"Tens of thousands of shootings yearly, with over 10,000 killed, and tens thousands more wounded. This must be acceptable to most Americans, since there is little serious effort to stop it."

Egerton's cultural history is an impeccably detailed and researched examination of America and her fascination with and complex usage of firearms and ammunition of all kinds. This dates from pre-Revolutionary War colonization up to the present-day epidemic of mass and school shootings. America's relationship with guns is "notorious," the author writes, "for both an abundance of guns and a high rate of gun casualties." Undoubtedly he has the numbers and statistics to back up his claims. In particular, his work is highly critical of the National Rifle Association, which, as he suggests, with its 5 million member-strong gun lobby, enjoys virtually complete control over any proposed gun-control legislation.

The author clearly makes known from the outset his personal opinion regarding the extreme use and societal attachment to firearms (especially as compared to other industrialized, first-world democracies on earth). However, it is also likely that even self-identified gun-lovers and staunch defenders of the Second Amendment might find much to enjoy in Egerton's book. This is because a significant portion of the massive work (consisting of nearly 445 pages) lays out, in sublime detail, the technological developments in gun and ammunition manufacturing. These advances were necessitated by an ever-increasing race (especially during wartime) to modernize the efficacy and ease-of-use of firearms. In short, there is an abundance of material here to please all sides of the gun debate, including dozens of pages of historical attributions and an impressive bibliography for suggested further study. These attributes help reveal the many interconnected realms of American gun culture throughout the nation's history.

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