American Rifle: A Biography

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Oct 21, 2008 - History - 512 pages
George Washington insisted that his portrait be painted with one. Daniel Boone created a legend with one. Abraham Lincoln shot them on the White House lawn. And Teddy Roosevelt had his specially customized.

Now, in this first-of-its-kind book, historian Alexander Rose delivers a colorful, engrossing biography of an American icon: the rifle. Drawing on the words of soldiers, inventors, and presidents, based on extensive new research, and encompassing the Revolution to the present day, American Rifle is a balanced, wonderfully entertaining history of this most essential firearm and its place in American culture.

In the eighteenth century American soldiers discovered that they no longer had to fight in Europe’s time-honored way. With the evolution of the famed “Kentucky” Rifle—a weapon slow to load but devastatingly accurate in the hands of a master—a new era of warfare dawned, heralding the birth of the American individualist in battle.

In this spirited narrative, Alexander Rose reveals the hidden connections between the rifle’s development and our nation’s history. We witness the high-stakes international competition to produce the most potent gunpowder . . . how the mysterious arts of metallurgy, gunsmithing, and mass production played vital roles in the creation of American economic supremacy . . . and the ways in which bitter infighting between rival arms makers shaped diplomacy and influenced the most momentous decisions in American history. And we learn why advances in rifle technology and ammunition triggered revolutions in military tactics, how ballistics tests—frequently bizarre—were secretly conducted, and which firearms determined the course of entire wars.

From physics to geopolitics, from frontiersmen to the birth of the National Rifle Association, from the battles of the Revolution to the war in Iraq, American Rifle is a must read for history buffs, gun collectors, soldiers—and anyone who seeks to understand the dynamic relationship between the rifle and this nation’s history.
 

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User Review  - Philip100 - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed reading American rifle. It is very informative and full of good information. I recommend any one who has any interest in weapons or history should read it. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SiGraybeard - LibraryThing

No less than it's title, a biography of the American Rifle from before the Revolution until today. Of course, the rifle plays a part in all the major events in American history, and you'll learn a great deal of history here, too. Very readable and interesting. Read full review

Contents

Chapter
41
THE RISE or THE MACHINES 69
105
THE cREwsoME GRAVEYARD 155
189
THE SMOKELESS REVOLUTION
231
ROOSEVELTS RIFLE 255
254
TIIE PATHS NOT TAKEN
281
THE GREAT BLUNDERBUSS BUNGLE
321
GUN OF THE SPACE AGE
359
THE RIFLE OF THE FUTURE
391
NOTE ON SOURCES 41 I
410
PHOTO CREDITS AND PERMISSIONS
477
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Born in the United States, Alexander Rose was raised in Australia and Britain. A military historian and former journalist, he is the author of Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, and his writing has appeared in the New York Observer, the Washington Post, Studies in Intelligence, and many other publications.

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