Napalm, incendiary gel that sticks to skin and burns to the bone, came into the world on Valentine’s Day 1942 at a secret Harvard war research laboratory. On March 9, 1945, it created an inferno that killed over 87,500 people in Tokyo—more than died in the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It went on to incinerate sixty-four of Japan’s largest cities. The Bomb got the press, but napalm did the work.
After World War II, the incendiary held the line against communism in Greece and Korea—Napalm Day led the 1950 counter-attack from Inchon—and fought elsewhere under many flags. Americans generally applauded, until the Vietnam War. Today, napalm lives on as a pariah: a symbol of American cruelty and the misguided use of power, according to anti-war protesters in the 1960s and popular culture from Apocalypse Now to the punk band Napalm Death and British street artist Banksy. Its use by Serbia in 1994 and by the United States in Iraq in 2003 drew condemnation. United Nations delegates judged deployment against concentrations of civilians a war crime in 1980. After thirty-one years, America joined the global consensus, in 2011.
Robert Neer has written the first history of napalm, from its inaugural test on the Harvard College soccer field, to a Marine Corps plan to attack Japan with millions of bats armed with tiny napalm time bombs, to the reflections of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, a girl who knew firsthand about its power and its morality.
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Robert M. Neer is an attorney and Core Lecturer in the History Department at Columbia University.Review:
Napalm is a brilliantly conceived, masterfully executed, and deeply disturbing book. Robert M. Neer offers a vivid examination of the military-technological partnership that drives the evolution of warfare, with moral considerations lagging far behind. (Andrew J. Bacevich, editor of The Short American Century: A Postmortem)
No one else has told so deeply and compellingly the story of how 'Napalm was born a hero but lives a pariah'--a terrifying weapon associated with America's Vietnam War whose history went back much further, as did the dishonest efforts of leaders to cope with its reputation. (Michael S. Sherry, author of In the Shadow of War: The United States since the 1930s)
Napalm is a revelation. In a story that takes us from Harvard Stadium to Vietnam, Robert M. Neer retells the past 70 years of American history through a single extraordinary and terrible invention. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the American way of war and its humanitarian dilemmas. (John Fabian Witt, author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History)
In this engrossing study, historian Neer recounts the prodigious youth and reviled old age of an iconic weapon...Neer's thoroughly researched, well-written account mixes lucid discussions of chemical engineering and the law of war with gut-wrenching depictions of napalm's nightmarish effects. More than that, it furnishes a thought-provoking lesson on evolving attitudes toward military means and ends. (Publishers Weekly 2013-01-14)
Readers expecting a polemic may be pleasantly surprised at this lucid account of the technical, political and ethical features of a notorious symbol of American inhumanity in war...Napalm receives an overdue but thoroughly satisfying history. (Kirkus Reviews 2013-01-15)
The author details napalm's creation by Louis Fieser (1899-1977) at Harvard and its pre-Vietnam use, wreaking mayhem in Japan during World War II and later in the Korean War. Neer's coverage of napalm's toll on thousands of Vietnamese citizens and the growing American awareness of these atrocities, which sparked the antiwar movement against Dow Chemical, napalm's largest producer, is gripping... [A] concise, often fascinating, story of this weapon's place in warfare and American popular culture. (Karl Helicher Library Journal 2013-03-15)
[Neer has] a brilliant eye for the horrible detail...Neer constructs this early narrative with exceptional skill and intelligence, vividly tracing the path that connects gleeful scientists on Cambridge soccer fields to streets and basements choked with human ash in Europe and Asia. (Chris Bray Bookforum 2013-04-01)
Neer recounts in rich detail the extraordinary evolution of napalm from hero in the gilded age of post-WWII American power to pariah in the aftermath of Vietnam...Neer ultimately moves beyond the protests to examine how antiwar grassroots activism, art, journalism and politics during and immediately after the Vietnam War radically reshaped cultural attitudes about napalm and the United States. (Warren Wilkins Vietnam Magazine 2013-06-01)
Napalm: An American Biography is...meticulously researched and vitally important...Napalm came to be employed the world over. Neer's chronicle of its use by American allies and client regimes against opponents in the Philippines, Greece, Cuba, Egypt, Peru, Bolivia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Algeria, Kenya and Angola, among other nations, is a revelation and one of the most enlightening portions of Napalm...Napalm: An American Biography is a fascinating and long-overdue study of one of modern warfare's signature weapons. Neer has provided a valuable book that fills in historical gaps and sheds much-needed light on a history that many would rather forget. (Nick Turse San Francisco Chronicle 2013-03-24)
[This] is the first comprehensive history of napalm, and tells the story of how a weapon deemed so useful in World War II and Korea hit a turning point in Vietnam. During that time it became the target of antiwar protestors, who mounted a nationwide campaign to stop Dow Chemical Co. from manufacturing it. (Gal Beckerman Boston Globe 2013-03-24)
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Descripción Belknap Press, Cambridge, 2013. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 352 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. MILITARY. "In this engrossing study, historian Neer recounts the prodigious youth and reviled old age of an iconic weapon . . . Neer's thoroughly researched, well-written account mixes lucid discussions of chemical engineering and the law of war with gut-wrenching depiction of napalm's nightmarish effects." - Publishers Weekly (Key Words: Napalm, Robert M. Neer, Bombs, Weapons, Chemical Engineering, Military). book. Nº de ref. de la librería 79677X1
Descripción Harvard Univ Press. Estado de conservación: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Nº de ref. de la librería 2364437
Descripción Belknap Press, 2013. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110674073010
Descripción Belknap Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0674073010 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0255133