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John Moses Browning: The Life and Legacy of the American Gunsmith Who Modernized Automatic and Semi-Automatic Firearms

Narrated by: Scott Clem
Length: 1 hr and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The Industrial Revolution that unfolded in Western societies at the dawn of the 19th century altered daily life as a rapidly developing paradigm. One historian suggests that in Europe and America, the highest known form of technology was the pipe organ before the rise of factories, steam drive combustion, and railway and communication breakthroughs built upon the mastery of electricity and transformed the standard processes of society. Such a rapid alteration of the prevailing world seemingly took place in a historical instant that propelled technology all the way to the age of powered flight. 

No less affected were the technological accomplishments that cast their influence over the wars so rampant in Europe through the past centuries. Military weapons benefited from various upgrades and innovations, even as the soldiers and generals remained confined within Napoleonic tactics while struggling to learn about the new principles of physics and engineering.

Technological advancement within the field of mechanical engineering experienced a golden age in the 19th century. Virtually every profession that worked in the traditional materials of wood and metal developed a capacity for precision and functionality hitherto unknown. In the arena of portable weaponry for both the military and civilian population, several new inventions with endless variations redefined American and international habits of sport and war, not to mention exploration and frontier survival. The traditional musket had changed little through the previous century, and the insatiable quest for a repeat-firing mechanism remained as the arms industry’s highest goal. The world knew that someone would find the solution and that future wars would occur, granting the nation to solve the riddle supremacy on the battlefield. The results of this pursuit were ushered in by several luminaries on the heels of an industrial revolution that had reshaped British industrial technology only a few decades prior.

By the late 19th century, the nature of war weaponry, new naval paradigms and the first imaginings of aviation as a primary component of battle required yet another leap in technology. One single artisan arose from among many talents to meet the new challenge at a high level, far from the prestigious pistol and rifle factories of Connecticut. John Moses Browning was raised in what was at the time the “Wild West” of the Utah Country. His educational upbringing was both sparse and basic, but through the impetus of his father’s gun-making business, he would become the greatest mind of the arms industry’s modern age. Where Colt labored over one solitary concept that eventually led him to the modern repeating revolver, Browning’s instinct proved able to visualize concepts far above his formal training and follow them through to a number of diverse and functional weapons. Although Winchester emerged into the greatest salesman of the modern repeating rifle and gathered early designers such as Benjamin Tyler Henry to his workshops, he was no inventor. Talents such as that of Browning were to be absorbed by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in order to maintain an ongoing superiority in product lines and sales numbers. 

The major weapons manufacturers soon realized that there was no talent equal to that of the Utah frontiersman, and in time he was employed by all the top gun-makers in the United States and Europe, including Fabrique Nationale in Belgium. There, he was granted well-deserved respect and the right to see his inventions find the light of day, sought after for so long. The breadth of Browning’s mechanical brilliance is evidenced by the reality that his designs from the pre-World War I era are still in production, and many are considered to be among the finest available models more than a century later.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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News article-style essay, full of informatio

Narration: Easy to understand, but the recording is not top tier. I had no problem understanding anything being said, but the Sound Engineering could have been better. the volume level was acceptable, but at times it distorted on certain syllables.

Content: This is clearly an Abridged version of Mr Browning's life. It short, but it is not too short. Certain listeners may prefer to have more detail or more information, but I would characterize this as similar to reading a news article that provides somewhat quick view of what the man did with his time as an inventor. There is no extensive rehash of History, it is merely a description of mr. Browning's influence on particular events.

I was surprised that this did not focus more on certain firearm models invented by Mr. Browning, but it was nice to get the full scope of his impact in an essay length document.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful