With 100 million AK-47s in circulation as a result of its compact, jam-free design, it has become the most distributed firearm of all time. Now author C. J. Chivers , a prize winning journalist with the New York Times, has provided a history and update on the use of this weapon of choice.
It may surprise many to learn that it was designed in the late 1940’s by a committee for the Soviet Army. However its beginning can be traced back to the time of the Industrial Revolution and the development of the automatic weapon.
In writing The Gun, Chivers explores the myths about the weapon, starting with the inventors and moving on to those who have used the AK-47 to either support or become powerful one-man armies. These include:
· Gun runners
· Child soldiers
· Drug traffickers
Chivers background as a former U.S. Marine infantry in the first Gulf War provides a first hand, insider’s view of the use of the AK-47:
· War reporting
· Military history
In his exploration of what guns are and what they do from their psychological effects to economic and political impacts, the book includes narratives about how the AK-47 has been used:
- The Hungarian who became one of the first insurgents to use the weapon during the 1956 Soviet invasion
- East Germans shot trying to escape over the Berlin wall
- American soldiers under fire in Vietnam
- Israeli athletes murdered in the Munich Olympic Village in 1972
- Child soldiers in Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army
- The wounding of a Kurdish bodyguard during an attempted assassination in northern Iraq in 2002.
Chivers has used his writing expertise and extensive research in presenting the story of the AK-47 without bias or making judgments while providing a broad historical perspective of one of the most influential and destructive technologies in the modern world.
About the Author
C.J. Chivers is a former Marine Corp infantry officer. He is a senior writer at the New York Times. He contributes to the Foreign and Investigative desks and frequently post on the At War blog, writing on war, tactics, human rights, politics, crimes and the arms trade from Afghanistan, Iraq, Russian, Georgia, Chechnya and elsewhere on a wide range of assignments.
Chivers, C. J. The Gun. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2010
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