Sunday, September 07, 2008

Calling all insects: make war, not love

Author and entomologist Jeff Lockwood will read from his latest book, "Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War" on Saturday, October 18, 5 p.m., at Second Story Books, First and Ivinson in Laramie. A reception will follow, with the author signing copies of his books, including intriguing earlier books on locusts and grasshoppers. The event's co-sponsors include the UW Ecology and Philosophy departments, and the MFA program in Creative Writing.

Jeff is a Professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at University of Wyoming, and teaches in both the philosophy and creative writing programs. His spring 2008 course, "Interstellar Message Composition" (writing for terrestrials, in Trekkie language), was underwritten by the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium and featured in the Christian Science Monitor and on ABC's web site at <>.

"Six-Legged Soldiers" is published by Oxford University Press. Here's a description of the book taken from

Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Award-winning science writer Jeffrey A. Lockwood begins with the development of "bee bombs" in the ancient world and 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. He explores 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 staffed by doctors 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--along with the alleged use of disease-carrying and crop-eating pests against North Korea and Cuba. Lockwood reveals how easy it would be to use of insects in warfare and terrorism today: In 1989, domestic eco-terrorists extorted government officials and wreaked economic and political havoc by threatening to release the notorious Medfly into California's crops. A remarkable story of human ingenuity--and brutality--"Six-Legged Soldiers" is the first comprehensive look at the use of insects as weapons of war, from ancient times to the present day.

No comments: