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AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of Warby Larry Kahaner
Synopses & Reviews
The world's most popular and lethal weapon goes by many names—"The African Credit Card," the "$10 Weapon of Mass Destruction"—and you see it every day in movies, on TV, in magazines and newspapers. You see it in the hands of legitimate armies but more often brandished by insurgents, terrorists, and even child soldiers.
AK-47 tells the story of this most vicious and effective weapon, and how those who wield it have changed the world. Known simply as the AK or AK-47 (for the year it was created), no single weapon—save the atomic bomb—has had as profound an impact on modern warfare and global stability. Despite its low price and simple workmanship, this powerful rifle rarely jams, is almost indestructible—a well-maintained rifle can last fifty years—and is easy to fire with no training. It is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to turn a farmer, teacher, peasant, or even a teenager into an effective killing machine. Overnight, it can transform ragtag forces into formidable armies. It is the fuel that keeps alive protracted "small wars" in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East, and domestic crime almost everywhere. Each year, some 250,000 people die by it.
As many as 100 million AKs have been produced by more than twenty countries, and it has become a cultural icon. Its distinctive banana-shape silhouette defines what a deadly small arm is supposed to look like. Osama bin Laden is purposely photographed with his custom AK, rappers sing its praises, vodkas are named after it, and even haute designers such as Philippe Starck have produced furniture using its deadly image.
No tool has spread so much raw power to so many people in so little time—or has left such a wide swath of destruction. This book takes aim at the AK's legacy—which will continue well into the twenty-first century—from a uniquely appropriate perspective: the barrel of a gun.
No single weapon has spread so much raw power to so many people in so little time—and had such a devastating effect—as the AK-47 assault rifle. This book examines the legacy of this world-changing weapon, from its creation as means of fighting the Nazis to its ubiquity today in every kind of conflict, from civil wars in Africa to gang wars in L.A.
"A chilling and perversely entertaining look at the dark side of innovation."
"During the past half-century, the AK-47 assault rifle has established itself as the most ubiquitous implement of destruction on the planet. No other gun comes close for its durability, low price, ease of operation, and sheer killing power. It has become a mainstay of armies and terrorists alike, and a universal icon of revolutionary upheaval. Larry Kahaner's book is the best history of this weapon that I have seen. AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War will appeal to anyone who has ever watched the History Channel—or the evening news." —Max Boot, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relationsand author of The Savage Wars of Peace
"Anyone who has fought or watched a war over the last half-century recognizes the AK-47, but few know much about it. Kahaner traces the rifle's role in wars from Vietnam to Iraq and from Central America to Central Africa. A fascinating biography of a weapon that has truly changed world history." —Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow
No single weapon has spread so much raw power to so many people in so little time—and had such a devastating effect—as the AK-47 assault rifle. AK-47 tells the story of this most vicious and effective weapon, and how those who wield it have changed the world. Cheap and easy to use, it is the fuel that keeps alive protracted "small wars" in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East, and domestic crime almost everywhere. This book takes aim at the AK's lethal legacy—which will continue for years to come—from a uniquely appropriate perspective: the barrel of a gun.
About the Author
Larry Kahaner is an award-winning journalist and former Washington staff correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine. He is the author of eight books, including the groundbreaking Competitive Intelligence, and has been a guest expert on many shows, including Larry King Live, NPR's All Things Considered, and CBS Evening News.
Table of Contents
1. Protecting the Motherland.
2. A Reputation Born in the Rice Paddies.
3. Pandora’s Box.
4. The African Credit Card.
5. The Kalashnikov Culture Reaches Latin America.
6. Kalashnikov and His Gun Visit America.
7. The United Nations Takes On the True Weapons of Mass Destruction.
8. AK versus M-16: Part 2.
9. The Second Selling of the AK.
Epilogue: The Last Days of the AK?
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