Six-Legged Soldiers

Six-Legged Soldiers : Using Insects as Weapons of War

3.67 (168 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 4 business days
When will my order arrive?


The emir of Bukhara used assassin bugs to eat away the flesh of his prisoners. General Ishii Shiro during World War II released hundreds of millions of infected insects across China, ultimately causing more deaths than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. These are just two of many startling examples found in Six-legged Soldiers, a brilliant portrait of the many weirdly creative, truly frightening, and ultimately powerful ways in which insects have been used as weapons of war, terror, and torture. 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 insects in warfare and terrorism today: In 1989, domestic ecoterrorists 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.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 158.75 x 241.3 x 31.75mm | 708g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 49 halftones,1 line drawing
  • 0195333055
  • 9780195333053
  • 744,163

Table of contents

Section 1: Stinging Defeats and Venomous Victories
1: Bee Bombs and Wasp Warheads
2: Toxic Tactics and Terrors
3: Insects as Tools of Torture
Section 2: Vectors of Death
4: Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
5: The Victories of the Vectors
6: A Most UnCivil War
7: All's Lousy on the Eastern Front
Section 3: Bringing Fever and Famine to a World at War
8: A Monstrous Metamorphosis
9: Entomological Evil
10: Japan's Fleas and Flies
11: Japan's Pleas and Lies
12: Beetle Bombs
13: Waking the Slumbering Giants
Section 4: Cold Blooded Fighters of the Cold War
14: Korea's Hailstorms of Hexapods
15: A Swarm of Accusations
16: An Imaginary Menagerie?
17: The Big Itch
18: Yankee (and Vietnamese) Ingenuity
19: Cuban Missiles vs. American Arthropod
20: A Tiny Terrorist in Castro's Crops
Section 5: The Future of Entomological Warfare
21: Medflies, Fruits and Nuts
22: Fear on the Farm
23: Wimpy Warmups and Real Deals
24: Six-legged Guardian Angels
25: Insect Cyborgs and Roboflies
26: "Vigilant and Ready"?
Chapter Notes
show more

Review quote

Compelling. Simon Schama, Financial Times Lockwood's approach is fresh. PD Smith, The Guardian The book is an excellent read. Michelle Harvey, Times Higher Education Supplement It's a delightfully gory book. James Delingpole, Irish Mail on Sunday He writes with vigour and clarity, making the book very accessible. Joanna Bourne, The Times Lockwood has produced an engaging work. Robin McKie, The Observer 'Six-Legged Soldiers' exposes convincingly the likely devastating impact. An infectious, haunting read. Emmanuelle Smith, Financial Times It's a delightfully gory book. James Delingpole, Mail on Sunday 'Six Legged Soldiers' is an excellent account of the effect that anthropod-borne diseases have had on warefare. Kenneth J. Lithicum, Nature.
show more

About Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Jeffrey A. Lockwood is Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches in the department of philosophy and in the MFA program in creative writing. An accomplished writer, his work has been included in the popular anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing, and he is winner of both a Pushcart Prize and the John Burroughs Award. He is the author of Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving and Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier.
show more

Rating details

168 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 24% (40)
4 35% (58)
3 30% (50)
2 10% (16)
1 2% (4)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X