By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
The AK-47 is arguably the most recognized, feared and utilized weapon in the world. It is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The designation AK-47 stands for Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle, 1947 Model. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova (or simply as the ‘AK’). Its low cost and ease of use is legendary…
In The Gun by C.J. Chivers, you are given an in-depth history of one of the most important weapons of all time. It is said there are now over 100 million of them worldwide. Used by police, soldiers, criminals, drug runners, jihadists, terrorists, guerrillas, dictators and fighters across the world – it is a weapon that has changed the world whether it is used for good or evil.
The Kalashnikov automatic rifle was born in Russia when it was a world power in the guise of the Soviet Union. The Cold War had just begun and the AK-47 was an invention that would revolutionize warfare. Simple to use and dependable, it was a lethal wonder and when used in competent hands, it could determine the outcome of a battle all by itself.
This gun is historic in its own right… It was brutally utilized in Eastern Europe to quell anticommunist uprisings. It was also used in Vietnam against American soldiers who found out the hard way that it was superior to the M-16s they were using. After 9-11, bin Laden raised it above his head and carried it as a threat to America. While the AK-47 was and is instrumental in saving the lives of our soldiers on any given battleground and in helping the US to protect freedom around the globe, it is also used effectively against us when our enemies come into possession of it.
I found The Gun to be a great read… It is laid out methodically and it is obvious that the depth of research that has gone into it is massive. From looking into the AK-47 and other firearms that have been stocked in armories and arms bazaars throughout the world, Chivers details their origins, designs, production, distribution, stockpiling and export. He captivates you with how they have been used in combat over time. He develops a timeline of how the assault rifle has evolved and how automatic weapons have been implemented from the Civil War through present day. He follows individual characters throughout history of war as well, detailing their exploits and follies in a colorful manner that is riveting. Chivers uses masterful recounts of leaders to make the world of war come to life as more than just a headline – you are transported there to relive what it is like to plan and carry out battles, to live and persevere through life and death encounters. He takes storytelling to new heights and you will learn more about the AK-47 than you had ever dreamed…
The Gun rewards the reader with a page turner that covers the history of arguably the greatest weapon of all time. His research is exhaustive and it will capture your mind and imagination from the first page. A fascinating read for anyone interested in weapons, military, international affairs and intrigue, the history of firearms in general, the history of the Soviet Empire, warfare and its evolution throughout history… It’s just a great story from beginning to end and I cannot recommend it enough.