By C. J. Chivers
In a journey de strength, prize-winning New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers strains the discovery of the attack rifle, following the miniaturization of rapid-fire palms from the yankee Civil warfare, via WWI, Vietnam, to give day Afghanistan while Kalashnikovs and their knock-offs quantity as many as a hundred million, one for each seventy individuals on earth.
At a mystery arms-design contest in Stalin’s Soviet Union, military technicians submitted a stubby rifle with a curved journal. Dubbed the AK-47, it used to be chosen because the jap Bloc’s regular arm. Scoffed at within the Pentagon as crude and unimpressive, it was once actually a breakthrough—a compact automated that may be mastered by means of nearly a person, final a long time within the box, and could infrequently jam. synthetic by means of hundreds of thousands in deliberate economies, it grew to become first an tool of repression after which the main deadly weapon of the chilly battle. quickly it used to be within the palms of terrorists.
In a searing exam of contemporary clash and authentic folly, C. J. Chivers mixes meticulous old examine, investigative reporting, and battlefield reportage to light up the origins of the world’s so much considerable firearm and the results of its unfold. the outcome, a journey de strength of historical past and storytelling, sweeps in the course of the miniaturization and distribution of computerized firepower, and places an iconic item in fuller context than ever before.
The Gun dismantles myths because it strikes from the naïve optimism of the economic Revolution during the treacherous milieu of the Soviet Union to the interior files of the Taliban. Chivers tells of the 19th-century inventor in Indianapolis who designs a Civil warfare killing computing device, insisting that more-efficient slaughter will store lives. A German connecté who observes British computer weapons killing Islamic warriors alongside the Nile advises his govt to accumulate the guns that might later flatten British ranks in international conflict I. In communist Hungary, a locksmith acquires an AK-47 to aid wrest his state from the Kremlin’s yoke, starting a trip to the gallows. The Pentagon suppresses the result of firing exams on severed human heads that may have avoided defective rifles from being rushed to G.I.s in Vietnam. In Africa, a millennial madman hands kidnapped young ones and turns them on their friends, surroundings his kingdom ablaze. Neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, The Gun builds to a terrifying series, during which a tender guy who confronts a trio of assassins is shattered by means of 23 bullets at shut variety. the fellow survives to invite questions that Chivers examines with rigor and flair.
Throughout, The Gun animates unforgettable characters—inventors, salesmen, heroes, megalomaniacs, racists, dictators, gunrunners, terrorists, baby infantrymen, executive careerists, and fools. Drawing from years of study, interviews, and from declassified documents printed for the 1st time, he offers a richly human account of an evolution within the very event of battle.