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Nature at War
American Environments and World War II

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Peter Mansoor, Thomas Robertson, Richard P. Tucker, Christopher W. Wells, Jean Mansavage, Kent Curtis, Brian Black, Kendra Smith-Howard, Kellen Backer, Joel R. Bius, Christopher M. Rein, Sarah S. Elkind, Martha N. Gardner, Ryan H. Edgington
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  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108412070

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About the Authors
  • This anthology is the first sustained examination of American involvement in World War II through an environmental lens. World War II was a total and global war that involved the extraction, processing, and use of vast quantities of natural resources. The wartime military-industrial complex, the 'Arsenal of Democracy,' experienced tremendous economic growth and technological development, employing resources at a higher intensity than ever before. The war years witnessed transformations in American agriculture; the proliferation of militarized landscapes; the popularization of chemical and pharmaceutical products; a rapid increase in energy consumption and the development of nuclear energy; a remaking of the nation's transportation networks; a shift in population toward the Sunbelt and the West Coast; a vast expansion in the federal government, in conjunction with industrial firms; and the emergence of environmentalism. World War II represented a quantitative and qualitative leap in resource use, with lasting implications for American government, science, society, health, and ecology.

    • Offers an in-depth examination of the twelve dimensions of the wartime environmental experience in the United States
    • Reveals how transportation networks, mines, farms, factories, and training camps transformed the US into an 'Arsenal of Democracy'
    • Contributes to the understanding of the military-industrial complex and the roots of the Great Acceleration and the Cold War
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Featuring renowned scholars of military and environmental history, Nature at War shows how the mid-century clash between Allied and Axis forces revolutionized every aspect of American life - from the food we eat, to the smoke we breath, to the clothes we wear and the chemicals and drugs that pour through our veins. This impressive volume is long overdue and should be essential reading for anyone interested in the ecological history of the world's ‘darkest hour'.' Bart Elmore, The Ohio State University

    ‘Nature at War reveals how World War II was literally a War on the World. While claiming 60 million lives and devastating land, air, and water, WWII also transformed the US by promoting industrial agriculture, chemical pesticides, out-of-control military spending, rampant consumerism, nicotine addiction, and urban smog. A remarkable accounting.' Gar Smith, co-founder of Environmentalists Against War and author of Nuclear Roulette and The War and Environment Reader

    ‘The necessity and even glory of World War II is unquestionable in US culture, and even in this book. Yet this book makes clear that the world could never survive another similar disaster, not only because of the nuclear danger, but also because of the environmental destruction created and unleashed by that war. In fact, the earth-attacking practices of extraction and consumption that grew out of WWII may yet doom us all if not undone and corrected.' David Swanson, author of War Is A Lie

    ‘Nature at War offers the first book length analysis of the environmental developments during World War II in the United States, and raises questions of thunderous importance for the rest of the world as well.' Simo Laakkonen, University of Turku

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108412070
    • length: 387 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 153 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 6 maps 10 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: American environments and the Second World War Peter Mansoor
    Acknowledgments
    Introduction: total war and American nature Thomas Robertson and Richard P. Tucker
    Part I. New Weapons, New Spaces:
    1. A war of mobility: transportation, American productive power, and the environment during World War II Thomas Robertson and Christopher W. Wells
    2. For land's sake: World War II military land acquisition and alteration Jean Mansavage
    Part II. Military Materials I (Inorganic):
    3. 'Tanks Are Born Underground': mining and World War II Kent Curtis
    4. Fueling the 'American Century': establishing the US petroleum imperative Brian Black
    Part III. Military Materials II (Organic):
    5. Soldiers of the soil: labor, nature, and American agriculture during World War II Kendra Smith-Howard
    6. When meals became weapons: American food in World War II Kellen Backer
    7. From field to foxhole: cigarettes and soldiers in World War II Joel R. Bius
    Part IV. New Landscapes: Cities and Coasts:
    8. A watery grave?: World War II and the environment on the American Gulf Coast Christopher M. Rein
    9. World War II and the urban environment: redirecting American politics in Los Angeles and beyond Sarah S. Elkind
    Part V. New Frontiers: Microbes, Molecules, and Atoms:
    10. Battling insects and infection: American chemical and pharmaceutical expansion during World War II Martha N. Gardner
    11. Shattered worlds: place, environment, and militarized landscapes at the dawn of atomic America Ryan H. Edgington
    Part VI. Conservation:
    12. Total war and the total environment: World War II and the shift from conservation to environmentalism Thomas Robertson
    Index.

  • Editors

    Thomas Robertson, US Education Foundation, Nepal
    Thomas Robertson is Executive Director of the United States Educational Foundation (USEF) Fulbright in Kathmandu, Nepal and the author of The Malthusian Moment: Global Population Growth and the Birth of American Environmentalism (2012).

    Richard P. Tucker, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Richard P. Tucker is Adjunct Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. He is co-editor of four multi-author books on the environmental history of the two World Wars. His previous publications include Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (2000).

    Nicholas B. Breyfogle, The Ohio State University
    Nicholas B. Breyfogle is Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He is the author/editor of seven volumes, including Water History: Readings and Sources (2020) and Eurasian Environments: Nature and Ecology in Imperial Russian and Soviet History (2018).

    Peter Mansoor, The Ohio State University
    Peter Mansoor is the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History at The Ohio State University. He is the author of three books and co-editor of three volumes, including the award-winning The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941-1945 (1999).

    Contributors

    Peter Mansoor, Thomas Robertson, Richard P. Tucker, Christopher W. Wells, Jean Mansavage, Kent Curtis, Brian Black, Kendra Smith-Howard, Kellen Backer, Joel R. Bius, Christopher M. Rein, Sarah S. Elkind, Martha N. Gardner, Ryan H. Edgington

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