Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Gun

Some time ago I heard interview with C.J. Chivers on his book The Gun on NPR. Ever since that time I've wanted to read the book, but was reluctant to get it in hardback and wasn't able to find an audio version of it at or through my library. A couple weeks back I took the plunge and decided to just purchase the mp3 CD version of it.

C.J. Chivers

The Gun tells the history of the AK-47. While not my normal fare the book does have lots of relevancy to my Post-Soviet war obsession, after all it is the AK-47 and its variants that I always seem to be painting. It was a great listen. The book includes a biography of Mikhail Kalashnikov and a detailed discussion of the development of the gun its multiple variants, many knock-offs and true successor the AK-74. This material was certainly interesting, but equally interesting were the many side stories and chapters that Chivers includes to flesh out the story. My favorites were those concerning its predecessors the Gatling and the Maxim, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the development and initial problems of the M-16 and the exploitation of Cold War stockpiles. I will definitely have to read more about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and could one day see painting some figures for it. My main gripe is the book devotes too much time to the M-16. I'm not entirely sure this was appropriate, perhaps Chivers should have chosen to write a sequel The Other Gun: The Story of the M-16 instead. Despite that small complaint it was worth the 19 hours I spent listening to it. I'll definitely recommended this one to some friends and family members.

József Tibor Fejes, Budapest, Hungary, 1956.

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