I’ve just finished a great book. War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring. Written by American professor Edmund Russell it explains why chemicals are so prevalent in our life today. Setting out the connections between the development of chemical warfare and the use of chemicals in agriculture using reference to original source material from the minutes of committee meetings, media reports of the time and first hand testimony he shows how and why chemicals were both an enormous success and failure at the same time. Anyone wanting to know why a search for biological knowledge is a sane alternative to the ever continuing search for new chemicals should read this book. It is a well written, non emotional study which fairly sets out the history as it played out without being biased to one idea or the other. The book is based on his doctoral dissertation, which won the Rachel Carson Prize from the American Society for Environmental History. Highly recommended.