Download Hellfire Boys: The Birth of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service and the Race for the World¿s Deadliest Weapons Audiobook

Hellfire Boys: The Birth of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service and the Race for the World¿s Deadliest Weapons Audiobook, by Theo Emery Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Theo Emery Narrator: Allan Robertson Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2017 ISBN: 9781478923459
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An explosive look into the dawn of chemical warfare during World War I

In 1915, when German forces executed the first successful gas attack of World War I, the world watched in horror as the boundaries of warfare were forever changed. Cries of barbarianism rang throughout Europe, yet Allied nations immediately jumped into the fray, kick-starting an arms race that would redefine a war already steeped in unimaginable horror.

Largely forgotten in the confines of history, the development of the US Chemical Warfare Service in 1917 left an indelible imprint on World War I. This small yet powerful division, along with the burgeoning Bureau of Mines, assembled research and military unites devoted solely to chemical weaponry, outfitting regiments with hastily made gas-resistant uniforms and recruiting scientists and engineers from around the world into the fight.

As the threat of new gases and more destructive chemicals grew stronger, the chemists’ secret work in the laboratories transformed into an explosive fusion of steel, science, and gas on the battlefield.

Drawing from years of research, Theo Emery brilliantly shows how World War I quickly spiraled into a chemists’ war, one led by the companies of young American engineers-turned-soldiers who would soon become known as the “Hellfire Boys.” As gas attacks began to mark the heaviest and most devastating battles, these brave and brilliant men were on the front lines, racing against the clock—and the Germans—to protect, develop, and unleash the latest weapons of mass destruction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Allan Robertson ably narrates this detailed account…Robertson has a suitably expressive, resonant baritone that is pleasing to the ear and a soft delivery that does not affect a different voice or accent for quotes or dialogue.”


  • “Here is a terrifying story that almost no one knows. Through dogged reporting and a clear-eyed journey back through a world of secrets that are literally toxic, Theo Emery has dispassionately constructed an astonishing narrative of the scientists and soldiers who were tasked with winning a horrible war a century ago….Like all good historians, Emery is determined to let the era of his subject—its people, its attitudes, its ethics and its ethos—speak for itself.”

    Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Here is a book that will burn your nostrils and make your throat close…it brims with shock and surprise…Though squarely a crackling history, Hellfire Boys is also a relevant primer on the past 100 years and on a kind of total warmaking that continues to haunt us—sometimes from another hemisphere, sometimes in our own back yard.”

    Washington Post

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About the Author

Theo Emery, named an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow in 2015, is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the Tennessean, and other publications. He has appeared on NPR and WBUR in Boston. He graduated from Stanford University in 1994 and earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2014.

About the Narrator

Allan Robertson is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.