Bookmarks Magazine's Reviews > The Gun

The Gun by C.J. Chivers
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Dec 09, 10

bookshelves: jan-feb-2011

Although the title may initially put off some readers, The Gun is a far-ranging work of war reporting, military history, sociology, and politics. The automatic weapon is, of course, the focus, but Chivers goes far beyond a mere technical history to offer "an engrossing yet plainspoken exploration of what guns are and what they do," from their psychological effects to their economic and political impacts (Salon). Chivers, whose firsthand reportorial and military experiences informed his book, left few sources uncovered; he even interviewed the aging Kalashnikov. Despite general praise, a few critics thought the broad historical perspective (such as the long sections on the American M-16 assault rifle) too digressive, but most agreed that The Gun is a riveting, well-handled look at one of the modern world's most influential -- and destructive -- technologies. This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.
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