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“A Kind of Mylai … Against the Indochinese Countryside”: American Scientists, Herbicides, and South Vietnamese Mangrove Forests

  • Amy M. HayEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 45)

Abstract

In a 1972 book review of Harvest of Death, a collection of essays examining ­chemical warfare in South Vietnam, plant biologist Arthur Galston compared the US herbicide campaign to the “willful destruction of an entire people and its culture” that had happened during World War II and had been condemned at the Nuremberg trials (Galston 1972). Developing his analogy further, Galston noted that a crime of such magnitude against humanity was labeled genocide. In the case where “the willful and permanent destruction of an environment in which a people can live in a manner of their own choosing ought,” according to Galston, “to be designated by the term ecocide.” Harvest of Death, then, became “a document of a kind of Mylai perpetrated against the Indochinese countryside.” Galston represented one side of a sometimes bitterly divided group of American scientists as they sought to assess the damage done to the South Vietnamese countryside, most ­particularly the coastal mangrove forests of the Mekong Delta.

Keywords

Mangrove Forest Mekong Delta American Scientist Mangrove Swamp French Colonial 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History and PhilosophyUniversity of Texas – Pan AmericanEdinburgUSA

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