This review is about one book and four articles, written by a historian and sociologist of science, J. B. Buhs. His thesis at the University was about The Fire Ant Wars (adapted for the book) but he got therefore access to some archives that nobody saw before and gave him some material incorporated in the book and the articles. They are:
Joshua Blu Buhs. "Building on Bedrock: William Steel Creighton and the Reformation of Ant Systematics, 1925-1970." Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 33, Issue 1: 27-70, 2000.
Joshua Blu Buhs. "The Fire Ant Wars. Nature and Science in the Pesticide Controversies of the Late Twentieth Century." Isis, Vol. 93, Issue 3, 377-400, 2002.
Joshua Blu Buhs. "Dead Cows on a Georgia Field. Mapping the Cultural Landscape of the Post-World War II American Pesticide Controversies." Environmental History, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 99-121, 2002.
Joshua Blu Buhs. "The Fire Ant Wars. Nature, Science, and Public Policy in Twentieth-Century America." x + 216 pages, 5 halftones, 13 line drawings, 2004.
Joshua Blu Buhs. "Ground Zero in the Fire Ant Wars." Alabama Heritage, Issue 82, 24-31, Fall 2006.
You should read them in the order they are published!
First you have "Building on Bedrock", the history of the writing of the 1950 classic book on the ants of North America, the reactions on the book and the life of W. S. Creighton, the author. In it the "Happy Harvard Team" is introduced, E. O. Wilson and W. L. Brown, Jr., who first agreed with the book but later on got very critical about it and wanted also to control Myrmecology. One of the disputes (with publications on both sides!) was about the subgenus Raptiformica. This subgenus was, for North America, finally revised by W. F. Buren. Creighton and Buren, together with other Myrmecologists, fought against the "Happy Harvard Team" and, in the end, survived the dispute.
The article "The Fire Ant Wars" describes the technical way Buhs studied these Wars and gives a general overview of the history of the ways the USDA wanted to eradicate the fire ant in North America and the opposition against this chemical war.
The article "Dead Cows on a Georgia Field" describes the history of the first death cows in Georgia after the first sprayings against fire ants and how they had to prove that the chemicals of The Fire Ant Wars were responsible! At a certain moment, the USDA said that you can't compare domesticated cows and wild animals!
The book "The Fire Ant Wars" gives a complete history about those wars. First a natural history of the fire ants and the invasion of North America (and why this was possible!). Second the view of the USDA and their allies - chemical eradication. Third the view of R. Carson and allies - control and integration. Fourth the history of the wars, politics and justice included. Fifth the lessons learned and what now - biological control. In this book the discussions between Creighton/Buren and Wilson go on, Buren revises the fire ants and proves Wilson wrong, Creighton blocks support for the USDA because Wilson supported the USDA...
And finally, "Ground Zero" reviews all about the fire ants in Alabama/North America (with e.g. some more quotes from Creighton about the fire ants and the wars against them).
This series is a very good review of Creighton and The Fire Ant Wars. There are only a few typographic errors (In the first article and the book a few small words too much) and only two remarks on the book. At the time of publication there was some uncertainty about the name S. invicta (but this is now fixed) and how many times the ant was introduced in North America (now known to be twice). That's all!
For those interested in the history of Myrmecology: Read them all if you can!!!
P.s. After these ant-histories J. B. Buhs got interested in Bigfoot.......