An excerpt from Napalm in Harvard Magazine's Open Book section:
NAPALM, indelibly associated in modern memory with the horrors of civilians bombed during the Vietnam War, emerged from a Harvard laboratory as a lauded invention in an earlier conflict—and then was used to incinerate Japanese cities. Robert M. Neer Jr. ’86, an attorney and lecturer at Columbia, has written Napalm: An American Biography (Harvard University Press, $29.95). “Napalm was born a hero but lives a pariah,” he writes. This excerpt, from the introduction to the first section, narrates the gel’s origin.