Customer Reviews for

American Rifle: A Biography

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    A must for any Firearms collector or American history buff

    Perhaps what is best about this work is that it is so well researched and that enables the author to take you behind the average history lesson in order to see the forces that were at work in the private and government sectors when deciding how to arm our nation.

    This book is probably not for everyone. Shooters and firearms collectors will love it as will American history folks who crave inside information on how we got to where we are to day with our modern rifles etc. I found myself underlining passages and facts so I could go back to them later.

    I knew the general history of our "American Rifle" evolution because I love firearms; but I had no idea that the same ideological battles were fought over and over again for 200 years.

    This is one book that will stay in my personal library collection

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    A Book For Firearms Enthusiasts and Non-Enthusiasts Alike - Informative and Fun

    I just finished reading American Rifle. Wow! An equanimous, fair, and balanced book about firearms ¿informative and a fun read -- unheard of -- but Alexander Rose did it!<BR/> <BR/>When my wife presented me with the book, I received it with as much grace as I could muster knowing I would have to read the damn thing out of sheer courtesy if nothing else ¿ yet another dry and ponderous book about guns and history and stuff. Wrong!<BR/> <BR/>Although I do not consider myself a bona fide firearms expert, I believe I am something more than a dilettante. I am fairly confident that I have forgotten more about firearms than most people ever knew. So in that context, I can only say that for a firearms enthusiast of my ilk, American Rifle is a masterpiece. A surprise. A delight. It breathes new life into a well worn story. It illuminates and puts into focus issues that have been fuzzily buzzing around in my head for decades. I can¿t count how many times it provided plausible answers to the myriad questions of ¿why¿ I have been asking myself for years.<BR/><BR/>For a non-firearms-enthusiast who wants to expand his or her horizons a bit, I can¿t think of a better book to read. Find out how the rifle reflects and plays into the culture in which we live ¿ and enjoy yourself while doing it. The book worked at every level -- substance, form, style, wit, perspective. . The cultural and socio-political-economic impact of the X ring - impressive. The personalities came alive, and their motivations resonate exquisitely.<BR/> <BR/>I thank Alexander Rose for the book. It¿s a profound and important work, and it ain¿t often you get to read a profound and important work that¿s fun and entertaining to boot.

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  • Posted January 10, 2009

    American Rifle: A Biography traces the development of American long guns from 1600s through weapons currently used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The author has thoroughly researched the development of American long guns from the early 1600s through our Revolutionary War and up to weapons currently used in Iraq and Afghanistan. He narrates rifles historical use in major conflicts on the North American continent and the drastic impacts that improvements have made in these conflicts. I learned that the word "rifle" descends from the German invention of rifling which in German is "riffeln". He describes the evolution of the Pennsylvania rifle and how it became known as the Kentucky rifle. Fascinating is his description of the bureaucratic wars in the Army over individual marksmen versus massed, mostly un-aimed shock volley, and the late 19th century repeaters versus the venerable .45 single shot Springfield. He describes the not always productive inter-relationships of the U.S. Armories, invetor/salesmen such as Colt, Henry, Winchester, Smith,Weston, and foreign firms. I learned that many of our significant arms improvements came from foreign companies and that the Army was not always careful about respecting patents. The development of the M-1 Springfield into the M-14, the M-16, and through to weapons used today in the mid-east is described. On the down side more dates would have aided my understanding. Also on p. 335 Rose has incorrectly ascribed a visit between Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower in January of 1952, when in fact Eisenhower was elected in November of 1952. All in all, this highly readable book belongs on the gun reference shelf of anyone who collects or uses a rifle.

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