Tear Gas (Paperback)

From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today

By Anna Feigenbaum

Verso, 9781784780265, 224pp.

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

List Price: 19.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

The story of how a chemical weapon went from the battlefield to the streets

One hundred years ago, French troops fired tear gas grenades into German trenches. Designed to force people out from behind barricades and trenches, tear gas causes burning of the eyes and skin, tearing, and gagging. Chemical weapons are now banned from war zones. But today, tear gas has become the most commonly used form of “less-lethal” police force. In 2011, the year that protests exploded from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, tear gas sales tripled. Most tear gas is produced in the United States, and many images of protestors in Tahrir Square showed tear gas canisters with “Made in USA” printed on them, while Britain continues to sell tear gas to countries on its own human-rights blacklist.

An engrossing century-spanning nar-rative, Tear Gas is the first history of this weapon, and takes us from military labs and chemical weapons expos to union assemblies and protest camps, drawing on declassified reports and witness testimonies to show how policing with poison came to be.


About the Author

Anna Feigenbaum is a writer, researcher and educator working on communication and social change. She is co-author of the book Protest Camps, and her work has appeared in Vice, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, the Guardian, Salon, Financial Times, Open Democracy, New Internationalist, and Waging Nonviolence. She is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of media and Communica-tions at Bournemouth University.


Praise For Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today

“It is this violence that comes through most clearly in Tear Gas—the psychological factors, the sheer unfairness and dismissiveness that accompany the use of chemicals against demonstrators and ordinary citizens, all come through brilliantly. Tear gas not only affects protesters and bystanders indiscriminately; it relegates the status of a dissenting citizen to that of a mere irritant.”
—Yiannis Baboulias, Times Literary Supplement

“A vivid history of the time and also—as good radical accounts should be—a source of encouragement to those fighting all too similar battles today.”
—Hilary Rose

“Read Feigenbaum’s book. It’s timely, well-written, and very important.”
—Evaggelos Vallianatos, Independent Science News

“Feigenbaum integrates science and history with a compelling discussion of tear gas’s history and its present role in the civilian arena.”
Choice