Proving Grounds brings together a wide range of scholars across disciplines and geographical borders to deepen our understanding of the environmental impact that U.S. military presence has had at home and abroad. The result is a complex and nuanced view that embraces the ironies, contradictions, and unintended consequences of U.S. militarism around the world. The essays in this collection survey the environmental damage caused by weapons testing and military bases to local residents, animal populations, and landscapes, and they also examine the military's efforts to close and repurpose bases – often as wildlife reserves. In complicating our understanding of the U.S. military's presence around the world, the essayists also reveal the rare cases when the military is actually ahead of the curve on environmental regulation compared to the private sector. The result is the most comprehensive examination to date of the U.S. military's environmental footprint – for better or worse – across the globe.
"This collection is a major addition to the literature on the environmental consequences of U.S. military operations during and since the Cold War."
– Richard Tucker, author and editor of Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of War
"Proving Grounds is an excellent collection of essays examining various aspects of the U.S. military's relationship to the environment."
– Sasha Davis, Journal of American History
"Historian Edwin Martini has assembled a fine cast of scholars for examining the environmental impact and legacy of US military bases during the twentieth century [...] The editor and his team are to be commended for highlighting the issues and furthering informed debate."
– Christopher M. Rein, Environmental History
1. Defending the Nation, Protecting the Land
2. Weather, Otters, and Bombs
3. Incident at Galisteo
4. "This Is Really Bad Stuff Buried Here"
5. The War on Plants
6. Addressing Environmental Risks and Mobilizing Democracy?
7. Reality Revealed
8. A Wildlife Insurgency
9. Restoration and Meaning on Former Military Lands in the United States
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Edwin A. Martini is associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of history at Western Michigan University. He is the author of Agent Orange: History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty and Invisible Enemies: The American War on Vietnam, 1975-2000. The contributors are Neil Oatsvall, Brandon Davis, Leisl Carr Childers, Daniel Weimer, Jennie Liss Ohayon, Hee-Jin Han, Yooil Bae, Katherine Keirns, and David Havlick.