Synopses & Reviews
In his new book, Chris McNab, author of Tools of Violence
and The Special Forces Survival Guide
, empties a six-shooter's worth of eye-opening stories about the use of deadly force in American law enforcement. Drawing on the work of Michael A. Bellesiles, whose groundbreaking study, Arming America, demonstrated that gun ownership in American was not widespread until after the Civil War, McNab chronicles how enforcers of the law first began to arm themselves with guns in the 1870s. In the Wild West, a tradition grew up where criminals like Wild Bill Hicock blithely swapped their black hats for white whenever the opportunity presented itself. And in the cities, armed policemen made equal use of their hardwood nightclubs and new-fangled revolvers to keep the unlawful in check.
McNab relates tales of law enforcement's famous clashes with gangers in the early part of the 20th Century and its dealings with psychopaths and drug dealers in the latter. An afterward examines the current and future state of deadly force in light of the shooting of Sean Bell in 2008. In his characteristically lively prose, McNab provides readers with a balanced history of the gun in American jurisprudence.
Almost every movie of a police shootout includes the following depiction of violence: good guy shoots bad guy; bad guy instantly drops dead. But the reality is that when someone is hit by a bullet, or even several bullets, this rarely happens. What does happen when someone is shot? How effective is the use of hand guns? Why are so many shots fired at a shootout? Why don’t officers shoot a gun out of an assailant’s hands, or shoot him in the leg instead of killing him? What is it really like for an officer to pull his gun and fire?
In this book, Chris McNab, author of Tools of Violence and The Special Forces Survival Guide, analyzes the use of lethal force in the control of crime in the United States from the Civil War to the present day.
Covering incidents from the shooting of Bonnie and Clyde to the Waco Seige, and the actions of gunmen from “Wild Bill” Hickok to modern SWAT teams, he answers these questions and examines the history of armed response and those who in enforcing law face making life and death choices in a few, traumatic seconds.
About the Author
Chris McNab is an author and editor. To date he has published over 25 books, including Twentieth-Century Small Arms (2001), Gunfighters - The outlaws and their weapons (2005, contributing editor), The Personal Security Handbook (2003), The Encyclopedia of Combat Techniques (2002) and The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War (2000), and is the co-author of the Osprey publication Tools of Violence (2008). He has also written extensively for major encyclopedia series, including African-American Biographies (2006), USA 1950s (2006) and Reformation, Exploration and Empire (2005), and has contributed to The Times on the war in Iraq. The author lives in Neath, Wales.