American Gun: The True Story of the Ar-15

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Product Details
$32.00  $29.76
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.35 X 1.6 inches | 1.56 pounds

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About the Author
Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson are reporters for The Wall Street Journal, where they cover America's gun culture and industry. McWhirter is the author of Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Based in Atlanta, he has also written for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Detroit News, and Harvard Review, among other publications. Elinson is based in Northern California. Together, the authors received a MacDowell Fellowship to complete this book.

"A magisterial work of narrative history and original reportage . . . [Written] in calm, precise language that allows the authors' exhaustive research to shine through . . . You can feel the tension building one cold, catastrophic fact at a time . . . Among the authors' feats of reportage was getting gun company executives and entrepreneurs to speak candidly on the record, a virtually unprecedented achievement . . . American Gun lays out the unvarnished truth." --Mike Spies, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"A deeply reported, engrossing account . . . American Gun immerses in shifting politics and their exploitation by the firearms industry . . . [The book] adds valuable context as we reckon with the indelible and ongoing impact of a uniquely American gun." --Mark Follman, The Washington Post

"Riveting . . . Indispensable . . . Brilliant . . . A particularly powerful new book . . . [American Gun] is packed with characters and plot turns." --Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

"Riveting . . . This book is not to be missed." --Esquire

"The authors are meticulous in the details they recount . . . American Gun is a fascinating social history." --The Economist

"Reading the second half of American Gun is like watching a Shakespearean tragedy . . . The book is heartbreaking . . . A lucid, straightforward, and well-researched and -reported work." --Colin Dickey, The New Republic

"[McWhirter and Elinson] have done a masterful and damning job tracing the birth and development, and rampant misuse, of the AR-15, and there are heartbreaking stories elegantly told of the destruction this weapon has wrought on families and towns across the nation . . . Poignant." --Air Mail

"McWhirter and Elinson offer a comprehensive, even-handed look at the AR-15's history and the debate over gun violence . . . [Their] well-reported book is vital for anyone who wants to understand how Stoner's creation transformed over time into what the authors call the 'fulcrum of America's great gun divide.'" --Andrew Demillo, Associated Press

"[A] superb history . . . [American Gun] is a meticulously researched and impressively informed book . . . A riveting exploration of the cost of the nation's fascination with an iconic weapon." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A captivating tale of unintended consequences . . . The authors put a human face on a politically charged story. The result is a fascinating genealogy of a weapon that has become the flash point of the contemporary gun control debate." --Publishers Weekly

"American Gun is an engrossing read. It is both a revealing biography and a thorough autopsy of a historical figure that resides in millions of American homes: the AR-15 rifle. Created in a garage but worshipped as if born in a manger, the AR-15 has become destructive weapon of choice in many mass killings and a source of heartbreak that gnaws at the souls of millions of Americans every day. Through exhaustive research and superb writing, Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson haven't missed an important moment in the life of this weapon--and they answer the question: what would the inventor of the AR-15 think about the monstrous ways it is being used today?" --Hank Klibanoff, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of The Race Beat

"American Gun is an unforgettable story of American ingenuity and mayhem, built with hard-core reporting and gripping prose. This is social history at its finest." --Jonathan Eig, author of King: A Life

"Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson have written the definitive biography of the AR-15, a weapon that has been demonized, deified, and fetishized in the never-ending American gun debate. This book should be of vital interest to both gun-rights advocates and those who would ban the AR-15 as the instrument of ruthless death at schools, Walmarts, and grocery stores. At this fraught moment, there is no more compelling symbol of the unique American fascination with--and horror over--firearms." --Paul M. Barrett, author of Glock: The Rise of America's Gun