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Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam [Kindle Edition]

Fred A. Wilcox , Noam Chomsky
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


• "I consider Scorched Earth to be the Silent Spring of chemical warfare in Vietnam, a powerful clarion call [that brings together] scientific evidence, passionate argument, Vietnamese interviews and documentation, review of the class action suits . . . and new and little known evidence gathered by Vietnamese scholars . . . to form one coherent argument." --Dr. John Marciano, Vietnam scholar, and professor emeritus, State University of New York–Cortland
• "A fascinating and compelling book on the effects on the Vietnamese people of the Agent Orange defoliation campaign during the Vietnam War, a personal, impassioned account on the part of the victims, a fascinating and at times shocking tale of an important and unresolved episode in American history." --Dr. Michael Viola, director, Medicine for Peace, and retired chair, oncology department, State University of New York–Stonybrook

About the Author

FRED A. WILCOX has been a scholar on the Vietnam War for the past thirty years. He has published numerous articles and made several media appearances as a trusted authority on the war and its aftereffects. He teaches at Ithaca College. 

NOAM CHOMSKY is known throughout the world for his political and philosophical writings as well as for his groundbreaking linguistics work. He has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955 and remains one of America's most uncompromising voices of dissent. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1741 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009LJP74U
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (September 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4X9WY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,433 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scorched Earth January 7, 2012
During the Vietnam War the American military used powerful herbicides and defoliants against vegetation in Vietnam, in an attempt to deny the enemy natural cover. The 9 year program was called Operation Ranch Hand. Not only were defoliants applied to the dense jungles of the country, but crops were also targeted; the latter was an obvious war crime, and both were crimes against the Earth and her human inhabitants. The effects of Agent Orange have probably affected the lives of millions: American GIs, Vietnamese fighters and inhabitants of affected areas, and the children of these groups have all been adversely impacted by the use of this toxic agent. Not only this, but Agent Orange affects the lives of the second and third generations of offspring of those initially affected. Fred Wilcox's book is not an exhaustive survey on the use of Agent Orange and its aftermath; rather, it is more of a "people's history" of Agent Orange, focusing almost entirely on the lives of Vietnamese who have been affected by it, directly or indirectly. Readers looking for a grand overview of the use of toxins in Vietnam will have to look elsewhere (perhaps to Wilcox's other book). Readers looking for personal accounts of this tragedy will do well to start here. (Note: Amazon advertises this book as being written with an introduction by Noam Chomsky. This is not the case.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The legacies of horrors January 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book should be read only if you have an extremely strong and healthy heart and stomach.
For Fred Wilcox spares nothing and no one in telling and describing one of the most horrible episodes in the annals of human history, namely that of Agent Orange and the terrible crimes which were committed and perpetrated by the policy makers during the Vietnam war on the Vietnamese people.
In fact, I believe that this book is the first one that gives the reader a comprehensive
survey and analysis of those shocking times when Agent Orange was dropped on Vietnam, causing devastation, death, cancer, deformities, birth defects and many more horrendous inflictions on the Vietnamese people.
As Fred Wilcox lets us know, this book has been in the making for more than ten years, during which he and his son Brandon traveled to Vietnam in order to meet the survivors, talk to the doctors and victims or their families and take pictures that would document this war crime for posterity.
Agent Orange was a herbicide so named after the orange stripe painted around the 55-gallon barrels in which it was stored. This agent of death was contaminated with dioxin, a powerful carcinogenic, and whose spread over the North Vietnam fields, forests and jungles got the blessing of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. True, this was not the first time that such a biological war was ever perpetrated in human history. There are many more examples, as they are documented by the author. Hoever, this was the first time in human history that such a crime was committed over a whole country where the victims were not only the soldiers and the civilians of the enemy, but also the American soldiers who later became the veterans of the Vietnam war.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man's inhumanity to man December 17, 2011
This will be a very emotional experience for the reader. Sympathy for the people who tell of their personal suffering for decades and for those who were born deformed (many photos included in the book), anger at American injustice, and outrage that what has happened is not "right".

Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange by touching sprayed foliage or eating/drinking local water/food, flying the planes doing the spraying, or swimming in the rivers have been denied health benefits for decades. They have had cancers, skin rashes, and deformed babies. Ditto for Australia, New Zealand, Korea and other US allies. The Vietnamese (North and South) have had the same situation but even now the residue is still infecting the third generation and their offspring.

These horrible after effects were unknown when Agent Orange was used to de-foliate the jungle cover that shielded the Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops from American attacks. P.12 "By 1971, the US Air Force had run 19,905 spray missions, an average of 34 daily, over the forests, jungles, and fields of southern Vietnam." By 1967 US soldiers who had not been wounded and had returned home were complaining of debilitating medical problems. Something was wrong. The VA and US gov't accused them of being drug addicts, lazy, etc.

Admiral Zumwalt investigated and charged that Monsanto conducted fraudulent studies to deny the relationship between Agent Orange and the growing number of victims. In 1990 an out of court settlement was made by Dow, Monsanto, and Diamond Shamrock. Fully disabled soldiers got $100 per month for 10 years, widows $3700. Money for medical care was used up in a couple of years. Out of 2.4 million soldiers who fought only 60,000 got any money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disgust for a criminal Government. October 27, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book reviews the USA policy of drenching Vietnam with Agent Orange, a policy first signed off by J.F.Kennedy. Vietnamese are still reeling from the effects of having millions of gallons of a defoliant poured over them, as are many members of the U.S. military. The makers assured the government that the defoliant was harmless to humans and animals, that dioxin was harmless. The corporations manufacturing this material and the lies that went with it should be held accountable and the US should pay the Vietnamese and American veterans millions in reparations. Do not purchase this book unless you have a strong stomach!
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