Poison: A Double-Edged Civilizational Building Block - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128127704

Poison: A Double-Edged Civilizational Building Block

1st Edition

Volume I: Reexamining the History of Chemical and Biological Warfare (Antiquity to 1899)

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Series Volume Editors: Jean Zanders
Paperback ISBN: 9780128127704
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st September 2020
Page Count: 185
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Table of Contents

1. The use of poison for hunting in human evolution
2. The application of poison from the dawn of civilization until the end of Antiquity
3. The application of poison from the Middle Ages up to early Modern Times
4. The 16th to the 19th century: Opposition to poison warfare
5. The rise of chemistry as a science throughout the 19th century


Poison: A Double-edged Civilizational Building Block, Volume One, Reexamining the History of Chemical and Biological Warfare (Antiquity to 1899), the new release in the History of Toxicology and Environmental Health series traces the history of poison as a weapon of war, beginning at the dawn of modern humans and going through to the 1899 Hague Peace Conference. The book analyzes the technological developments that enable and constrain the use of poison as a weapon, their history of use, and the tensions that exist between opportunity and prohibition of poison warfare, and between prohibition and technological progress.

This book will be of interest to researchers and students interested in toxicology and chemical and biological warfare agents, as well as policymakers, military historians and those interested in scientific history.

Key Features

  • Outlines the social, political and scientific development of the concept of poison
  • Analyzes the technological developments that enable and constrain the use of poison as a weapon
  • Frames the historic and scientific reasons for classifications of chemical and biological toxins within warfare


Researchers and advanced students in toxicology and aspects of chemical and biological warfare agents. It will also prove helpful for medical students, civil administrators, medical doctors, homeland and government security personnel, policy makers, military personnel, and risk assessment specialists


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© Academic Press 2021
1st September 2020
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:

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About the Series Volume Editors

Jean Zanders Series Volume Editor

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders specializes in questions of armament and disarmament, covering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, as well as space policy. Using foresighting strategies, he is currently investigating the meaning of disarmament in the today’s security context, including the longer-term future of the Chemical and Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions and the preconditions for new global and regional disarmament initiatives. His interest also goes to the internal dynamics of a terrorist or criminal entity seeking to acquire a chemical or biological weapons capability. He participates in working groups studying opportunities for non-conventional weapon disarmament in the Middle East. He has published extensively on chemical and biological weapon and other security issues in English, Dutch and French since 1986.

He was a Senior Research Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EU-ISS) in Paris from June 2008 until May 2013. From 2010 onwards he has participated as an expert to the EU Delegations in BTWC and CWC meetings.

Before that he was Project Leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from October 1996 until August 2003 and Director of the Geneva-based BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP) between April 2003 and May 2008. At the BWPP he was also entrusted with the implementation of the first European Union Joint Action in support of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (2006-2008).

He holds Masters Degrees in Germanic Philology-Linguistics (1980) and Political Sciences (1992) and a PhD in Political Sciences (1996) from the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

Affiliations and Expertise

UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, BTWC Implementation Support Unit, Geneva