Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ECOLOGY OF WAR by Susan D. Lanier-Graham


Environmental Impacts of Weaponry and Warfare

by Susan D. Lanier-Graham

Pub Date: June 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8027-1262-2
Publisher: Walker

 A superficial and simplistic overview of the environmental havoc wreaked by war through the centuries. Possibly intending this as a classroom text for junior-high readers, Lanier-Graham (The Nature Directory, 1991--not reviewed) employs no-frills prose and bald-faced foreshortening to create a ``history'' of conflicts in which ecological damage was sustained, moving erratically from the Third Punic War--which led victorious Romans to sow the ruins of rival Carthage with salt so that it would remain a wasteland--to the intentional oil-based devastation of the recent Persian Gulf showdown. Contretemps involving the US receive the most attention, with various ancillary aspects of modern warfare--particularly weapons production and testing, and postwar weapons disposal--considered at length. With land laid waste by deliberate defoliation and ``scorched-earth'' policies from Sherman's March to the war in Vietnam, seas poisoned by chemical weapons dumped after WW II, and air filled with radiation from nuclear blasts, the record of ruin is a consistently grim one, although Lanier-Graham makes an effort to look on the bright side by noting postwar reclamation projects that attempted to lessen the ravages of armed conflict. A sobering and worthy subject--but an inadequate, at times almost trifling, treatment. (Twenty-four b&w photographs--not seen)