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Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture [Paperback]

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Item description for Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles...

Examines the American belief system regarding arms rights, and documenting the rarity of firearms in early America as well as the technological advances and events that made guns an integral part of American life.

Publishers Description
Americans have always staunchly, sometimes bloodily, defended their right to bear arms, but does the historical record bear out this right? Michael Bellesiles, in a meticulous study of the issue that draws extensively on archival material and original sources, says no. He traces "gun fever" to its European origins, documents the rarity of firearms in early America, covers technological advances, and details the strange series of developments during the Civil War that helped make the gun an integral and deadly fixture in modern American life. This revised and updated edition offers new research addressing critics' legitimate concerns, showing that the underlying thesis of the book remains as solid — and timely — as ever.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   604
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.99" Width: 5.22" Height: 1.62"
Weight:   1.26 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 3, 2003
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1932360077  
ISBN13  9781932360073  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael A. Bellesiles

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael A. Bellesiles is the founding director of Emory University's interdisciplinary Violence Studies Program, and author of Revolutionary Outlaws.

Michael A. Bellesiles currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > Weapons & Warfare > Conventional > Firearms
4Books > Subjects > History > Military Science
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Criminology
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Gun Control
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > U.S.
9Books > Subjects > Science > Technology > History of Technology

Reviews - What do customers think about Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture?

Fabrication  Jun 26, 2008
Overall, a discredited work of fabricated scholarship. The author has been fired from his academic position. Useful only as a tribute to the consequences of holding fantasy over fact...
Complete was of time... I do not recommend...  Jun 23, 2008
I cannot tell you how disappointed I am for not only reading this, but also the fact that it actually was written - What were the folks that involved with this project/book thinking. Other than making a quick buck and providing fodder for some left wing there is not much value here folks. I am more center thinking but after reading this, it makes me think that some folks will do and say anything to get their way, especially with gun control. The problem is when someone does this, most folks can see through this and realize they are being manipulated.... That is the way I feel... Sorry... The more I read this, the more I believe gun control is wrong and owning is not such a bad idea.

Needless to say, I do not recommend this book...

Don't waste your money on this propaganda  Apr 29, 2008
This book claims to be a scholarly work, but it is run-of-the-mill propaganda with an academic veneer. This book ended up torpedoing Michael A. Bellesiles career, don't let it waste any of your hear earned money.
Interesting topic  Jan 31, 2007
Many of the other reviews for this book focus on the validity and/or existence of the sources used by the author. As such, I will only comment on the flow and subject of the book itself. The author contends that the stereotype of near-universal gun ownership among Americans is mainly false until after the Civil War. To back this up, the author cites sources such as wills, probate records, court documents, tax documents, store receipts and other such records. In his opinion, the evidence points to a very low rate of gun ownership, even in the frontier, and a colonial lifestyle that was essentially independent of firearms. For example, most food was caught by fishing and trapping, and less by hunting. Likewise, colonial violence was less common than commonly portrayed. The author also suggests that this low rate of gun ownership was one reason the War of Independence took so long; i.e. the colonies did not have enough men equipped to fight on the battlefield.

The contentions of this book are provoking, and it is nice for someone to address such a topic. The text itself is easy to read and flows nicely. I cannot comment, however, on the validity of the references.
Look closely at author's sources...  Dec 13, 2006
I read this book for a historiography class in college - the prof's entire intention was to show us budding historians what not to do. Bellesiles has either falsified some of his sources or had access to sources that do not appear to exist and which he himself cannot remember. This resulted in the loss of his position at Emory Univ. and the withdrawl of his Bancroft Prize from Columbia University...just thought people should know.

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