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Blown Away: American Women and Guns Paperback – April 20, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A book about guns in America that doesn't take sides? A book about women and guns that avoids all the theoretical debates about what women "should" feel? Journalist Kelly starts out with some bold confessions instead: that she's been the victim of crime several times, and that she's loved learning to use guns and found it very empowering but doesn't own one herself because she's unwilling to shoulder "the social responsibility of keeping a firearm" in her home. While women do buy guns for sports or hunting, most of the 11 million to 17 million female gun-owners in America are looking for protection, says Kelly. According to the author, three-quarters of all women in America will be crime victims at some point in their lives; since most women are smaller and physically weaker than their assailants, Kelly believes "a gun... is the only weapon that truly levels the field in a life-threatening confrontation." Guns may make women feel safer, the author acknowledges, but do they really protect? While many women want guns to intimidate and don't ever plan to fire to kill, women who do shoot their attackers may face long jail sentences. While Kelly's prose is peppered with shocking statistics from both sides of the debate, it's her interviews with improbable women gun owners—delicately coifed elderly ladies, preppy Mount Holyoke College students, a big-game hunting former Miss Mississippi—that truly fascinate. Kelly offers no conclusions, just a list of sensible recommendations that anyone from either side could support: addressing violence against women, making women's safety a public priority and taking measures to reinforce responsible gun ownership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Guns are a polarizing subject in America, but as journalist Kelly observes, "Men and women alike are often deeply ambivalent about a woman who owns a gun and knows how to use it." Curious about women gun owners (17 million and counting), cognizant of the appallingly high number of women who are victims of violent crimes, and certain that this line of inquiry would yield fresh insights into the impact guns have on our personal lives and society at large, Kelly set out to chronicle the history of American gun women. She begins by establishing a historical context, then moves on to revealing conversations with diverse women gun owners (enthusiastic and pragmatic), women gun-control activists, women who have survived violent assaults, and women who have used guns to protect themselves. Kelly also astutely assesses pop-culture depictions of gun-toting women; contrasts racial, class, and generational differences in attitudes toward armed women; and discusses the risks to children. Providing both practical information and useful commentary, Kelly turns in a rough-hewn yet groundbreaking and invaluable analysis. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (April 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743464184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743464185
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I challenged myself to read a book about a subject I'm not comfortable with and then couldn't put it down. What a great Journalist and Storyteller Ms. Kelly turned out to be. I particularly enjoyed reading the history of women and guns in America. It gave me much food for thought. I highly recommend it for everyone on either side of this issue.
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Format: Paperback
I found the book very powerful. The author's interviews with women of all walks of life were very interesting. You really understand that a gun is seen as a guard against violence towards women. The book was well written and not full of opinions by the author. Just real people talking. Great Book.
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Format: Paperback
Caitlin Kelly is a gifted writer. I have read many of her articles and news stories in such newspapers and publications as, The New York Times, the New York Post, Chatelaine and the Wall Street Journal. Buy this book and you will get an unbiased view of every woman's right to bear arms -- if she so chooses. This book is a "must-read" for everyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was hard to get into this book. It was so rambling and unfocused, and it was hard to tell what I was supposed to get out of it. I wish the author had just posted the interviews or not jumped around so much.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, unbiased review of various aspects of gun purchase, ownership and use. The author explores the emotions women experience during this process and without judgement examines the spectrum. I particularly liked the chapter dealing with anger issues and firearm ownership. There are fascinating cases presented. As a longtime weapon owner and former police officer, I highly recommend this book - particularly to people who have never been around weapons, are afraid of them, or who support gun control. It is an eye opener.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.It is packed with information all shooters need to read.Also a great book for anyone..those involved in the shooting sports and those not.Really is an eye opener and an easy read.Found the writing very fair and balanced.
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