The Gun

The Gun : The Story of the AK-47

3.95 (1,542 ratings by Goodreads)
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The AK-47, or 'Kalashnikov', is the most abundant and efficient firearm on earth. It is so light it can be used by children. It has transformed the way we fight wars, and its story is the chilling story of modern warfare.C. J. Chivers's extraordinary new book tells an alternative history of the world as seen through these terrible weapons. He traces them back to their origins in the early experiments of Gatling and Maxim, and examines the first appearance of the machine-gun. The quest for ever greater firepower and mobility culminated in the AK-47 at the beginning of the Cold War, a weapon so remarkable that, over sixty years after its invention and having broken free of all state control, it has become central to civil wars all over the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 26mm | 358.34g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 photos on 8 page B&W inset section
  • 0141020636
  • 9780141020631
  • 125,132

Review quote

With impelling force, C. J. Chivers tells a remarkable story of how this one, superbly reliable firearm became the most abundant ever produced, and was to exceed the consequences even of Soviet nuclear know-how in the Cold War, and beyond -- Alistair Horne, author of 'The Price of Glory' and 'A Savage War of Peace' Dazzling ... startling ... The Gun does exactly what the best art history or music writing does - it opens our eyes to see anew the familiar -- Doug Stanton, author of 'Horse Soldiers' The Gun is for those who wonder how we fight today and why we fight that way. C. J. Chivers has given us a seminal work -- James Bradley, author of 'Flags of Our Fathers' Absorbing and beautifully written ... The story of this particular weapon becomes in an important sense the story of the violence and threat at the heart of the more than sixty years since the gun was first introduced -- Richard Overy Chivers is a first-rate war correspondent and a prodigious researcher ... The Gun is likely to become the standard account of the world's standard assault rifle -- Max Boot * New York Times Book Review * Chivers's mastery of history and engineering is matched by his mastery of language ... The Gun is a riveting read -- Raymond Bonner * Guardian * Chivers tells the story well ... [he is] superb on the technical history of the AK-47 and its predecessors, but he also strikingly underlines its human cost as well as weaving adeptly through the propaganda -- Tim Newark * Financial Times * A formidable feat of research and writing ... he has produced surely the final word on one of the most iconic weapons of our times -- Roger Moorhouse * Independent on Sunday * Chivers is admirably meticulous in his research -- Justin Marozzi * Telegraph *
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About C. J. Chivers

C.J. (Christopher John) Chivers is a senior writer for the New York Times and its former Moscow Bureau Chief. He was an infantry officer in the US Marines from 1988 to 1994 and served in the First Gulf War. He is the recipient of numerous prizes including a shared Pulitzer for International Reporting in 2009 for coverage of the war in Afghanistan. He has reported from many of the major war-torn areas of the world. He lives with his family in Rhode Island.
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Rating details

1,542 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 28% (436)
4 44% (684)
3 23% (351)
2 3% (51)
1 1% (20)
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