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Upcoming Book Talk on May 14: Behind the Gas Mask

The following post is authored by Mary Jane Cavallo, an  Automation Operations Coordinator for the Science, Technology and Business Division.

Early 20th century gas masks. National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Early 20th century gas masks. National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Did you know that during World War I America suffered more casualties from poison gas than any other nation involved in the war? In his new book, Behind the Gas Mask: The U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in War and Peace (University of Illinois Press, 2014), Thomas I. Faith traces the history of chemical warfare during the Great War and the forces that influenced American military policy towards the use of chemicals as battlefield weapons.

Thomas I. Faith is a historian at the U.S. Department of State. His book is an enlightening portrait of the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) and the role it played in shaping future military policy. The CWS mission was to increase the Army’s ability to defend against chemical weapons, as well as to develop more efficient means to use them.

As Faith noted in an interview published by University of Illinois Press, “The Chemical Warfare Service brought scientists, businessmen, soldiers, and national policy makers together in the service of the same cause, foreshadowing the collaboration that President Dwight Eisenhower would later term the military industrial complex.”

Flyer for Behind the Gas Mask Book Talk on May 14

Flyer for Behind the Gas Mask Book Talk on May 14

Faith will speak at the Library of Congress on Thursday, May 14, 2015, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Copies of Behind the Gas Mask can be purchased afterwards, with the author available to sign copies. The presentation will be in the West Dining Room on the 6th floor of the James Madison Building.

If you cannot make it to the book talk, it will be captured and later broadcast on the Library’s science/technology webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist in the coming months.

If you are interested in researching this topic see the guide to Chemical and Biological Warfare . Also see A Guide to World War I Materials which provides links to World War I resources throughout the Library of Congress , external Web sites focusing on World War I and a bibliography.

This book talk  is sponsored by the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division. For more information contact Lawrence Marcus at 202 707-3956. If you need ADA accommodations, please call 202-707-6362 or email ADA@loc.gov.


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