The Jungle Books

Terrific posting on jungles and war natures (in different senses of the term: environment/nonhumans/affective sensibilities/systems) over at geographical imaginations.

geographical imaginations

Gilles CARON Vietnam 1967In his classic memoir, A rumor of war, Philip Caputo recalled reading a series of US Army manuals about what was in store before he deployed to Vietnam.  Once there, flying over the rainforest,

‘Looking at the green immensity below, I could only conclude that those manuals had been written by men whose idea of a jungle was the Everglades National Park. There was nothing friendly about the Vietnamese bush; it was one of the last of the dark regions on earth…’

I’ve been reading those Field Manuals on Jungle Warfare too, but in the illuminating light of Dan Clayton‘s wonderfully suggestive essay on ‘Militant tropicality’ [Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38 (2013) 180-192], and three thematics have emerged so far.

First, the manuals worked to displace pre-existing imaginative geographies: in effect, they reassured the young soldier, ‘it’s all in the mind’.  The strategy was…

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