Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan

Paperback | May 2, 2011

byBrett WalkerForeword byWilliam Cronon

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Every person on the planet is entangled in a web of ecological relationships that link farms and factories with human consumers. Our lives depend on these relationships -- and are imperiled by them as well. Nowhere is this truer than on the Japanese archipelago.

During the nineteenth century, Japan saw the rise of Homo sapiens industrialis, a new breed of human transformed by an engineered, industrialized, and poisonous environment. Toxins moved freely from mines, factory sites, and rice paddies into human bodies.

Toxic Archipelago explores how toxic pollution works its way into porous human bodies and brings unimaginable pain to some of them. Brett Walker examines startling case studies of industrial toxins that know no boundaries: deaths from insecticide contaminations; poisonings from copper, zinc, and lead mining; congenital deformities from methylmercury factory effluents; and lung diseases from sulfur dioxide and asbestos.

This powerful, probing book demonstrates how the Japanese archipelago has become industrialized over the last two hundred years -- and how people and the environment have suffered as a consequence.

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From the Publisher

Every person on the planet is entangled in a web of ecological relationships that link farms and factories with human consumers. Our lives depend on these relationships -- and are imperiled by them as well. Nowhere is this truer than on the Japanese archipelago.During the nineteenth century, Japan saw the rise of Homo sapiens industria...

Brett L. Walker is Regents' Professor and department chair of history and philosophy at Montana State University, Bozeman. He is author of The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800 and The Lost Wolves of Japan.Brett Walker is Regents' Professor and department chairperson of history and philosoph...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.02 × 6.03 × 0.7 inPublished:May 2, 2011Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295991380

ISBN - 13:9780295991382

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Table of Contents

Preface AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Knowing Nature1. The Agency of Insects2. The Agency of Chemicals3. Copper Mining and Ecological Collapse4. Engineering Pain in the Jinzu River Basin6. Hell at the Hojo CollieryConclusionWorks Cited

Editorial Reviews

Every person on the planet is entangled in a web of ecological relationships that link farms and factories with human consumers. Our lives depend on these relationships -- and are imperiled by them as well. Nowhere is this truer than on the Japanese archipelago.During the nineteenth century, Japan saw the rise of Homo sapiens industrialis, a new breed of human transformed by an engineered, industrialized, and poisonous environment. Toxins moved freely from mines, factory sites, and rice paddies into human bodies. Toxic Archipelago explores how toxic pollution works its way into porous human bodies and brings unimaginable pain to some of them. Brett Walker examines startling case studies of industrial toxins that know no boundaries: deaths from insecticide contaminations; poisonings from copper, zinc, and lead mining; congenital deformities from methylmercury factory effluents; and lung diseases from sulfur dioxide and asbestos.This powerful, probing book demonstrates how the Japanese archipelago has become industrialized over the last two hundred years -- and how people and the environment have suffered as a consequence.'Ecology is history,' writes Brett Walker. Toxic Archipelago is a history of unexpected relationships and unintended consequences. It is a passionate reflection on the ecology of suffering and sacrifice and a provocative account of biological and social pain situated deep within the bodies and landscapes that have given rise to a modern industrialized Japan. - Gregg Mitman, author of Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes