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Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture
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Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture

2.78  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Our Review

In the current debate over the role of guns in American life, there is one historical notion in particular that invigorates those who believe that an America stocked to the rafters with privately held firearms is the best and truest America.

I refer to the truism that our national identity has always been inextricably tied to our unparalleled intimacy with guns,

Hardcover, 624 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Knopf (first published January 28th 2000)
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Nov 21, 2007 Varmint rated it did not like it
If ever there were a case for book burning.

A friend handed me this book, thinking it would end one of our interminable arguments. The story broke a few days later. The "research" was entirely fabricated. Bellesiles drummed out of his university after being exposed.

It is a fraud from the first word. Even those sympathetic with the motive should be outraged at being so manipulated.
Danica Midlil
Nov 14, 2011 Danica Midlil rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Anyone interested in reading this book should first read this article:

The author lied all the way through the book and when the truth came out, the Bancroft Award was rescinded and he had to leave his job at Emory in shame.

This situtation really made me think about how I choose books to read. I have never before researched the validity of a book before reading it more than reading friend's reviews on Good Reads or something similar. As a consumer of information,
Oct 09, 2013 Douglas rated it liked it
It is most unfortunate that Bellesiles compromised his scholarly integrity by fudging one stream of data (weapons passed along through probate in the eighteenth century). This opened the door to scrutiny of his research data by other scholars and ultimately the loss of his professorship and standing as a historian. That is as it should be.

But overall, this book contains an extraordinary bit of research and writing on the history of this country's obsession with guns. While the data on probate re
Oct 12, 2013 Jim marked it as did-not-finish
Do not read. Apparently, Michael Bellesiles lost his Bancroft Prize (and his position at Emory Univ.) for academic dishonesty when it was proven that he invented the "research data".
Robert Hund
I could not get started with this book. Random reading failed to uncover anything interesting. However, I deduced the author, his employer (Emory University, Atlanta) and publisher are what my late friend, Jack Bruny, would sarcastically describe as part of a "pinko, red conspiracy" to discredit the National Rifel Association.

I don't take sides on this topic. I also don't want to wast my time reading political propaganda. I did spend several pleasant minutes remembering Jack, his dedication to
Jul 29, 2012 Kerri added it
I can't give this a rating, due to the controversy surrounding its veracity. I can say that it asked interesting and important questions, and its a shame the answers were thrown into disrepute. I hope that someone, some day, applies more stringent methods to asking these same important questions. Columbine. Aurora. Multiple other such events. Something's very wrong, and its not merely this author's methods.
Joanne G.
Jul 03, 2016 Joanne G. rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-for-me
Author created and distorted resources. As a result, Mr. Bellesiles had to resign his tenured position from Emory University.
Since the book’s publication, scholars who have checked the book’s
claims against its sources have uncovered an almost unprecedented number
of discrepancies, errors, and omissions.
Feb 21, 2010 Alex added it
Arming America : The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael Bellesiles (2000)
Mason Sykes
Sep 13, 2013 Mason Sykes rated it liked it
It disproves the NRA gun-filled-violent-west-we've-always-been-barbarians version of history to an astonishing degree. I like it!
Mar 16, 2011 Manintheboat rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011
So it's a fraud eh? Is that why it's on the Banned Book list?

This is a big book. I read like 100 pages because it is not a topic that interests me and this book did not make me interested in it.
♡ Kristina
Aug 27, 2013 ♡ Kristina marked it as to-read
Banned Books 2004
Reasons: inaccurate, political viewpoint

Banned Books 2003
Reason: inaccuracy
Edward Sullivan
The myth of America's gun culture exposed in this exceptionally scholarly work.
Sheila rated it did not like it
May 26, 2012
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Maureen rated it it was amazing
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Nana rated it it was ok
Nov 19, 2012
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Paul Lindars rated it did not like it
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Benjamin Brandt rated it it was ok
Mar 05, 2008
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