Blown Away

Blown Away

by Caitlin Kelly
     
 

A controversy that has divided America for decades.
A decision more women must confront every day.

In the long-standing and heated debate between gun-control advocates and supporters of the Second Amendment, the perspective of women has often been overlooked in what most perceive to be the "masculine" world of firearms. This is the subject journalist Caitlin

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Overview

A controversy that has divided America for decades.
A decision more women must confront every day.

In the long-standing and heated debate between gun-control advocates and supporters of the Second Amendment, the perspective of women has often been overlooked in what most perceive to be the "masculine" world of firearms. This is the subject journalist Caitlin Kelly was motivated to explore after she was threatened by a stalker and contemplated acquiring a gun for her own protection.

Through interviews and firsthand accounts, Kelly probes the many issues affecting women who own guns and influence gun policies, to those whose lives are most affected by gun violence, and our society's conflicted views on women who acquire guns for sport and self-defense. Voices include activists and legislators such as Representative Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband and son were the victims of a shooting rampage; Patty Varone, who served Rudy Giuliani as a bodyguard for nine years; Mary Leigh Blek, founder of the Million Mom March; and Paxton Quigley, a modern-day Annie Oakley who teaches women how to shoot in the name of empowerment -- as well as insights on guns and violence from such high-profile women as Halle Berry, Madonna, and the late Katharine Graham.

Brutally frank in its description, yet balanced in its analysis, Blown Away is an up-close and unflinching look at guns in America -- and the women who live with them.

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Editorial Reviews

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. Agent, William Clark. (Apr. 20) Forecast: Kelly doesn't take sides; she's simply penned a provocative book for open-minded readers. Trouble is, there may not be much demand (outside the classroom) for a book covering both sides of the gun control issue. Nonetheless, the book is eye-opening and could get some media coverage. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
More than just a provocative title, Blown Away examines the ways that guns and women intersect in American culture, past and present. Freelance writer Kelly profiles more than 100 women who have been behind and/or in front of the barrel of a gun, in turn examining the larger sociological issues in America's gun-obsessed culture. The book balances statistical data and anecdotes. Here are a few fascinating trends and details: hospitals and Medicare spend $21 billion a year to treat gunshot victims. Each day in the United States, three women will be killed by someone they know. Women are the fastest-growing group of sport hunters, and gun culture is growing in popularity. Kelly also documents a staggering diversity among the 17 million female gun owners in America-from those victimized to those on college scholarship for their shooting skills. Kelly exposes a female subculture that remains fairly secretive even today, but she also exposes the difficult issues of gun control, crimes against women, teenage homicide, and class inequality, clearly explaining the allure of a gun when a person has no other means of grasping power. The real battle to stop gun violence, Kelly concludes, rests with an examination of why American women and young people feel powerless in the first place. Recommended for general collections.-Janet Sassi, New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743464185
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
04/20/2004
Pages:
340
Product dimensions:
0.76(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Meet the Author


Caitlin Kelly is a National Magazine Award-winning freelance writer and winner of five journalism fellowships. A former journalism professor at New York University and Concordia University, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, Glamour, and others.

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