Paper pub. date
January 2004
ISBN 9780870710476 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 288 pages. Maps. Index.

Natural Enemy, Natural Ally

Toward An Environmental History of War

Richard P. Tucker and Edmund Russell

How has war changed and damaged the environment? How has nature influenced war? As the first collection of essays on war and environmental history, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally heralds the advent of a major new field of study.

Contributors to the volume explore the dynamic between war and the physical environment from a variety of provocative viewpoints. The subjects of their essays range from conflicts in pre-colonial India and early colonial South Africa to the U.S. Civil War and twentieth-century wars in Japan, Finland, and the Pacific Islands. Among the topics explored are:

  • the ways in which landscape can influence military strategies;
  • why the decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought;
  • the impact of war and peace on timber resources;
  • the spread of pests and disease in wartime.

Judith A. Bennett, Kurk Dorsey, Mark Fiege, Stewart Gordon, Simo Laakkonen, Roger Levine, Edmund Russell, William M. Tsutsui, and Richard P. Tucke

About the author

Richard Tucker is Adjunct Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, USA.  His research in environmental history first addressed forest decline and management in tropical and colonial countries, and then on the global ecological consequences of American power. In recent years he has been focusing on the environmental impacts of military operations in wartime and peacetime. In this area he helps coordinate an international network by managing the website

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Edmund Russell is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society and of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to "Silent Spring," which won the Edelstein Prize of the Society for the History of Technology.

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"Given the continuing prominence of war and armed conflict in the daily headlines, this is a timely and valuable addition to our thinking about why wars happen, what intended or unintended effects they may have, and how-like everything else-they touch on humankind's relationship with the earth."

-Donald Worster, Hall Distinguished Professor of American History, University of Kansas

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