American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT
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American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  6 ratings  ·  2 reviews
The world of insects is one we only dimly understand. Yet from using arsenic, cobalt, and quicksilver to kill household infiltrators to employing the sophisticated tools of the Orkin Man, Americans have fought to eradicate the "bugs" they have learned to hate.

Inspired by the still-revolutionary theories of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," James E. McWilliams argues for a m...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Columbia University Press (first published May 26th 2008)
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Michelle
Interesting book about the history of the intersection of insects, agriculture and agriculture policy, pesticides, and the environment. I skimmed a lot of it, but really liked the final chapter on Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. It would have been better as a New Yorker article.
Nathan
The loud and lighthearted cover art belies what turns out to be drudge to read. McWilliams seems admirably dedicated to his subject, and the sheer amount of information he gathers on such an arcane topic is impressive, but there is simply not much of a story to be told; rather we get account after account of failed technique and end up with a hasty paean to Rachel Carson. A waste of time.
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McWilliams is a historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. Books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little, Brown) and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press). His writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel an...more
More about James E. McWilliams...
Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America The Pecan: A History of America's Native Nut The Politics of the Pasture (ebook) How Two Cattle Inspired a National Debate about Eating Animals Building the Bay Colony: Local Economy and Culture in Early Massachusetts

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