In six weeks during April and May 1915, as World War I escalated, Germany forever altered the way war would be fought by introducing three new weapons of mass destruction: the zeppelin, the torpedo, and poison gas.

In A HIGHER FORM OF KILLING, celebrated historian Diana Preston links these events for the first time, revealing the dramatic stories behind each through the eyes of those who were there, whether making the decisions or experiencing their effect.


Preston deftly, and graphically, weaves the complex stories—hitherto kept distinct—of these land, sea and air innovations into a connected narrative. For the first time, readers can grasp the mounting cognitive assault on civilians, soldiers and politicians of the curious clustering of events that spring.” New York Times Book Review

“A harrowing—and, in this era of drones, absolutely pertinent—look at the rapacious reaches of man’s murderous imagination.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Confidential talks, last-minute compromises, and bogus assurances comprise the dark heart of this dramatic account as the merchants of conflict seek to heighten mass panic, terror, and death regardless of traditional military rules. This is Preston at the top of her analytical form, offering fascinating modern parables on war, mortality and civilization.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

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