Gun Crusaders: The NRA's Culture War

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Overview

Nothing conjures up images of the American frontier and a pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps view of freedom and independence quite like guns. Gun Crusaders is a fascinating inside look at how the four-million member National Rifle Association and its committed members come to see each and every gun control threat as a step down the path towards gun confiscation, and eventually socialism. Enlivened by a rich analysis of NRA materials, meetings, leader speeches, and unique in-depth interviews with NRA members, Gun Crusaders focuses on how the NRA constructs and perceives threats to gun rights as one more attack in a broad liberal cultural war. Scott Melzer shows that the NRA promotes a nostalgic vision of frontier masculinity, whereby gun rights defenders are seen as patriots and freedom fighters, defending not the freedom of religion, but the religion of individual rights and freedoms.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author argues a very credible thesis: that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is more than a single-interest group defending the right to own and bear arms. The NRA should also be understood as a social movement organization dedicated broadly to preserving traditional, conservative values."-Choice,

"This book is well written, and raises interesting issues about the transformation of interest groups in a period of polarized politics."-Clyde Wilcox,Political Science Quarterly

“Melzer takes us inside the NRA to reveal that more than gun control—much more—is at stake: a way of life and a definition of manhood that members feel is disintegrating in their hands... [This is] a book that is both balanced and brave, critical and yet compassionate to men who have so lost their way that their guns offer their last tenuous hold on their identity.”-Michael Kimmel,author of Guyland

“Melzer brilliantly integrates deep personal observation with data and theory to construct a three-dimensional portrait of the modern gun rights movement. In a wonderfully written, engaging, and scrupulously fair narrative, Melzer’s book makes a major contribution to our understanding of this tumultuous social movement and also happens to be a really good read. It's fresh, clear-eyed, and fair. Anyone wanting to understand the gun movement must read this book.”-Robert J. Spitzer,author of The Politics of Gun Control

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814795507
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Melzer is Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology & Sociology at Albion College.

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