The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War

C.J. Chivers, Simon & Schuster, $28 (496p) ISBN 978-0-743-27076-2
The AK-47 assault rifle is the defining weapon of the post-WWII era, thanks to its reliability, simplicity, and effectiveness. Over a hundred million units have been manufactured in enough variants—including imitations—to provide one for every 70 people in the world. It is praised in equal measure by soldiers, insurgents, hunters, and police. In his first book Chivers, a Marine Corps vet and senior writer at the New York Times who has reported extensively from Afghanistan and Pakistan, combines recently declassified documents with extensive personal accounts of AK-47 users from around the world. Without denying the familiar contributions of Mikhail Kalashnikov, Chivers describes the AK-47 as a product of the Soviet system. The quest for an individual weapon with the firepower of a light machine gun and the portability of a machine pistol dated from the First World War, but Stalin gave it top priority with the beginning of the Cold War. Chivers vividly depicts the false starts and the eventual success, as when the gun aided in suppressing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and its subsequent global distribution and evolution into "everyman's gun." An extensive comparison with the US M-16 enhances this outstanding history of an exceptional instrument of war. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4391-9653-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1914-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-4914-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6914-6
Paperback - 481 pages - 978-0-14-102063-1
Paperback - 481 pages - 978-0-7432-7173-8
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