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American Rifle: A Biography | [Alexander Rose]

American Rifle: A Biography

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 audiobook, historian Alexander Rose delivers a colorful, engrossing biography of an American icon: the rifle.
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Publisher's Summary

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 audiobook, 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 listen for history buffs, gun collectors, soldiers - and anyone who seeks to understand the dynamic relationship between the rifle and this nation's history.

©2008 Rosewriter Inc. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Nick 08-04-14
    Nick 08-04-14
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    "Sighting in American history through its firearms."
    Would you listen to American Rifle again? Why?

    From the Kentucky rifle to the M-16, one gets a clearer picture of how firearms development helped America gain its independence, grow as a nation and become a world power. For much of United States history, civilians were better armed than our government's forces. Until the early 20th century, civilian development of firearms lead to innovations we now take for granted. Innovators like Sharps, Henry, Winchester, Browning, Gatling, and Maxim are presented as to their historical and business relevance during both peace and war. There has always been money to be made selling guns.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Joe Barrett's voice made me feel like I was listening to a wise gunsmith and historian. He added character to the narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 12-21-13
    George 12-21-13
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    "AR15 Changes to create M16"
    If you could sum up American Rifle in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent Book, almost


    What other book might you compare American Rifle to and why?

    A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. Both illustrate how politics, career advancement and Not Invented Here philosophy have adversely impacted military decisions.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    Abraham Lincoln.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The moment when Ordnance changed the number of rifle twists and powder in AR15, apparently without consulting the designer, Eugene Stoner.


    Any additional comments?

    The author discusses the changes made by Ordnance to Stoner's original design and powder. These changes resulted in rifle fouling and subsequent deaths of American soldiers. The author then dismisses the incident as a normal consequence of introducing new technology. This subject is also discussed in the book National Defense by James Fallows. Unfortunately National Defense is not available in audio format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Patterson Hampton, VA 12-17-13
    T. Patterson Hampton, VA 12-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A Nation of Riflemen"
    What did you love best about American Rifle?

    Completeness of information, especially some of the political manuvering between factions in the military and civilian government in the 19th and 20th centuries.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The 1903 Springfield!


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Easy to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It just made me smile.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, a thorough presentation of the rifle and especially its significance in the development of America. I have been an amateur scholar of American military firearms for decades. The information presented here added to my knowledge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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