Agents of War

A History of Chemical and Biological Weapons, Second Expanded Edition

Edward M. Spiers

Agents of War

Edward M. Spiers

Distributed for Reaktion Books

224 pages | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $14.00 ISBN: 9781789142983 Will Publish November 2020 For sale in North and South America only
Often described as the misuse of science, chemical and biological weapons have incurred widespread opposition over the years. Despite condemnation from the United Nations, governments, and the disarmament lobby, they remain very real options for rogue states and terrorists. In this new edition of Agents of War, Edward M. Spiers has expanded and updated this much-needed history with two new chapters on political poisoning and chemical weapons in the Middle East. Spiers breaks new ground by presenting his analysis in both historical and contemporary contexts, giving a comprehensive chronological account of why, where, and when such weapons were used or suspected to be deployed.
Review Quotes
Choice, on the first edition
“This concise work, with its extensive references and bibliography, will be of interest to all students and professionals in the fields of history, political science, public policy, toxicology, and chemical technology. Recommended.”
Military Review, on the first edition
“A succinct and readily accessible account of the history and key issues associated with chemical and biological weapons from World War I to the present. . . . An excellent overview of an often underappreciated segment of twentieth- and twenty-first-century security studies. . . . It deserves the thoughtful attention of both students and professionals.”
Arms Control, on the first edition
“A comprehensive overview of the development, future, and implications of biological and chemical weapons. Spiers’s book traces the origins of chemical and biological warfare from their ancient beginnings to the first major use of gas in 1915 in World War I, to more recent uses and suspicions of use.”
Political Studies Review, on the first edition
“Provides a compelling case for governments across the globe not to overlook the potential threat of biological and chemical weapons. . . . The book is more than just a history of these weapons, but also an important addition to the literature on the types of threat we are likely to face in the future. . . . An important reminder of the substantial destructive and psychological power of chemical and biological weapons, as well as an accessible history about how states have thought about their use and utility in the past.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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