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Hellfire Boys: The Untold History of Soldiers, Scientists, and America's First Race for Weapons of Mass Destruction

ISBN: 9780316264105
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2017-11-14
Number of pages: 512
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  • Regular price $30.33

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An explosive look into the dawn of chemical warfare during World War I

Powerful and gripping, Hellfire Boys tells the story of the young men who started a Manhattan Project-type program at American University in 1917. These soldiers and chemists worked on offensive and defensive gas measures: testing hastily-made gas masks; observing the effects of mustard gas on goats, dogs, and even humans; and perfecting the ultimate weapon of mass destruction--lewisite, which, as World War I raged, the U.S. planned to unleash on Germans using another new technology, planes.

The book traces the actions of the "Hellfire Battalion," a group of American engineers who were trained in gas warfare and sent to the front lines in France to launch multiple assaults against the Germans.

The impact of this scientific work resonates to this day. Journalist Theo Emery reveals how this massive science and engineering effort attracted top scientists from the most prestigious universities to help usher in a new world, one in which fearsome weapons could kill or terrorize both enemy armies and civilian populations alike.

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