SIX-LEGGED SOLDIERS – Using Insects as Weapons of War
by Jeffrey A. Lockwood
2008, 400 pages, 49 b/w photos. This book provides a gripping account of the use of insects in warfare, torture, and terrorism, ranging from the ancient world right up to tomorrow’s headlines. It is a remarkable story of human ingenuity and brutality. The emir of Bukhara used assassin bugs to eat away the flesh of his prisoners. General Ishii Shiro during World War II released hundreds of millions of infected insects across China, ultimately causing more deaths than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey beginning with the development of “bee bombs” in the ancient world. The book explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course of major battles, ranging from Napoleon’s military campaigns to the trenches of World War I. It details the horrific programs of insect warfare during World War II: airplanes dropping plague-infested fleas, facilities rearing tens of millions of hungry beetles to destroy crops, and prison camps testing 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. There was alleged use of disease-carrying and crop-eating pests against North Korea and Cuba. In 1989, domestic ecoterrorists extorted government officials and wreaked economic and political havoc by threatening to release the notorious Medfly into California’s crops. Available in hardcover and paperback editions; 6-1/2 x 9-1/2″.
The author is a Professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming, and an accomplished writer, winner of a Pushcart Prize and the John Burroughs Award.
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