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Pesticides, a love story : America's enduring embrace of dangerous chemicals / Michelle Mart.

By: Mart, Michelle, 1964-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Culture America: Publisher: Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, [2015]Description: 1 online resource (337 pages).Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 0700621571; 9780700621576.Subject(s): Nature -- Effect of human beings on -- United States -- History | Public opinion -- United States -- History | Pesticides -- United States -- Public opinion -- History | Pesticides -- Social aspects -- United States -- History | Agricultural chemicals -- United States -- History | Pesticides -- United States -- HistoryAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Pesticides.DDC classification: 363.7 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Falling in Love : The Golden Age of Synthetic Pesticides -- Trouble in Paradise : The USDA and the Rise of Critical Voices -- Breakup? : The Cultural Impact of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring -- Foreign Affairs : How Pesticides Could Help Americans Feed the World and Win a War -- The Twenty-Year Itch : Activists, Experts, and the Regulatory Era -- Love Is Blind : Chemical Disasters at Home and Abroad -- Recommitment : Endocrine Disruptors, GMOs, and Organic Food.
Scope and content: "A provocative cultural history of pesticides and their controversial use and depiction in the United States. Mart contends that--despite the sharp concerns raised by environmentalists and others since the appearance of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring--Americans have not only never resolved the inherent tension between costs and benefits presented by these chemicals, but have actually grown ever more attached to them with the passage of time"-- Provided by publisher.Scope and content: "'Presto! No More Pests!' proclaimed a 1955 article introducing two new pesticides, 'miracle-workers for the housewife and back-yard farmer.' Easy to use, effective, and safe: who wouldn't love synthetic pesticides? Apparently most Americans did--and apparently still do. Why--in the face of dire warnings, rising expense, and declining effectiveness--do we cling to our chemicals? Michelle Mart wondered. Her book, a cultural history of pesticide use in postwar America, offers an answer. America's embrace of synthetic pesticides began when they burst on the scene during World War II and has held steady into the 21st century--for example, more than 90% of soybeans grown in the US in 2008 are Roundup Ready GMOs, dependent upon generous use of the herbicide glyphosate to control weeds. Mart investigates the attraction of pesticides, with their up-to-the-minute promise of modernity, sophisticated technology, and increased productivity--in short, their appeal to human dreams of controlling nature. She also considers how they reinforced Cold War assumptions of Western economic and material superiority. Though the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the rise of environmentalism might have marked a turning point in Americans' faith in pesticides, statistics tell a different story. Pesticides, a Love Story recounts the campaign against DDT that famously ensued; but the book also shows where our notions of Silent Spring's revolutionary impact falter--where, in spite of a ban on DDT, farm use of pesticides in the United States more than doubled in the thirty years after the book was published. As a cultural survey of popular and political attitudes toward pesticides, Pesticides, a Love Story tries to make sense of this seeming paradox. At heart, it is an exploration of the story we tell ourselves about the costs and benefits of pesticides--and how corporations, government officials, ordinary citizens, and the press shape that story to reflect our ideals, interests, and emotions"-- Provided by publisher.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
SB950.2.A1 M37 2015 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt1ckpbk2 Available ocn927159823

Print version record.

Falling in Love : The Golden Age of Synthetic Pesticides -- Trouble in Paradise : The USDA and the Rise of Critical Voices -- Breakup? : The Cultural Impact of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring -- Foreign Affairs : How Pesticides Could Help Americans Feed the World and Win a War -- The Twenty-Year Itch : Activists, Experts, and the Regulatory Era -- Love Is Blind : Chemical Disasters at Home and Abroad -- Recommitment : Endocrine Disruptors, GMOs, and Organic Food.

"A provocative cultural history of pesticides and their controversial use and depiction in the United States. Mart contends that--despite the sharp concerns raised by environmentalists and others since the appearance of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring--Americans have not only never resolved the inherent tension between costs and benefits presented by these chemicals, but have actually grown ever more attached to them with the passage of time"-- Provided by publisher.

"'Presto! No More Pests!' proclaimed a 1955 article introducing two new pesticides, 'miracle-workers for the housewife and back-yard farmer.' Easy to use, effective, and safe: who wouldn't love synthetic pesticides? Apparently most Americans did--and apparently still do. Why--in the face of dire warnings, rising expense, and declining effectiveness--do we cling to our chemicals? Michelle Mart wondered. Her book, a cultural history of pesticide use in postwar America, offers an answer. America's embrace of synthetic pesticides began when they burst on the scene during World War II and has held steady into the 21st century--for example, more than 90% of soybeans grown in the US in 2008 are Roundup Ready GMOs, dependent upon generous use of the herbicide glyphosate to control weeds. Mart investigates the attraction of pesticides, with their up-to-the-minute promise of modernity, sophisticated technology, and increased productivity--in short, their appeal to human dreams of controlling nature. She also considers how they reinforced Cold War assumptions of Western economic and material superiority. Though the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the rise of environmentalism might have marked a turning point in Americans' faith in pesticides, statistics tell a different story. Pesticides, a Love Story recounts the campaign against DDT that famously ensued; but the book also shows where our notions of Silent Spring's revolutionary impact falter--where, in spite of a ban on DDT, farm use of pesticides in the United States more than doubled in the thirty years after the book was published. As a cultural survey of popular and political attitudes toward pesticides, Pesticides, a Love Story tries to make sense of this seeming paradox. At heart, it is an exploration of the story we tell ourselves about the costs and benefits of pesticides--and how corporations, government officials, ordinary citizens, and the press shape that story to reflect our ideals, interests, and emotions"-- Provided by publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Mart (Penn State Univ.) provides a detailed history of the global "love affair" with technology in general and pesticides in particular. The 86 pages (approximately 25 percent of the book) devoted to notes and a bibliography attest to this historian's attention to detail. The book is organized into seven chronological chapters that begin with the 1950s and DDT, giving voice to both marketers and opponents of unbridled pesticide use. Mart shows that Rachel Carson's watershed Silent Spring (1962) had a major impact culturally--jump-starting the environmental movement--yet surprisingly small impact on the use of pesticides. In fact, pesticide use continued to grow and perhaps sped up the replacement of persistent organochlorines of low human toxicity with more toxic organophosphates, jeopardizing farm workers' health. She examines the US export of banned pesticides, Agent Orange, and dioxin; the antecedents and consequences of the 1984 Bhopal disaster; and genetically modified organisms and endocrine disruption. Health and organic have become popular terms, but pesticide use on crops remains widespread. Pesticide licensing by the EPA does not follow a precautionary approach but requires the EPA to show evidence of harm. Mart believes that only a "groundswell of opinion and sustained consensus" will end the love affair. One senses Mart's frustration. A useful and objective--if not dispassionate--and comprehensive account. Summing Up: Recommended. All library collections. --Michael Gochfeld, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

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