by Dr Dean Burk

(A foundation member of the US National Cancer Institute and former head of the Institute's Cytochemistry Department, Dr Burk is best known for his work on cancer research for which he' has received honors from France, Britain, Germany and Russia. Formerly Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Cornell University, he has worked in cancer research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany and at the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow. Dr Burk is the recipient of the Domagk Prize for cancer research, a Knight Commander of the medical Order of Bethlehem, and a Knight of the Mark Twain Society. He is co-author of the books "Cancer, Approaches to Tumor Chemotherapy" and Cell Chemistry and author of over 250 published scientific papers.)

Having spent most of my professional life in the field of cancer research--a field of great complexity and no little conclusion--I was astonished and delighted to become acquainted with this book.

My astonishment arises from the discovery that a layman (the author is a retired airline captain) should have, gained such a comprehensive understanding of the complex biological processes which lead to the disease called cancer and to be able to describe these processes in a manner easily understandable by other laymen.

The author describes the origins of not only cancer but of other so-called diseases of civilization and the natural measures required to avoid and control them.

When it is considered that few medical professionals possess this knowledge, this is no mean achievement.

The strength, integrity and happiness of a nation are directly proportional to the state of health of its citizens. In the distant past civilizations have risen, flourished and declined, their ruins covered by desert sands. Did affluence destroy them? Are we heading the same way?

Perhaps humans are too clever for their own good. In the pursuit of progress and pleasure they at the same time sow the seeds of their own destruction.

Modern man must comprehend the message presented in this book that the greatest threat to his survival is not that of nuclear war, because although that threat is real at least everyone is aware of it. The threat most dangerous to mankind comes from the destroyers active right now, subtle and unseen-the poisoning of our soil and water supplies, the de-naturing of our food, the ever-increasing destruction of the environment.

No more do people die of old age; instead, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes and so on are today accepted as normal causes of death. Influenza, arthritis, indigestion, constipation, aches and pains and medicine are a normal part of life. Are coronary bypasses, hysterectomies, reading glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, false teeth and plastic hip joints to be considered normal too?

On his long evolutionary journey, man has strayed on to dangerous ground. Now we are at a crossroads, and whichever way we take there will be some rough going. As ever, the fittest will survive.

Ross Horne's book is a survival manual for the trip ahead.

Dean Burk
Washington DC