New Reviews, Part 1 — Booklist


Ta-da, I’m back after a break. Today there was some good news: a bumper crop of not-bad trade reviews (Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews) of American Rifle: A Biography. These might be the last ones I ever get, so I’m posting them with pride. 

First up, Booklist . . . 

“This fascinating book shows how the history of the U.S. is mirrored in the history of one of its technological achievements, the rifle. The rifle arrived in America in 1492; it was then called a “hand cannon,” 30 pounds of iron that was, to be fair, not terribly accurate. It wasn’t until the early 1600s that rifles—or muskets, to be more precise—became widespread and effective as lethal weapons, and it wasn’t until later in the century, when German immigrants arrived with a new kind of firearm that was shorter and lighter and more accurate, that the rifle began its slow evolution into the familiar form it takes today. This book is loaded with detail, full of lively characters and an abundant spirit of invention. The history of the rifle is also the history of mass production, of American politics, of the legal system, and of war itself. It is impossible not to get caught up in this rich, surprising, and engrossing story.”

Posted by Alexander Rose,


2 Responses to “New Reviews, Part 1 — Booklist”

  1. 1 Smilin' Jim

    “a bumper crop of not-bad trade reviews”

    The reviewers were possibly taken aback because the book was not what they had expected. I bought the book as a throw-away: A Christmas present for my gun-nut brother-in-law.

    Then I read the opening. Tough luck brother-in-law, you get the DVD instead.

    I found the pdf of the bibliography interesting and exhaustive but daunting. The success of the book may allow future editions to include this bibliography. Would you select, say, no more than twenty of the works in this bibliography which you consider to be suburb chronicles of either the technology or of the age and add your comment on them?

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