Book Review: American Rifle: A Biography
I originally bought this book for my grandfather, who is a shooting enthusiast, amateur gunsmith, and staunch 2nd Amendment defender. He enjoyed the book and passed it on to my cousin, who's love of firearms and violence is only surpassed by his fear of the zombie apocalypse.
I'm not joking:
I started reading the book during my weekend visits to my grandfather, while waiting for him to wake up from naps.
My firearm background isn't nearly as extensive as my other family members. Beyond a pellet gun when I was growing up, and the experiences and training I had as a medic in the US Army Reserve, I have spent little to no personal time shooting.
That being said, I found the book entertaining and accessible which was somewhat a surprise given that the subject matter at hand can easily be very very dry, especially to someone without a lot of practical knowledge.
The book begins detailing the very beginning of firearms in Western Civilization, quickly moving to its roots in the colonies in the New World, and the innovations brought on by the environmental needs and struggles in the soon to be born nation.
Starting with the Revolutionary War, and moving to the current fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the author painstakingly outlines the affects of needs and political climate of the US in a given time period, and how factors such as immigration, unionization, economics, nationalism, and others influenced the development of the US Service Rifle.
The language is engaging and keeps you interested, and meticulously researched quotes makes the prose seem very much alive. There are some that might find some of the comments overly snarky, but being a smug northerner, its possible that this added to my enjoyment of the book.
I have seen some gripes on other reviews regarding technical wording flaws, and I will leave that to others who know better to comment on, but I will say that I can highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in guns or history.