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Osiris. 2004;19:220-33.

Poisoned food, poisoned uniforms, and anthrax: or, how guerillas die in war.

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Department of History, 025 Keene-Flint Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


Many people believe that Rhodesia, struggling to maintain minority rule in Africa, used chemical and biological weapons against African guerilla armies in the liberation war. Clothes and food were routinely poisoned, and Rhodesian agents, perhaps in concert with global forces of reaction, caused the largest single outbreak of anthrax in modern times. Oral interviews with traditional healers and Rhodesians' confessional memoirs of the war suggest that deaths by poisoning or disease were not so straightforward, that guerillas and healers and doctors struggled to understand not only what caused death but also what kind of death a poisoned uniform or poisoned boot was.

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