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Glock: The Rise of America's Gun

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Glock: The Rise of America's Gun Cover

ISBN13: 9780307719935
ISBN10: 0307719936
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Based on fifteen years of research, Glock is the riveting story of the weapon that has become known as American’s gun.  Today the Glock pistol has been embraced by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, glamorized in countless Hollywood movies, and featured as a ubiquitous presence on prime-time TV. It has been rhapsodized by hip-hop artists, and coveted by cops and crooks alike. 

 

Created in 1982 by Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, and swiftly adopted by the Austrian army, the Glock pistol, with its lightweight plastic frame and large-capacity spring-action magazine, arrived in America at a fortuitous time.  Law enforcement agencies had concluded that their agents and officers, armed with standard six-round revolvers, were getting "outgunned" by drug dealers with semi-automatic pistols. They needed a new gun.

 

When Karl Water, a firearm salesman based in the U.S. first saw a Glock in 1984, his reaction was, “Jeez, that’s ugly.” But the advantages of the pistol soon became apparent. The standard semi-automatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (one equipped with an extended thirty-three cartridge magazine was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with those of other models. You could drop it underwater, toss it from a helicopter, or leave it out in the snow, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight, and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wesson’s revolver. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was even rumored (incorrectly) to be invisible to airport security screening.

 

Filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz, bloody shoot-outs—and an attempt on Gaston Glock’s life by a former lieutenant—Glock is at once the inside account of how Glock the company went about marketing its pistol to police agencies and later the public, as well as a compelling chronicle of the evolution of gun culture in America.

Review:

"At age 50, Gaston Glock was manufacturing knives and bayonets for the Austrian army in his garage, when in 1980 he learned the army wanted a replacement for its antiquated pistol. With an okay from the minister of defense, he took on the project: 'That I knew nothing was my advantage.' After consulting with experts, he hired technicians and in 1982 launched his lightweight Glock 17, sometimes called the 'plastic pistol' because of its polymer frame. American police officials wanted a new handgun, and civilians gravitate toward what the professionals carry, so Glock scored a bonanza. Die Hard 2 gave the Glock tremendous public exposure in 1990, and it was featured in films throughout that decade and embraced by hip-hop stars. U.S. gun makers, who had once scoffed at the Glock, now felt threatened. When Smith & Wesson copied the gun's design, Glock sued. Taking aim with a full arsenal of such anecdotes, Barrett traces the events that made Gaston Glock a billionaire. Assistant managing editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, Barrett (American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion) is right on target, delivering a well-oiled, fact-packed, and fast-paced history of the Glock, surveying its crafty marketing and its huge impact on the American gun industry." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

PAUL M. BARRETT is an assistant managing editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the author of American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion and The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America. Barrett lives and works in New York City. For more information, go to GlockTheBook.com.

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Chris Abraham, December 26, 2011 (view all comments by Chris Abraham)
Glock: The Rise of America's Gun is not the work of a Glock fanboy like many of these gun books are. It is the gun version of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. Of course it is an historically-accurate representation of the life and times of Gaston Glock and everything GLOCK, Inc., and its line of handguns.

It is also a complete history of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, a history of gun-related politics and policies, and also a very accurate and sober portrayal of America's love for and of guns.

In the same way you read Cod even though you're not into fish or fishing, you really should read Glock. If you're anti-gun, you'll learn both about the culture of firearms in America and how powerful and intelligent -- savvy -- a force your enemy really is. If you're pro-gun, the Glock revolution will blow your mind, especially in contrast with how pathetically every gun manufacturer in the world performed against GLOCK, especially poor Smith & Wesson, a company that watched as GLOCK came in and single-handedly replaced every .38 Special revolver in every police station in America with not only a high-capacity, semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistol, but with a Glock 17.

I can keep on going. Each story is more amazing than the next. The chutzpah of Gaston Glock is only bettered by the cajones of his right hand man during the early days in Atlanta, Mr. Karl Walter, a man who turned the conservative and serious world of arms sales and arms dealing in America into a discotheque, into a circus, into a strip club, into a world of Hollywood action flicks, rap music videos, and an army of Glock devotees that is only bettered by those mad men and women who are obsessed with their 1911.

Let me explain why I know so much about this book and it's not even out yet. Well, I read an advanced Galley copy of the book. On November 4th, Paul Barrett contacted me to review his upcoming book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. He chose me because I guess I am pretty open about both my gun ownership and my attraction to Glocks. Though I have only been shooting for a year, I already have a pretty nice collection of three Glock handguns: a Generation 3 Glock 23 in .40 S&W, a 9mm First Generation Glock 17 -- the original -- a retiree from the DC police department, and my Generation 4 Glock 26, my Baby Glock, in 9mm.

So, in an exemplary blogger outreach campaign, Mr, Barrett sent me a Galley copy to read. And I read it. I consumed it and was mesmerized. I was mesmerized by how much I didn't know about these United States, about gun legislation, about gun bans and band on high-capacity magazines. I was flabbergasted by the loopholes in these bans that were so big you could taxi a 747 through them,

I was not mesmerized by the typical fanboy depiction of their favorite gun and gun maker, I was mesmerized by a book written by a in investigative journalist who dig into the GLOCK empire, and its ripple effects on not just Law Enforcement but popular culture, rap music, politics, television, and hundreds of movies.

I really didn't know anything about the history of firearms in America or how they're sourced and have been banned; how they're imported -- or, rather, sourced and then assembled -- and how they're marketed and sold.

And that's not even scratching the surface of all that is GLOCK, Inc, and its illustrious founder, Gaston Glock, an Austrian nerd who ended up developing, designing, and producing the most iconic pistol since the Colt 1911:

If you liked Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, Salt: A World History, The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, or Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, you'll love Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307719935
Author:
Barrett, Paul M.
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Author:
Barrett, Paul
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
US History-General
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.54 x 6.38 x 1.07 in 1.1 lb

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Glock: The Rise of America's Gun New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Crown Publishing Group (NY) - English 9780307719935 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "At age 50, Gaston Glock was manufacturing knives and bayonets for the Austrian army in his garage, when in 1980 he learned the army wanted a replacement for its antiquated pistol. With an okay from the minister of defense, he took on the project: 'That I knew nothing was my advantage.' After consulting with experts, he hired technicians and in 1982 launched his lightweight Glock 17, sometimes called the 'plastic pistol' because of its polymer frame. American police officials wanted a new handgun, and civilians gravitate toward what the professionals carry, so Glock scored a bonanza. Die Hard 2 gave the Glock tremendous public exposure in 1990, and it was featured in films throughout that decade and embraced by hip-hop stars. U.S. gun makers, who had once scoffed at the Glock, now felt threatened. When Smith & Wesson copied the gun's design, Glock sued. Taking aim with a full arsenal of such anecdotes, Barrett traces the events that made Gaston Glock a billionaire. Assistant managing editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, Barrett (American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion) is right on target, delivering a well-oiled, fact-packed, and fast-paced history of the Glock, surveying its crafty marketing and its huge impact on the American gun industry." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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