Hellfire Boys by Theo Emery

Hellfire Boys

An explosive look into the dawn of chemical warfare during World War IPowerful 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-...

Details Hellfire Boys

TitleHellfire Boys
Release DateNov 14th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Science, War, Military Fiction

Reviews Hellfire Boys

  • Paul Falk
    This ARC was provided complements of NetGalley. My thanks. Gratitude sent to Little, Brown and Company a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. for making this pre-release available.The author exposed me to the silent killer of World War 1 - poison gas. A dreadful piece of history. It was America's first introduction to a weapon of mass destruction. Many within the country protested its development - its use. Certainly, there had to be a more huma...
  • Steven Z.
    At a time when we hear about weapons of mass destruction and a possible nuclear attack from North Korea it is interesting to contemplate the origins of such weaponry. During World War I unbeknownst to most people living in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Washington, DC the United States Army in cooperation with American University set up a chemical proving ground on campus. The area was known as “Death Valley” or “Arsenic Hill,” while s...
  • Victoria
    I'm fascinated by war history but have very little formal education on the subject. Most of my learning has been on my own time, and Hellfire Boys explores an aspect I previously knew very little about-- chemical warfare.I bought Hellfire Boys for my mom, who was a history major and former resident of DC. She's a tough customer when it comes to books, and a few days after Christmas, she sent me a text saying she couldn't put this one down. She le...
  • Jonathan Green
    A brilliant exploration of the birth of chemical weapons in the US that veers between the frontlines in France during world war 1 and the secret laboratories in the US. Told with a novelists flair, Emery has achieved something remarkable with this book.
  • Zachary
    World War I is remarkable in many ways. It's beginnings make no real sense. The way in which it was fought most of the time made no sense, either. It is remarkable how long it took generals at the time to adjust to the modern war they were fighting. Of course, much of the problem came down to the advancements in military technology over the previous century greatly advantaging the defensive side in any engagement. Until tanks were invented, that ...
  • Brooks
    The USA chemical industry like the rest of America was unprepared for WWI. Wilson won election on a neutrality platform and few believed the USA would join the war. Gas research fell to the bureau of mines as they had the strongest chemical program within the government and gas masks would be critical. At the start of the War, Van Manning, head of the bureau, made a call for registering all USA chemists. The French and English lost many of their ...
  • Ryan
    **I received this book as part of Goodreads' FirstReads giveaway.**This was excellent account of the United States role in chemical warfare during World War I. While the book primarily focuses on the history and politics of the formation and progression of Chemical Warfare Service (aka the 1st Gas Regiment aka the "Hellfire Boys"), the author also covers various important moments of World War I. The initial chapters discussing the United States' ...
  • Kelly Knapp
    This is a book that every politician should be required to read in this volatile climate of terrorism. As presented by the author, Emery, the history of chemical warfare is both lengthy and dangerous, leaving many soldiers dead, disabled, or with memories that should have been passed down to the subsequent generations, but were lost as of the material has been considered too frightening for children to see. America quickly removed the pictures of...
  • Rachel
    Well-written and interesting account of the American response to chemical weapons during WWI. In The Hellfire Boys, Theo Emery traces the development of gas weaponry, the military response, and the impact these weapons had on the people inventing them and the soldiers using them. Emery also recounts the shifting public perception of chemical warfare following the war, as well as the offshoots of chemical weapons research that still exist today. E...
  • Kim
    I bought this book at Theo's book launch at Politics and Prose (in D.C.) last fall. This was one of the most enthralling book talks I've ever attended. As he fielded questions (in a room full of journalists asking hard questions), it quickly became clear that Theo has not only exhaustively researched and mastered this topic, but that his enthusiasm for it has not waned. That excitement of discovery comes through in the pages. Theo combines a life...
  • Kathy Heare Watts
    An amazing and well-documented account of chemical warfare during WWI. For any war or history enthusiast, this book will take them into the bowels of hell of chemical warfare. The book includes some photographs.Note: Our son has been with the Army since 2001, enlisting before 911 took place. He was part of 82nd Airborne, 307th Engineers and has deployed seven times. I know that he will better grasp the story and history and understand this book b...
  • Nissa
    A fascinating historical-nonfiction that we never really got to learn about in history class, but should have. The subject matter of Hellfire Boys is both fascinating and educational. When Hellfire Boys first came to my attention through Goodreads, I knew I wanted to learn more. I think it’s a real eye-opener and an essential piece of American history. Emery does an amazing job researching and creating a cohesive narrative. I look forward to se...