Fatal Airs: The Deadly History and Apocalyptic Future of Lethal Gases That Threaten Our World

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Overview

Fatal Airs: The Deadly History and Apocalyptic Future of Lethal Gases That Threaten Our World relates the fascinating—and appalling—stories of the discovery, development, applications, and occupational and public health hazards of natural and man-made gases. Some of these gases have figured in mass extinctions. Others have created havoc through their use in chemical warfare or their accidental release.

Among the hundreds of man-made lethal gases, several have been singled out for attention, including chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas, lewisite, hydrogen cyanide, and the nerve agents tabun, sarin, soman, VX, and methyl isocyanate. The book also examines some naturally occurring gases, such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, methane, and radon. Colorful accounts capture the characteristics and history of each of these mysterious substances, focusing on key episodes in scientific discovery and exploration since World War I.

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What People Are Saying

Rick Hind

"Fatal Airs is a wake up call for all who thought chemical warfare was a thing of the past. Christianson meticulously traces the evolution of poison gases once used in warfare to their industrial use today. A small group of these industrial chemicals such as chlorine gas put millions of Americans at risk even though safer alternatives are readily available. Fatal Airs is a compelling reminder that we have yet to apply the most important lessons of 9/11."

Rick Hind, Legislative Director, Greenpeace

Prof. Kim Fortun
"Scott Christianson has kept alive stories of lethal gas – in the trenches of World War I, in the execution chambers of U.S. prisons, in Nazi concentration camps, in Bhopal, India, in Kurdistan – that recall and commemorate the many lives these gases extinguished. Christianson also tells stories about the discovery and development of laughing gas (nitrous oxide), chlorine, phosgene and cyanide – gases that both kill, and undergird industrial society. Interwoven are stories about IG Farben, DuPont, Union Carbide and Dow, the corporate leaders of industrial society. In connecting these stories, Christianson compels one to think about how necessary, and difficult, building different kinds of societies will be."
Prof. Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, author of Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders, and co-editor of Cultural Anthropology

Rick Hind

"Fatal Airs is a wake up call for all who thought chemical warfare was a thing of the past. Christianson meticulously traces the evolution of poison gases once used in warfare to their industrial use today. A small group of these industrial chemicals such as chlorine gas put millions of Americans at risk even though safer alternatives are readily available. Fatal Airs is a compelling reminder that we have yet to apply the most important lessons of 9/11."

Rick Hind, Legislative Director, Greenpeace

Prof. Kim Fortun

"Scott Christianson has kept alive stories of lethal gas – in the trenches of World War I, in the execution chambers of U.S. prisons, in Nazi concentration camps, in Bhopal, India, in Kurdistan – that recall and commemorate the many lives these gases extinguished. Christianson also tells stories about the discovery and development of laughing gas (nitrous oxide), chlorine, phosgene and cyanide – gases that both kill, and undergird industrial society. Interwoven are stories about IG Farben, DuPont, Union Carbide and Dow, the corporate leaders of industrial society. In connecting these stories, Christianson compels one to think about how necessary, and difficult, building different kinds of societies will be."

Prof. Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, author of Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders, and co-editor of Cultural Anthropology

Prof. Kim Fortun

"Scott Christianson has kept alive stories of lethal gas – in the trenches of World War I, in the execution chambers of U.S. prisons, in Nazi concentration camps, in Bhopal, India, in Kurdistan – that recall and commemorate the many lives these gases extinguished. Christianson also tells stories about the discovery and development of laughing gas (nitrous oxide), chlorine, phosgene and cyanide – gases that both kill, and undergird industrial society. Interwoven are stories about IG Farben, DuPont, Union Carbide and Dow, the corporate leaders of industrial society. In connecting these stories, Christianson compels one to think about how necessary, and difficult, building different kinds of societies will be."

Rick Hind

"Fatal Airs is a wake up call for all who thought chemical warfare was a thing of the past. Christianson meticulously traces the evolution of poison gases once used in warfare to their industrial use today. A small group of these industrial chemicals such as chlorine gas put millions of Americans at risk even though safer alternatives are readily available. Fatal Airs is a compelling reminder that we have yet to apply the most important lessons of 9/11."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313385520
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Pages: 221
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2010

    Fascinating, chilling, eye-opening

    Author Scott Christianson has fashioned a terrific book out of thin air, about poison gases, both natural and man-made. Everything from volcanoes and leaking methane to horrific industrial accidents and chemical warfare, Holocaust gas chambers and previous and future extinctions. The research is solid, the style is clear and compelling, the many stories are very interesting and I found this to be a surprisingly provocative and extremely timely book given what's been going on in Iceland, the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere on the globe--not to mention global warming. More than a standard library reference work, this is a fun read that is scholarly and authoritative, yet accessible and vivid. I liked it a lot!

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