Monin, Lydia

views updated

MONIN, Lydia




Agent—c/o Trafalgar Square Books, P.O. Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053.


Author. Coproducer of four-part television documentary The Devil's Gardens: A History of Landmines.


(With Andrew Gallimore) The Devil's Gardens: A History of Landmines, Pimlico/Trafalgar Square (London, England), 2002.


Lydia Monin, together with Andrew Gallimore, produced the four-part television documentary and accompanying book The Devil's Gardens: A History of Landmines to further the cause of ridding the world of one of the most personally destructive weapons. Their work provides a history of the development and use of landmines and the weapon's catastrophic effects on people all over the world.

Landmines have been used in warfare since World War I. The original prototypes were not much more than tunnels filled with explosives. Later the portable anti-tank mine was created, followed by anti-personnel landmines, some small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. As Alex de Waal observed in a review of The Devil's Gardens for the Times Literary Supplement, landmine manufacturers have stated in their advertisements that the "explosive has been precisely calculated to have the blast effect and not the fragmentation effect to make the man disabled and incapacitate him permanently." In their book Monin and Gallimore emphasize the debilitating effects of these weapons, which, according to John Pearn in the British Medical Journal, are triggered and explode at a rate of two to three thousand times each month in countries around the world.

The more contemporary landmines are insidious weapons, which, as De Waal stated, are "designed to spring from the ground to the height of a metre before exploding, smashing their fragments into the victim's genitals, torso and face." By the early 2000s more than twenty-eight countries were planted with landmines, including several regions of Africa as well as Afghanisan, where it is feared that the land will not be cleared for another century. Landmines, according to Pearn, are ranked as one of the "top six preventable causes of child mortality in developing nations."

The Devil's Gardens also discusses the efforts of international movements to ban landmines and to clear existing minefields. Well-known figures such as Princess Diana and Paul McCartney helped to raise public awareness of the problem. The 1997 Ottawa Treaty, which prohibited the use of landmines, and the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, which went to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, has legitimized the movement and brought critically needed support. Some countries, such as Australia, have made a concerted effort to destroy stockpiles of the weapons. But other countries, in contrast, have actually increased their use. Groups such as Adopt-a-Minefield have since formed and helped to raise money for the clearing of landmines.

"Anyone trying to grasp the full dimensions of this deadly international problem," wrote Jim Doyle in his review of The Devil's Gardens for Library Journal, "should read this book."



British Medical Journal, June 29, 2002, John Pearn, review of The Devil's Gardens: A History of Landmines, p. 1589.

Contemporary Review, May 2002, review of The Devil's Gardens, p. 316.

Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Jim Doyle, review of The Devil's Gardens, p. 108.

New Scientist, February 9, 2002, review of The Devil's Gardens, p. 45.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 2002, review of The Devil's Gardens, p. 74.

Times Literary Supplement, May 24, 2002, Alex De Waal, review of The Devil's Gardens, p. 28.*