JMU professor examining the history of landmines

jmuKenneth R. Rutherford, professor of political science at James Madison University, is unearthing the history of landmines.

Despite all the research that has been published on the American Civil War, one aspect that has never received due attention is the widespread use of landmines. In his newest book, “America’s Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War,” Rutherford relies on a host of primary and secondary research to demonstrate how and why the mines were built, where they were deployed, the effects of their use, and the impacts on those who suffered from their deadly blasts.

“After the Civil War, landmines became a major component of land warfare by most major militaries, and the weapon’s use has resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties,” says Rutherford.

“Landmines are the number one cause of U.S. military casualties in current operations, and remain a dangerous threat. The book lends credence to the argument that the American Civil War served as a precursor to modern warfare tactics and weapons,” Rutherford adds.

Rutherford, who is known for his decades of work in the landmine discipline, and who himself lost his legs to a mine in Africa, is co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network and a prominent leader in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

“America’s Buried History” is an important contribution to the literature on one of the most fundamental, contentious, and significant modern conventional weapons.


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