named Bruce Ivins. Willman traces Ivins's unhappy life, how he endured childhood abuse and privation to become a successful scientist only to find his life unraveling as a result of his bizarre obsessions and fixations with women--from co-workers to a reality TV star and members of a local campus sorority. Willman pivots to focus on the flawed investigation--how the FBI targeted terrorist groups and, later, the wrong scientist, Steven Hatfill--and how, perversely, Ivins benefited both financially and professionally from the public paranoia about anthrax as his research into an anthrax vaccine became a national priority. Willman makes the case against Ivins--and against the political uses of the case--with admirable fair-mindedness and narrative flair."
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“This is a book of alternative history and alternative truth about one of the most misrepresented incidents of our 9/11 trauma. David Willman has set a grand standard for investigative reporting—and investigative history—in his account of America’s anthrax scare. There are few heroes in this story of psychosis, official dithering, and political scaremongering, but it is uplifting nonetheless. It is simply fun to read someone at the top of his craft.”
—Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command:The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
“The Mirage Man is a mystery story about murder committed on the national stage. The characters include an innocent man hounded by investigators and the press, politicians fixated on justifying a foreign invasion, a mixed bag of FBI agents, and scientists who try to crack the code. And, at the story’s heart, we have a twisted villain whose secret life is laid utterly bare. Unlike most mysteries, this one is literally true, carefully documented and skillfully told by one of America’s finest investigative journalists.”
—John S. Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times
“Peering through David Willman’s magnifying glass into the anthrax-laced heart and soul of Bruce Ivins is chilling. Willman’s investigative chops and skilled yarn-weaving make for a compelling read. Most strikingly, Willman shows how this emotionally warped man pumped the bellows that fanned the flames of war with Iraq. It’s a haunting and heartbreaking tale.’’
—Mark Thompson, national security correspondent, Time
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