Napalm

Napalm

An American Biography

Book - 2013
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Harvard University Press

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 fromApocalypse 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.


Napalm was invented on Valentine’s Day 1942 at a secret Harvard war research laboratory. It created an inferno that killed over 87,500 people in Tokyo—more than died in the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki—and went on to incinerate 64 Japanese cities. The Bomb got the press, but napalm did the work. Robert Neer offers the first history.

Baker & Taylor
Presents a history of the incendiary weapon, a symbol of misguided American military power, from its invention at Harvard in 1943, its use during World War II against Japanese cities and in the Vietnam War, and final condemnation by the United Nations.

Book News
This is a history of napalm, the incendiary weapon invented in a Harvard laboratory in 1942, used to incinerate far more people in Japanese cities than the atomic bombs that came after, and finally earning public notoriety in the United States for its use during the Vietnam War. Neer (Columbia U.) covers the development and use of the weapon, the politics of its use from World War II to the US invasion of Iraq, international efforts to criminalize certain uses, and perceptions in popular culture. Belknap Press is an imprint of Harvard U. Press. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

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.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, c2013
ISBN: 9780674073012
Branch Call Number: 355.8245 NEE
Characteristics: viii, 310 p., [30] p. of plates :,ill. ;,24 cm.

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