- Paperback: 517 pages
- Publisher: NYU Press; Paper edition edition (April 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814718795
- ISBN-13: 978-0814718797
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Guns in America: A Historical Reader Paper edition Edition
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From Library Journal
A trio of academics with expertise ranging from American culture to public policy administration have compiled this collection of scholarly and insightful essays tracing the position of firearms in our society. The uniqueness of the American Colonial and Revolutionary experience and the rugged nature of the American frontier combined to foster an attitude about guns and a prevalence of firearms unmatched by other Western industrialized nations. The problems posed by this historical legacy as it collides with our modern, more urban, and more civilized society are fully explored. Collectively, these essays point to a common conclusion: guns are here to stay. Even though the need for an armed citizenry has disappeared, the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights worded the Second Amendment in a deliberately vague manner so as to allow for a happy medium that provides for a modicum of governmental control and regulation over firearms without infringing on the individual liberties that gun ownership was supposed to protect. These essays are carefully researched and documented and yet written in a clear and lucid manner that could benefit either a college or general audience.APhilip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A lively and interesting overview of guns in American life; past, present, and future...Guns in America: A Reader will serve most promisingly as a long-awaited introduction to a complex and controversial issue."-Left History
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First, they provide a historical review. How could we get perspective on contemporary controversies if we didn't know that police in Boston and New York City did not wear guns in 1905, that only a small proportion of households owned guns through much of U.S. history prior to the 1960s, and that gun sales increased threefold in the 1960s over the 1950s? In other words, there is nothing in the American character or traditions that consistently links them to guns.
Next, a proper treatment must try for balance, and the authors are conscientious in providing pro and anti-gun positions in essays.
Pros and cons are not enough because partisan arguments often leave out key background information. The authors seek to provide such background by a whole host of diverse articles, for example, motivations for gun ownership, statistics on gun crimes, manipulation of public opinion by advertising, regional patterns (i.e. western and rural vs urban guns), social science perspectives, etc. In short, there is an effort to build background information so that readers can test out their own theories and experience.
Having said these positive things, I missed more than a limited list of readings at the end (no references for each essay). The authors let several essayists summarize - so you really end up doing the work of synthesis yourself.
However, the need for getting adequate and balanced information on touchy issues in the U.S. is so great that I concur with the Christian Science Monitor in rating the authors' effort highly.