- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 18 hours and 50 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 12, 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0046XYGQQ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Gun Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with an excellent historical account of developments of the machine gun and goes on to describe the invention of AK-47 and M-16 in this way. But then it stops - for no apparent reason. I would very much like to read about what were the developments in assault rifle design since 1960's, but the historical account stops there.
A very interesting chapter describes all the problems with the adoption of M-16 by the US armed forces. But the description is tiresome and definetely too detailed. For no good reason the author delves into who-said-what-to-whom-and-when and tries to figure out who deserves the blame for US Marines' deaths in Vietnam. It is an interesting story, but a different one from the historical account in other chapters. And just when I hoped that the author would describe a similar problems with a botched implementation of UK's SA80 rifle - the story shifts again.
Third topic covered in this book is terrorism and warfare in third world countries. But since the first part of the book was taken up by other subjects, this one is also covered in a partial fashion - with no real background or details. This part of the book reads more like a collection of trivia - from strange beliefs of African rebels, through partial retelling of terrorist attack during the Munich Olympics, to description of one person's gunshot injuries - with no clear train of thought to connect it.
There is also a discussion of morals and life story of M.Read more ›
C.J. Chivers of "The New York Times" and late of the USMC has, in "The Gun" provided, through the history of the AK series, a lucid exposition of the development of automatic weapons from their inception to the present time. Additionally and more importantly, "The Gun" explores a hitherto largely uninvestigated dimension of the modern assault weapon. He asks, "What is its role as a socio-political instrument of state and how did it achieve this goal?"
As might be expected, the originator of the eponymous weapon, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has become a mythical figure. It well-served the propaganda purposes of the Soviet Union to extol the virtues of a genuine, nearly unlettered proletarian who, enjoying the Benefits of the Worker's Paradise, arose from a humble and unassuming background to the pinnacle of firearms design. By legend, he proceeded virtually unaided and motivated primarily by Love of the Fatherland.Read more ›
The politics are head spinning, chiefly because most of us don't look at the world this way and I think we don't appreciate how much battle tactics reflect times, politics and ideologies. It's an important book with extraordinary analysis, but full of swashbuckling tales.
His work for The New York Times has won several prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize; especially notable is his work on their At War blog, which often features discussions of captured AK-47s.
But The Gun simply does not deliver on much it promises, and it has significant structural flaws, due in large part to biting off too much to chew and in some part to poor editing.
Chivers begins by describing the development and initial world deployment of the Gatling and Maxim guns.
There's no new scholarship here. Chivers argues that the Gatling gun aided the British Empire in overcoming massive, but ill-equipped, native colonial uprisings. He also notes how Russia's Gatlings inflicted substantial casualties on regular Japanese troops during the seige of Port Arthur in 1904-05.
Chivers agrees with the conventional argument, that tactics were not in tune with technology -- namely, the Maxim gun and its derivatives -- during World War I.
Perhaps the most valuable insights we gain from these examinations are exceptionally entertaining and informative biographies of Richard Gatling and Hiram Maxim, each fascinating for completely divergent reasons.
It is not until Chivers begins discussing Mikhail Kalashnikov that the serious problems begin.
Significant effort is spent in debunking the myth that Kalashnikov alone was responsible for development of the AK-47, as well as devolving the official state history of the man.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great book--so imformative and well written. I look forward to reading more by Mr. Chivers.Published 1 month ago by Jean Barnes
As an engineer and inventor I liked the story of how the world's most popular gun was developed: a gun that is in the news every day.Published 2 months ago by Howard G. Berg
Exhaustively researched but a difficult read. It's a history book, essentially, and written in a very factual tone. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Adam LaBonte
Awesome book, but a little long. That's the difference between five stars and four. The book I wanted would be all about the Kalashnikov - as stated on the back. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C.B. Currie
Great book that goes in depth on the AKs development history and future.Published 5 months ago by Cloud81918
This book is a great source of information, and gives a good, well rounded view on the history of rapid fire and how it changed modern warfare. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Chris Kilo
This is the finest book I have ever read on the history of automatic weapons and specifically the AK-47. Highly recommended. Robin O'BrienPublished 6 months ago by Robin Obrien
The gun does get around to covering the development of the AK47, but not in technical detail, and its almost as an afterthought of the writer. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bubbapug