Lately I've been interested in the chemistry of nerve agents due to reading Patrick's Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry in which they were only briefly discussed. I bought the Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents by Ramesh C. Gupta which appeared to me as a comprehensive work discussing the physical chemistry, biological action, history and legislation of a whole range of chemical agents (in particularly organophosphorus agents).

However it lacks experimental information (i.e. synthesis). I found a book that detailed (to the somewhat questionable extreme) on this information, having the rather obscure title The Preparatory Manual of Chemical Warfare Agents (it's a Google preview link, quite handy to see if a book is worth the money). Now since I'm not an expert in organophosphorus synthesis (else I wouldn't be interested in it, right?) I cannot fully appreciate the level of accurateness. And while you may argue that, since it's only of theoretical use to me, the level of accurateness is unimportant, I wouldn't really feel satisfied learning about something from a textbook that finally turns out to be based on completely wrong information. Because then what knowledge have I gained?

Now for the question: the book raised my suspicion because the author seems not to be related to any serious research unit or university for that matter. The poor lay-out, language, and somewhat too practical advice given here and there, screams Uncle Fester type bull shit book. So, is this book based on legitimate research? And if not, where can I read about (organophosphorus) chemical warfare agents synthesis from a reliable (preferentially written by well known and respected chemists) source, that goes into enough detail on a chemical level (and does not necessarily contain Uncle Fester type practical information in which I'm obviously not very interested)?

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    $\begingroup$ The Ledgard book looks like a practical manual for terrorists. I browsed through some of the procedures and they look solid, they are taken from published patents. Of course some of the little details that separate the experienced chemist from the dead chemist are left to be discovered. Personally I would enjoy reading this book, it's 10 times more scary than any Stephen King novel. $\endgroup$ – K_P Sep 3 '15 at 22:20

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