Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Conversation with Historian Robert Neer About Napalm and American Power

Robert Neer is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

He is a historian at Columbia University and the author of Napalm: An American Biography.

Robert's work is a incisive and unique example of the history of objects and how that type of social history can illuminate broader questions of politics, life, and society.

Napalm: An American Biography is more than the history of a horrific weapon: it is an insight into American war fighting, inventions, and foreign affairs.

Dr. Neer and Chauncey talk about the history of napalm, its inventors, the moral questions that (should) govern the use of technology and science, the Vietnam War, American power, and the symbolism and meaning that have been constructed around such an iconic and terrifying weapon in both the world's and America's public imagination.

Chauncey also shares his thoughts on Tom Brady and "Deflategate", the Oklahoma tornadoes and the Amtrak train crash, how Republican racism has hurt America's infrastructure in the Age of Obama, and a frightening encounter with an entitled student who was moved to gross anger by a discussion of wealth inequality and consumerism.

At the end of this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey also does a self-assessment of his "journalism" as suggested by a great piece in The New York Times

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with Robert Neer can be listened to below or "watched" on the official Youtube channel for

The Chauncey DeVega Show can also be followed on Itunes and listened to via Stitcher on your smart phone or like device.


joe manning said...

Its a measure of man's insensitivity that WMD are socially acceptable to the extent that they are effective. When pragmatism routinely trumps ethics we get one holocaust after another. This goes to the necessity of examining and appreciating the evolutionary origins of morality.

Kids who's animus and self worth are based entirely on commodity fetishism really need our help.

I think your stuff is fact checked to the point of the whole truth.

chauncey devega said...

Thanks for the complement. I found that self-assessment very useful. Bob was a good guest and I learned alot from him. Human beings are naked apes. We just have better killing technology.