Paper pub. date
April 2017
ISBN 9780870718793 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870718809 (ebook)
6 x 9, 368 pages. 33 photographs. 13 maps. 2 tables. Notes.

The Long Shadows

A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

Timo Vuorisalo, Simo Laakkonen, and Richard P. Tucker
Foreword by John R. McNeill

The Long Shadows is the first book to offer global perspectives on the environmental history of World War II. Based on long-term research, the selected essays represent the best available studies in different fields and countries. With contributions touching on Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, the book has a truly global approach. It considers the profound and lasting impact World War II has had on global environments, encompassing polar, temperate, and tropical ecological zones.

While other edited volumes on the environmental history of warfare discuss multiple wars and various time periods, The Long Shadows is devoted exclusively to World War II and its profound and lasting impact on global environments, encompassing polar, temperate and tropical ecological zones. Divided into three main sections, the first offers an introduction to and holistic overview of the War. The second section of the book examines the social and environmental impacts of the conflict, while the third focuses on the history and legacy of resource extraction. A fourth and final section offers conclusions and hypotheses. Numerous themes and topics are explored in these previously unpublished essays, including the new and innovative field of acoustic ecology, the environmental policies of the Third Reich, Japanese imperialism and marine resources, and the control of Typhus fever.

Aimed at researchers and students in the fields of environmental history, military history, and global history, The Long Shadows will also appeal to a general audience interested in the environmental impact of the greatest military conflict in the history of the world.

About the author

Timo Vuorisalo is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Turku, Finland.


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Simo Laakkonen is a Senior Lecturer of landscape studies at the University of Turku, Finland. He is also a Adjunct Professor of economic and social history at the University of Helsinki. Recently he  has been a Visiting Fellow at Södertörn University, Stockholm, and at the University of Kansas. He has focused on the history of environmental policy-making, media, science, and technology in the Baltic Sea Region.

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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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"The contributors to [the landmark book] The Long Shadows have marshalled impressive historical materials delineating the human and environmental tragedies stemming from World War II."

- G. Tracy Mehan III, The Environmental Forum

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