"Penetrating history"

Mark Philip Bradley from the University of Chicago in the Journal of American History of the Organization of American Historians, June 2014:

In this expansive and beautifully written narrative, Neer offers a penetrating history of the cultural politics that created napalm, shaped its use by the American military in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars and, more recently, contributed to its pariah status in the international laws of war. Like scholars who have innovatively built their accounts of global economic his- tory around sugar, cotton, coffee, or cod, Neer approaches napalm in the same creative ways to simultaneously craft a richly textured account of napalm and deeply embed its larger meanings in the troubling ways the United States has waged war since the mid-twentieth century. …

By tracing the biographical arc of napalm across time and space … he marvelously captures the quotidian and utilitarian understandings that underlay its military uses by the American state and the broader humanitarian impulses through which those practices rightly came to be seen as crimes of war.

Click here to read the full review.