320 pages, illustrations
Locust is the story of how one insect shaped the history of the western United States In 1876 the US Congress declared the locust "the single greatest impediment to the settlement of the country between Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains". Throughout the nineteenth century, swarms of locusts regularly swept across the American continent, turning noon into dusk, devastating farm communities and bringing trains to a halt. The outbreaks subsided in the 1890s, and then suddenly - and mysteriously - the Rocky Mountain locust vanished. A century later, entomologist Jeffrey Lockwood vowed to discover why. A compelling personal narrative drawing on historical accounts and modern science, this beautifully written book brings to life the cultural, economic and political forces at work in America in the late nineteenth century, even as it solves one of the greatest extinction mysteries of our time.
Lockwood makes a compelling case that he has solved what he calls 'perhaps the greatest ecological mystery of modern times.' Along the way, he tells a tale of the Old West that few of us have heard before, and he tells it exceedingly well. Los Angeles Times Book Review"
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Jeffrey A Lockwood is Professor of Entomology at the University of Wyoming. He is the author of Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving and has written numerous articles for magazines such as Orion, Wild Earth and American Entomologist.