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The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of Firearms

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  30 reviews

In this compelling and revelatory book, an investigative journalist explores the lifecycle of the gun—following those who make firearms, sell them, use them, and die by them—with a special emphasis on the United States, to make sense of our complex relationship with these weapons.

We live in the Age of the Gun. Around the globe, firearms are ubiquitous and define countless

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Harper (first published April 16th 2015)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Jovan Autonomašević
This is an awesome book. I interpreted for the author at a journalists' workshop, and because I was impressed by him I ended up buying his book. It is a thoroughly comprehensive study of guns, in all their aspects - from the manufacturers, the dealers, the customers, to the people who use them, and the people whose lives are devastated by them (and the medics who try to mitigate the consequences). It is extremely well researched, and the author has left no stone unturned in his search for the tr ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Judging from other reader’s comments I seem to be one of the few who completed this book (and I certainly understand why). I continued reading in hopes of some epiphany from the author explaining America's gun lust but short of some astounding stats on the numbers of weapons in circulation and the resulting deaths none was forthcoming.

The author takes readers on a peripatetic tour of gun cultures world-wide showing the role guns and evolving technology is used and the impact on the various cultu
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gun Baby Gun is an outstanding achievement. In a world of drones, stealth bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, the author Iain Overton is perhaps the first journalist to trace the path of the humble gun, from factory to soldier, police officer to criminal. This is narrative history, a geographical journey that takes the reader from the shantytowns of South Africa to the well-heeled streets of investment fund New York.

I have to confess that as an aspiring crime novelist I approached t
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
What an immensely bleak and disheartening read. You can't help but close this book full of anger towards all those who deliberately perpertrate this endless cycle of violence - the gun manufacturers concerned only with profits and markets, the politicians who take lobbyist money and vote against gun control measures, the middlemen and smugglers who facilitate the illicit trade in weapons, the governments who secretly bankroll the illegal acquisition of arms for rebel factions and do nothing to c ...more
Jack Lindsey
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that all gun owners and politicians should read. Iain Overton gives a frightening account about the use of guns in modern times. The book is full of chilling statistics and at the same time it is a rattling good read. The author describes a worldwide odyssey during which he sought to uncover the story behind each statistic.

I came across Iain Overton at the The Folkestone Book Festival in November when I heard him described his journey into the dark world of the gun (see https://p
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
It's been a while since my opinion of a book has declined so much while reading it. I'm inclined to be sympathetic to the author's viewpoint, but this one disappointed me increasingly as it went along.

I was impressed by the beginning; I appreciated the perspective of trying to supersede the gun debate by looking at their global impact as well as many different spheres in which guns play a role. I noticed some mistakes and carelessness in the third chapter, but still thought it could be a strong
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting exploration of the world firearm market, but I wasn't a fan of marrying that serious topic with a first person account-style of reporting.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written and interesting read.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very powerful and disturbing account of the havoc and destruction the gun has wreaked on humans (and animals) since its invention. Overton travels the world to research the background of the weapons, but this is no dry history of the development of the gun. The book grabs you because of the interest in the people who carry a gun, be they criminals, soldiers, policemen, hunters or civilians. And the author has a real knack, if that's the word, of picking out the horribly fascinating sce ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not encouraging to read this book. I advise not to spend any penny on this writer.
He could had been probably an expert of investigative journalism, but he failed in the banality of writing for business, forgetting what is the real nature on investigative journalism.

Iain Overton, then head of Bureau of Investigative Journalism, was forced to quit his job when his team mismatched the name of a powerful politician with that (homonym) of a pedophile, in the Lord Savile scandal, Ending his car
Jon James
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, I liked the way it was written and how the author chose to show his research. Being that the author went to various countries and areas across the world that have been infected with massive amounts of the gun violence it makes the reader feel as if they are going to these places and seeing it all first hand. It might be visiting funeral homes, interviewing gang members, or even going to real crime scenes, and this all bring the reader into the reality of the situ ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Bit jumbled and reads more like a newspaper article than a book itself but interesting read. Fairly neutral on its topic since it neither glorifies or denounces guns outright. Mostly focuses on places that guns are plenty, namely the Western half of the globe but also talks about plenty of places we don't normally associate with gun ownership like Iceland, Switzerland and other places.
David Becker
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Overly broad look at gun culture. Issues that have consumed whole books get a couple of pages, and much of those are taken up by mundane first-person details that add nothing to the narrative. Some compelling anecdotes and images, but in the end a tribute mostly to the value of a skilled editor.
Morbidly enthralling.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
ehhh. didn't read the whole book. Too slow.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing! I loved it
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reportage
Une enquête très complète, parfois choquante, souvent édifiante. Pour mieux comprendre les intérêts des vendeurs d'armes aux quatre coins de la planète.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overton's book is made up of stories about guns, buyers, gun culture and violence. Written in a light, breezy journalistic style it is a pastiche that jumps across the globe and time and space.

"In essence, this is what this book is about. It is an attempt to understand the world of the gun, without getting caught up in the endless debate in America about the right to bear arms."xiv

"Guns cause suicide. Of course, other sorrows play their part. Suicides are driven by depression, loneliness and br
Chris Demer
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a detailed a thoroughly documented investigation into the world of firearms. Although there is some historical information, most of the text focuses on the multiple facets of guns in America and the world today. It is s somewhat dense inventory, but is made readable by the sectional divisions.
The first facts: there are almost a billion guns in the world. America is the most dangerous place in the world's developed nations. It is the country with the most gun suicides. There are more Amer
Matthew Ciarvella
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Poignant, thoughtful, and surprisingly balanced, which isn't something you see very often with a topic as divisive as guns. Author Iain Overton travels around the world to understand the gun from the many, many different people whose lives it has affected: victims, killers, traders, creators, hunters, enthusiasts, and doctors. He doesn't hold anything back; if the best way to understand hunting is to be a hunter, he goes out and does that. His expression of remorse and regret after killing an an ...more
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Arthur Rosch
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Iain Overton writes a comprehensive and fascinating view of the world of firearms. It's grim reading; it should be. The book comes with statistics but they're little more than footnotes. Overton writes about his experiences as he becomes consumed with such a massive project. He visits the most violent places on earth. He converses with the world's most violent people. It's dangerous. As a seasoned war correspondent, Overton enters his milieu with his eyes open. I haven't finished the book yet bu ...more
Alex Johnson
Aug 01, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting book that looks at gun culture not solely from a US based standpoint, but on a more international scale. The content was quite interesting and shocking as one can imagine, but Overton's writing style wasn't necessarily my favorite. I can't quite put my finger on the reason why, but maybe seemed just a little bit pretentious. But I wasn't reading this book for the writing style, I was reading it for the information and it certainly did not disappoint in the category. It stays prett ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
The first half was drowsy and even pointless at times, but things got markedly better in the second half. Once the topic switched in earnest to the international market, the book switched from meditative to informative. However, there's no escaping that this is principally a travel memoir written in a journalistic vein, rather than a heavily researched exposé or comprehensive history.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully written book and filled with the right sort of anger. Overton writes like a journalist and not an academic and has in so doing produced a book filled with righteous indignation.
Edward Sullivan
This terrifying, enlightening investigation of the fatal consequences of living in gun-obsessed world is particularly notable for looking at the gun violence in an international context.
Vikas Datta
Most sobering..
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and eye opening book. We think of guns associated with the United States but some countries are far worse. A really good informative read.
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