Bookshelf Spotlight: Agent Orange & Viet Nam

Featured Books

* Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange
* Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam
* The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment
* Invisible Children: The Third Generation Of Agent Orange Victims In Vietnam
* Agent Orange: Collateral Damage in Vietnam

Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange


by Fred Wilcox
Seven Locks Press, 1989

Telling a tragic and important story, Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange chronicle their discovery of the cause of serious illnesses within their ranks and birth defects among their children, as well as their long battle with a government that refused to listen to their complaints.

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Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam


by Fred A. Wilcox & Noam Chomsky
Seven Stories Press, 2011

Scorched Earth is the first book to chronicle the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people and their environment, where, even today, more than 3 million people—including 500,000 children—are sick and dying from birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses that can be directly traced to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Weaving first-person accounts with original research, Vietnam War scholar Fred A. Wilcox examines long-term consequences for future generations, laying bare the ongoing monumental tragedy in Vietnam, and calls for the United States government to finally admit its role in chemical warfare in Vietnam. Wilcox also warns readers that unless we stop poisoning our air, food, and water supplies, the cancer epidemic in the United States and other countries will only worsen, and he urgently demands the chemical manufacturers of Agent Orange to compensate the victims of their greed and to stop using the Earth’s rivers, lakes, and oceans as toxic waste dumps. Vietnam has chosen August 10—the day that the US began spraying Agent Orange on Vietnam—as Agent Orange Day, to commemorate all its citizens who were affected by the deadly chemical. Scorched Earth will be released upon the third anniversary of this day, in honor of all those whose families have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this tragedy.

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The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment


by David Zierler
University of Georgia Press, 2011

As the public increasingly questioned the war in Vietnam, a group of American scientists deeply concerned about the use of Agent Orange and other herbicides started a movement to ban what they called “ecocide.”

David Zierler traces this movement, starting in the 1940s, when weed killer was developed in agricultural circles and theories of counterinsurgency were studied by the military. These two trajectories converged in 1961 with Operation Ranch Hand, the joint U.S.-South Vietnamese mission to use herbicidal warfare as a means to defoliate large areas of enemy territory.

Driven by the idea that humans were altering the world’s ecology for the worse, a group of scientists relentlessly challenged Pentagon assurances of safety, citing possible long-term environmental and health effects. It wasn’t until 1970 that the scientists gained access to sprayed zones confirming that a major ecological disaster had occurred. Their findings convinced the U.S. government to renounce first use of herbicides in future wars and, Zierler argues, fundamentally reoriented thinking about warfare and environmental security in the next forty years.

Incorporating in-depth interviews, unique archival collections, and recently declassified national security documents, Zierler examines the movement to ban ecocide as it played out amid the rise of a global environmental consciousness and growing disillusionment with the containment policies of the cold war era.

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Invisible Children: The Third Generation Of Agent Orange Victims In Vietnam


by Marilyn M. Tycer
CreateSpace, 2009

Though the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the effects of it are poisoning a third generation. Invisible Children explores the lives of 45 children who are affected by the Vietnam War-era herbicide Agent Orange. The stories of these “invisible children” are told through a mixture of photography and art that transcends mere documentation–this book will help you begin to understand the devastating consequences for human life when powerful chemicals are abused.

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Agent Orange: Collateral Damage in Vietnam


by Philip Jones Griffiths
Trolley Press, 2004

Philip Jones Griffiths, for a record five years the President of Magnum Photos, created in Vietnam, Inc. a record of the war there of almost Biblical proportions. No one who has seen it will forget its haunting images. In Agent Orange he has added a postscript that is equally memorable. In 1960 the United States war machine concluded that an efficient deterrent to the enemy troops and civilians would be the devastation of the crops and forestry that afforded them both succour and cover for their operations. Initial descriptions of the scheme included “Food Denial Program,” later adapted to “depriving cover for enemy troops.” They gave the idea the name “Operation Hades,” but were advised that “Operation Ranch Hand” was a more suitable cognomen for PR purposes. The US had developed herbicides for the task. The most infamous became known as Agent Orange after the coloured stripe on the canisters used to distribute it. The planes that carried the canisters had ‘only we can prevent forests ‘ as a logo on their fuselages. They were right. It was very effective. Unfortunately the herbicide also contained Dioxin, probably the world’s deadliest poison. In Agent Orange Philip Jones Griffiths has photographed the children and grandchildren of the farmers whose faces were lifted to the gentle rain of the poison cloud. Some maintain that the connection between the maimed subjects of Griffiths’ photographs and the exposure to Agent Orange is not scientifically established. However, the compensation payments made by the herbicide manufactures to those Americans sprayed in Viet Nam refute this assertion. Historians will find it sufficient to say that there will always be collateral damage, that useful PR phrase, in war and that Philip Jones Griffiths should understand the consequences of martial endeavours. He most certainly does. He has catalogued here a pitiless series of photographs, and there can be no doubt that they should and will be recognized.

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