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The Social History of the Machine Gun / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews


A classic study of the cultural implications of a lethal technology. Reissued with a foreword and an excellent bibliographic essay on automatic weapons by Edward Ezell, it remains provocative and persuasive.

New York Times
Arguing that the history of technology is inseparable from social history in general, Mr. Ellis weighs the machine gun's impact on weaponry, warfare, and society.
A classic study of the cultural implications of a lethal technology. Reissued with a foreword and an excellent bibliographic essay on automatic weapons by Edward Ezell, it remains provocative and persuasive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801833588
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1986
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 705,485
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2008

    Easy historical read

    Warfare is a slowly evolving process that mimics the technologies and preferences already witnessed within a society. The Social History of the Machine Gun provides a concise historical framework that deals with the conception of the machine gun all the way to its battlefield implementation. The book lends itself to ease of reading, and is organized in such a manner that requires no impressive level of reading comprehension. It acknowledges the mechanical difficulties of producing such a weapon, but also explores why it failed to achieve immediate embracement by the market it was being catered to. It fundamentally explores the decisive impact the machine gun had on the battlefield, and indicates precisely what impact such a device had on transforming battlefield tactics. In these aspects it does a superb job, but it does not halt there. It also outlines how societies in general were impacted by investigating the rise of the machine gun as a civilian tool, and just exactly how this perpetuate the public¿s opinion of machine guns. Also, it does a reasonable job at underlining the always stereotypical and primary impasse for change: the military bureaucracy. It is a history book that makes many observations, but it provides very few assertions this leaves the book rather bland and open for interpretation. This book indicates that the machine gun had relinquished warfare from being solely based on fire and maneuver techniques however, it does not expound upon this declaration and forces one to ponder the implications of it. There is no doubt that the machine gun had an impact, but exactly how crucial was it? Such a question is left for the reader to cipher, but the answer is imperative to comprehending the true nature of warfare with the machine gun.

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