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Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture

Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Michael A. Bellesiles' Arming America is a stunning and seminal book that challenges everything we've previously been taught about America's history with guns.

Painstakingly examining the historical record, Bellesiles shatters the myth of our gun-toting forefathers. Most early settlers were indifferent or hostile toward guns, which until the middle of the nineteenth century were scarce and unreliable. Even members of the militia were often drastically short of firearms. Not until the Civil War did a gun culture take hold in America, and it did so for reasons far from patriotic or noble. Timely, provocative, and overwhelmingly thorough, this book is a singular historical work destined to have profound ramifications in the current debate over guns.

Review:

"Arming America is an exciting, timely book. Thinking people who deplore Americans' addiction to gun violence have been waiting a long time for this information. Michael Bellesiles has uncovered dramatic historical truths that shatter the 'Ten Commandments' hokum peddled by the National Rifle Association and its ersatz Moses." Stewart Udall, author of The Myths of August and The Quiet Crisis

Review:

"Michael Bellesiles' work shifts the terms of the debate about the gun's place in the modern United States. Today we assume that the gun has always been central to American culture. Those who seek to limit its prevalence have largely accepted that they ask us to depart from a tradition of long standing. Bellesiles argues, however, that the centrality of guns is a recent phenomenon, dating form the mid-19th century. His research raises fundamental issues that go to the heart of widely-held but apparently erroneous assumptions about American gun culture." Carla Gardina Pestana, author of Liberty of Conscience and the Growth of Religious Diversity in Early America

Review:

"We can hardly understand the context for the Second Amendment without first reading Arming America. No one previously has given us such an authoritative account of firearms in our history from the colonial period through the Civil War." Don Higginbotham, author of George Washington and the American Military Tradition

Review:

"At long last a superb book that systematically dismantles one of our most cherished and dangerous national myths. Bellesiles has made a major contribution to a significant public policy debate." Robert C. Ritchie, Director of Research, The Huntington Library

Review:

"This is stunning history, brilliantly argued. It knocks into a cocked hat our most cherished assumptions about guns and gun culture in early America, making us rethink one subject after another. What an eye-opener." Alfred F. Young, Senior Research Fellow, Newberry Library

Review:

"This book changes everything. The way we think about guns and violence in America will never be the same. Neither will our notions of manhood, race, the rise of big business, or our national character. Neither will our understanding of the Second Amendment. Michael Bellesiles is the NRA's worst nightmare." Michael Zuckerman, author of Peaceable Kingdoms

Review:

"Arming America is an astonishingly original and innovative book, chock full of fascinating revelations. It ought to raise current controversies about gun control to a more fact-based and rational level. It is certain to endure as a classic work of significant scholarship with inescapable policy implications." Michael Kammen, Past President, Organization of American Historians

Review:

"Bellesiles has uncovered one of the most profound ironies in American history. The contemporary debate about the role of guns in American society has actually turned history on its head. While many early Americans rallied at their government for doing too little to arm the American people, some in contemporary America now rail at their government for seeking to limit access to weapons. No one interested in the controversial problem of guns in American society can afford to ignore this important book." Saul Cornell, author of The Other Founders

Review:

"This is a book for scholars and, above all, citizens, a wonderful work that bring historical insight and plain good sense to a critical national debate. With wit, commitment, and an unerring command of his argument, Michael Bellesiles shows us that gun culture has not always been embedded in American culture in the past — and perhaps doesn't have to be in the future. It's a lesson we all need to learn from a book we all need to read." Greg Nobles, author of American Frontiers

Review:

"NRA zealots beware! This splendidly subversive book will convince any sane reader that America's 'gun culture' owes little to personal self-defense in its pioneer past — or even to putting meat on the table. It was not the challenge of the wild frontier that armed Americans, but instead a relentlessly insistent federal government." Robert R. Dykstra, author of The Cattle Towns

Review:

"Arming America is a myth-busting tour de force. Michael Bellesiles moves to the front rank of American historians with this deeply researched, brilliantly argued, energetically written, and timely book. It is an instant classic, one of the very most important works of historical scholarship published in recent years. In future years it will be impossible to talk about the role of guns in our civic culture without coming to terms with this superb study." Peter S. Onuf, author of Jefferson's Empire

Review:

"Meticulously, even extravagantly researched, this book is a tour de force. Bellesiles has done what no one before has — examine the fact behind American gun mythology. This book will transform the modern gun debate by moving it from hysteria to sensible analysis. In every respect, a superb piece of historical work." Robert J. Spitzer, author of The Politics of Gun Control

Review:

"If the purpose of historical scholarship is to construct a past that is congenial to oneown biases, then Michael A. Bellesiles can be judged a success. But that is not, of course, the purpose of historical scholarship. Those who understand that can take heart: Arming America has been disarmed by its own dishonesty." Melissa Seckora, National Reveiw editorial associate

About the Author

Michael A. Bellesiles is Professor of History at Emory University and Director of Emory's Center for the Study of Violence. He is the author of Revolutionary Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier, and of numerous articles and reviews. He lives in Atlanta.

Table of Contents

  1. In search of guns
  2. ch. 1.European gun heritage
  3. ch. 2.Role of guns in the conquest of North America
  4. ch. 3.Guns in the daily life of colonial America
  5. ch. 4.Creation of the first American gun culture: Indians and firearms
  6. ch. 5.Brown Bess in the wilderness
  7. ch. 6.People numerous and unarmed
  8. ch. 7.Government promotion of gun production
  9. ch. 8.From indifference to disdain
  10. ch. 9.Creation of a gun subculture
  11. ch. 10.Arming of the American people.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375701986
Subtitle:
(the origins of a national gun culture )
Author:
Bellesiles, Michael A.
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
United States - Colonial Period
Subject:
Americana
Subject:
Firearms ownership.
Edition Description:
1st Vintage Books ed.
Series:
Vintage
Series Volume:
106-28
Publication Date:
2001
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
603 p.
Dimensions:
7.83x5.04x1.69 in. 1.12 lbs.

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Banned Books » Sociology
History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Pre World War I
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 603 p. pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375701986 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Arming America is an exciting, timely book. Thinking people who deplore Americans' addiction to gun violence have been waiting a long time for this information. Michael Bellesiles has uncovered dramatic historical truths that shatter the 'Ten Commandments' hokum peddled by the National Rifle Association and its ersatz Moses."
"Review" by , "Michael Bellesiles' work shifts the terms of the debate about the gun's place in the modern United States. Today we assume that the gun has always been central to American culture. Those who seek to limit its prevalence have largely accepted that they ask us to depart from a tradition of long standing. Bellesiles argues, however, that the centrality of guns is a recent phenomenon, dating form the mid-19th century. His research raises fundamental issues that go to the heart of widely-held but apparently erroneous assumptions about American gun culture." Carla Gardina Pestana, author of Liberty of Conscience and the Growth of Religious Diversity in Early America
"Review" by , "We can hardly understand the context for the Second Amendment without first reading Arming America. No one previously has given us such an authoritative account of firearms in our history from the colonial period through the Civil War."
"Review" by , "At long last a superb book that systematically dismantles one of our most cherished and dangerous national myths. Bellesiles has made a major contribution to a significant public policy debate."
"Review" by , "This is stunning history, brilliantly argued. It knocks into a cocked hat our most cherished assumptions about guns and gun culture in early America, making us rethink one subject after another. What an eye-opener."
"Review" by , "This book changes everything. The way we think about guns and violence in America will never be the same. Neither will our notions of manhood, race, the rise of big business, or our national character. Neither will our understanding of the Second Amendment. Michael Bellesiles is the NRA's worst nightmare."
"Review" by , "Arming America is an astonishingly original and innovative book, chock full of fascinating revelations. It ought to raise current controversies about gun control to a more fact-based and rational level. It is certain to endure as a classic work of significant scholarship with inescapable policy implications."
"Review" by , "Bellesiles has uncovered one of the most profound ironies in American history. The contemporary debate about the role of guns in American society has actually turned history on its head. While many early Americans rallied at their government for doing too little to arm the American people, some in contemporary America now rail at their government for seeking to limit access to weapons. No one interested in the controversial problem of guns in American society can afford to ignore this important book."
"Review" by , "This is a book for scholars and, above all, citizens, a wonderful work that bring historical insight and plain good sense to a critical national debate. With wit, commitment, and an unerring command of his argument, Michael Bellesiles shows us that gun culture has not always been embedded in American culture in the past — and perhaps doesn't have to be in the future. It's a lesson we all need to learn from a book we all need to read."
"Review" by , "NRA zealots beware! This splendidly subversive book will convince any sane reader that America's 'gun culture' owes little to personal self-defense in its pioneer past — or even to putting meat on the table. It was not the challenge of the wild frontier that armed Americans, but instead a relentlessly insistent federal government."
"Review" by , "Arming America is a myth-busting tour de force. Michael Bellesiles moves to the front rank of American historians with this deeply researched, brilliantly argued, energetically written, and timely book. It is an instant classic, one of the very most important works of historical scholarship published in recent years. In future years it will be impossible to talk about the role of guns in our civic culture without coming to terms with this superb study."
"Review" by , "Meticulously, even extravagantly researched, this book is a tour de force. Bellesiles has done what no one before has — examine the fact behind American gun mythology. This book will transform the modern gun debate by moving it from hysteria to sensible analysis. In every respect, a superb piece of historical work."
"Review" by , "If the purpose of historical scholarship is to construct a past that is congenial to oneown biases, then Michael A. Bellesiles can be judged a success. But that is not, of course, the purpose of historical scholarship. Those who understand that can take heart: Arming America has been disarmed by its own dishonesty."
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