The True Story of the AR-15
A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
"A magisterial work of narrative history and original reportage . . . You can feel the tension building one cold, catastrophic fact at a time . . . A virtually unprecedented achievement." --Mike Spies, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
A Washington Post top 50 nonfiction book of 2023 | Short-listed for the ZÃ³calo Book Prize
One of The New York Times' 33 nonfiction books to read this fall | One of Esquire's best books of fall | A Kirkus Reviews best nonfiction book of 2023
Named a most anticipated book of the fall by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Bloomberg
American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 presents the epic history of America's most controversial weapon.
In the 1950s, an obsessive firearms designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in a California garage. High-minded and patriotic, Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon that could replace the M1s touted by soldiers in World War II. What he did create was a lethal handheld icon of the American century.
In American Gun, the veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson track the AR-15 from inception to ubiquity. How did the same gun represent the essence of freedom to millions of Americans and the essence of evil to millions more? To answer this question, McWhirter and Elinson follow Stoner--the American Kalashnikov--as he struggled mightily to win support for his invention, which under the name M16 would become standard equipment in Vietnam. Shunned by gun owners at first, the rifle's popularity would take off thanks to a renegade band of small-time gun makers. And in the 2000s, it would become the weapon of choice for mass shooters, prompting widespread calls for proscription even as the gun industry embraced it as a financial savior. Writing with fairness and compassion, McWhirter and Elinson explore America's gun culture, revealing the deep appeal of the AR-15, the awful havoc it wreaks, and the politics of reducing its toll. The result is a moral history of contemporary America's love affair with technology, freedom, and weaponry.
Includes 8 pages of black-and-white images.
About this Author
Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson are reporters for The Wall Street Journal, where they cover America's gun culture and industry. McWhirter is the author of Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Based in Atlanta, he has also written for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Detroit News, and Harvard Review, among other publications. Elinson is based in Northern California. Together, the authors received a MacDowell Fellowship to complete this book.
If the product is in stock at the store nearest you, we suggest you call ahead to have it set aside for you, or you may place an order online and choose in-store pickup.