Sowing Dragons Teeth CL

Philip C. Winslow, Author
Philip C. Winslow, Author Beacon Press (MA) $21 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8070-5004-0
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Compared to their WWII predecessors, modern land mines are cheap, easy to lay down, reliable, long-lived and highly effective. This makes them particularly desirable for low-tech, low-budget forces and movements, like those in Cambodia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Winslow, a long-time foreign correspondent, uses his experiences in Angola (""the highest number of amputees per inhabitant in the world"") to make an increasingly familiar case against anti-personnel land mines, which, when left behind, have had a devastating effect on civilians. Mine fields are often poorly marked, or are simply forgotten. The result is death or mutilation for hundreds of civilians annually, like Chisola Pezo (""a double handicap: a woman amputee""), who was driven into mined territory in a desperate search for food. As Winslow tracks Pezo's rudimentary care and struggle for survival, he relays much about Angola's civil war, which ended uneasily in 1994, and about what the government and advisory groups are doing to clear the mines and get the country going again. It is a nearly impossible task. Mine-clearing is always a slow and painstaking process, as dangerous as it is expensive. Winslow is eloquent and compelling in presenting the case of those who believe the production and export of anti-personnel mines should be both legally banned and morally condemned. In the interim, crutches will remain basic necessities and fields will lie fallow in areas that have been war zones. (Sept.) FYI: For each copy sold, Beacon will donate 50 cents to the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation for their work in providing artificial limbs to land mine victims in Angola.
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