A well rounded, solid account on the birth and usage of one of the most devastating weapons developed in the 20th century from WW2 to now Full of fascinating facts and accounts from the inventors, the militaries that used it for various conflicts, to the victims who were forever traumatized by it. Neer, a lawyer and historian, sets out to produce an exhaustive history of napalm, and succeeds at producing one The first half of the book was interesting, showing the World War II push to create an incendiary jelly, which proved successful in a Harvard laboratory, largely driven by one chemist This jelly, napalm, found some use in the European theater, but was widely deployed in the Pacific war against Japan, where it proved revolutionary in taking the small occupied islands It also found a lot of use in area bombing of Japanese cities, which, due to their construction, were mostly leveled by combinations of conventional and napalm bombs In the second half, Neer details public reaction to napalm, from post World War II through post Vietnam war, and how the weapon was largely outlawed, though the United States reserved the right to continue using it if it saw fit This second half of the book, while perhaps interesting to a lawyer or historian, was less so to this layperson Overall, however, and interesting study of a fearsome and controversial weapon. Pretty interesting though gets a little repetitive towards the end A real indictment of these here United States Napalm and American biography was an incredibly detailed book that anyone wanting to learn about weapons of war and how Napalm was used should consider reading While this book is on the longer side it is completely full of great information that could help anyone gain knowledge on this particular topic The book starts out with how napalm first started and describes the researchers and what they aimed to do The book describes how the researchers at Harvard College flooded the tennis courts with water and tested Napalm in its earlier stages in on school grounds The book talks not only about its debut in the Vietnam war but also its some what controversial use in the Vietnam war Towards the middle of the book, the other tells about reporters sent to Vietnam to document the war The reporters featured tell of how the villages were destroyed along with countless lives This section of the book also tells of a girl seen running from her village seen burning in the background She herself was also covered in burns her facial expression terrified Many other children were seen throughout the book some had their parents to help comfort them while others were seen alone The purpose of this book did not seem to try and persuade people that the war was bad or good but just wanted to help inform people on both sides of the matter This book was full of great information but it was on the long side and did become quite slow at certain points of the book The author of Napalm an American biography Robert M Never seems to have quite the qualifications to write a book such as this This is partly because he is a professor at the University of Columbia giving core history lectures I feel that the author did an excellent job writing this book I liked how he showed both sides of the argument with both of the wars involved with the book [ EBOOK ] ⚆ Napalm ♍ Napalm, Incendiary Gel That Sticks To Skin And Burns To The Bone, Came Into The World On Valentine S Day At A Secret Harvard War Research Laboratory On March It Created An Inferno That Killed Over , People In Tokyo 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 WorkAfter World War II, The Incendiary Held The Line Against Communism In Greece And Korea Napalm Day Led The 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 S And Popular Culture From Apocalypse Now To The Punk Band Napalm Death And British Street Artist Banksy Its Use By Serbia In And By The United States In Iraq In Drew Condemnation United Nations Delegates Judged Deployment Against Concentrations Of Civilians A War Crime In After Thirty One Years, America Joined The Global Consensus, In 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 as a word is practically as disgusting as a deforming medical abnormality or repellent skin conditon sexually transmitted disease Nevertheless, the author gives readers a fair and sophisticated view of one of the post war years ultimate pariahs The utility of fire as a weapon is investigated from its classical heroic history in ancient and medieval times through the engineering problems it solves An incendiary device is economical, especially for purposes of delivery Since incendiary bombs start fires, using their targets for fuel, they do not have to bring their fuel with them This keeps weight and cost down and makes assembly and storage simple Hydrocarbon gelled incendiary bombs use contents that stay a liquid, even for a short time after impact This allows the contents to bounce off walls, splash around corners, and run into cracks and penetrate sub levels As grim as the subject is, incendiary gelled bombs are an engineering triumph, allowing remote strikes to be made into spaces it might otherwise require a squad of vulnerable soldiers to penetrate During the course of the narrative, Napalm takes us down unexpected anecdotal avenues an army plan to use bats yes, bats to be fitted with delayed detonation suicide vests as a way to deliver incendiaries across wide areas in remote locations Fire bombs work great in densely populated areas and industrial targets not so well in farm country The bat bomb sought to fill in the tactical gapNaturally the weapons use in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam are given detailed histories But where Napalm really succeeds is explaining the protest movement s logic, the counter argument by the defense industry, and the legal basis and challenges under various non use protocols The legal basis provides some of the most thought provoking material to be found in the book bordering on a review of ethics perhaps the most refreshing discussion of the law of war I ve ever come across in a neatly packed presentation written in plain language.Professional reviews stress the non political tone the author maintains throughout the book While our knee jerk presumption that napalm is bad isn t challenged much, the author s impartiality and genuine quest to understand his subject spins off a lot of fun koans to consider Neer shows how like everything, really things are never as straight forward as they might seem. This book covers every possible thing you could want to know about napalm, from its creator, to its use, its victims, its bad reputation, its ban, America s reluctance to agree to that ban consequently, its resurgence with a new name The bottom line Napalm is too efficient cost effective to ever be put to rest.When I began this book I found the opening chapters describing the invention process of this new incendiary weapon too dull and hard to follow I wanted to get to the action, the where and when this weapon had been used Once I did read the meaty stuff, I was curious and interested in the who, what, when, where why of its invention so I went back to re read the first chapters, this time with considerable interest in napalm s father, godfather, place of birth etc I use those human terms because this is called a biography, not because I have a tender spot in my heart for this ghastly weapon of mass destruction And a WMD it certainly is, seeing that napalm was deadly than the two atomic bombs put together that we dropped on Japan in WWII Mr Neer did a good job putting so much info in this readable book Well done. An excellent, readable, and often disturbing history of a weapon that s synonymous with the horror of modern warfare Developed at Harvard after America s entry into World War II, napalm was explicitly designed to destroy urban and civilian targets It was even tested on realistic mock ups of German and Japanese houses The book s description of the firebombing of Japan in early 1945 is especially horrifying, and Neer makes the case that this indiscriminate scorched earth campaign, not the atomic bombs, ended the war Vietnam figures prominently, but is not the main focus The book also details forgotten or lesser known uses of the weapon in Korea and the Iraq War where the US military insisted its firebombs were different than napalm In the age of drone strikes and targeted killings, Napalm is a timely exploration of the last big debate over the morality of the United States literally raining death from above. The first half of this was four stars, easily The creation of napalm, the humanization of the creator, and the ethics of the drops on Tokyo were page turners It even held on through the VietNam parts and the protests against Dow But after that it kind of fell apart It was repetitive and poorly paced There were unforgivable typos and a date that was clearly wrong This is from an academic press where were the proofreaders Kudos to the author for avoiding the academic book trap, and the strength of the first half just barely outweighs the problems in the second But I came away disappointed because it started so well. Covers the development of napalm as an incendiary weapon during WW2 and it s use throughout the remaining years of WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and recent military campaigns Robert Neer also explains how the use of napalm in the Vietnam War led to permanent changes in public opinion on the role that napalm should play in War Those who like war biographies should find this book interesting.