Tear Gas

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

4.02 (34 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


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 narrative, 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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 17.78mm | 367g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 178478026X
  • 9781784780265
  • 764,579

Review Text

"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
show more

Review quote

"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

"There is something epic about Anna Feigenbaum's Tear Gas, its scope and intensity, the way that chemistry - the orienting science of the industrial revolution - provides the material to manage that revolution's epic collapse . . . There is crucial knowledge to be found here." - Joshua Clover, author of Riot.Strike.Riot

"A passionately argued history of the development and gradual spread of tear gas around the world . . . a clarion call for reassessment of the widespread availability and misuse of tear gas." - Patrick Wicklen, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International

"Fascinating, deeply researched and lucid . . . We have become so accustomed to the use of tear gas during protests that it comes as a shock when we realize, in reading this book, how little we know about the longer-term effects of what is in some ways a chemical weapon." - Laleh Khalili, author of Time in the Shadows

"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
show more

About Anna Feigenbaum

Anna Feigenbaum 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 Communication at Bournemouth University. Her website is www.annafeigenbaum.com. Follow her on Twitter: @drfigtree.
show more

Rating details

34 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 29% (10)
4 47% (16)
3 21% (7)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X