Jeanne Guillemin

Jeanne Guillemin Jean-Baptiste Guillemin

Jeanne Guillemin is a senior fellow in the Security Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the Center for International Studies. She is the author of Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak and Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism.

Q & A

Where are you from?
Born in Brooklyn, NY—happily proud of that.

Who are your favorite writers?
George Simenon when he does Maigret.

Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Albert Camus's The Plague, which was one of Bruce Ivins' favorites.

What is your favorite quote?
"When anyone in government asks you for advice, answer in terms of what should happen in five or ten years."—Henry Kissinger

What is the question most commonly asked by your readers?  What is the answer?
On the Amerithrax case, it is always, do you think he did it? The answer is, if it wasn't Bruce Ivins, it was likely the person at the next bench—the point being that military security around
RMR-1029 broke down, creating risks for many.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book in this subject area was about the Sverdlovsk outbreak. It was the fate of the victims that inspired me. The military never apologized, the government never really took responsibility for the disaster. The lack of accountability—that's what troubles me the most.

Where do you write?
I write either in a little office at Woods Hole or one at the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole.
Both are like having cork-lined rooms, just what Proust preferred, and at the same time, wonderful supportive communities when I come up for air.



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