Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War

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Oxford University Press, Oct 10, 2008 - Science - 400 pages
3 Reviews
In Six-Legged Soldiers, Jeffrey A. Lockwood paints a brilliant portrait of the many weirdly creative, truly frightening, and ultimately powerful ways in which insects have been used as weapons of war, terror, and torture. He concludes with a critical analysis of today's defenses--and homeland security's dangerous shortcomings--with respect to entomological attacks. Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Lockwood, an award-winning science writer, begins with the use of "bee bombs" in the ancient world and explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course of major battles, from Napoleon's military campaigns to the trenches of World War I. He explores the horrific programs of insect weaponization during World War II: airplanes designed to drop plague-infested fleas, facilities rearing tens of millions of crop-devouring beetles, and prison camps where doctors tested disease-carrying lice on inmates. The Cold War saw secret government operations involving the mass release of specially developed strains of mosquitoes on an unsuspecting American public--along with the alleged use of disease-carrying and crop-eating pests against North Korea and Cuba. Lockwood reveals how easy it would be to use insects in warfare and terrorism today, pointing to how domestic eco-terrorists in 1989 extorted government officials and wreaked economic and political havoc by threatening to release the notorious Medfly into California's crops. A remarkable story of human ingenuity--and brutality--Six-Legged Soldiers is the first comprehensive look at the use of insects as weapons of war, from ancient times to the present day.
 

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User Review  - tjsjohanna - LibraryThing

This book is full of interesting information on the use of bugs as weapons of war. From such low-tech methods as chucking beehives at the invading army to releasing insects infected with deadly ... Read full review

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User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

A great title but a buggy execution. The author is neither a writer nor a doctor nor a historian, but a bugman. His specialty is the least important (and the creatures themselves are not given much ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
STINGING DEFEATS AND VENOMOUS VICTORIES
7
VECTORS OF DEATH
45
BRINGING FEVER AND FAMINE TO A WORLD AT WAR
85
COLDBLOODED FIGHTERS OF THE COLD WAR
157
THE FUTURE OF ENTOMOLOGICAL WARFARE
231
Epilogue
311
Suggested Readings
315
Notes
323
Index
361
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Jeffrey A. Lockwood is Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches in the department of philosophy and in the MFA program in creative writing. His work has been included in the popular anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing, and he is winner of both a Pushcart Prize and the John Burroughs Award. He is the author of Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving and Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier.

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