The Rise of America's Gun
Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. Crown. Jan. 2012. c.304p. index. ISBN 9780307719935. $26. SOC SCI
Barrett (American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion) spent years immersing himself in handgun culture to discover how the Glock became 21st-century America's firearm of choice. Real factors (innovative design and manufacturing; brilliant marketing; the adoption of the Glock by U.S. law enforcement; glamorization by Hollywood and rapper culture; the "concealed carry" laws of the 1990s; and Glock's public spats with the National Rifle Association) intersected with myths (e.g., stories about the gun's Austrian inventor; rumors about terrorists sneaking plastic Glocks past airport security) to make the Glock the most popular U.S. handgun. By 1995, there were half a million Glocks in U.S. homes and police holsters. The gun continues to earn record profits for its manufacturer. Barrett tells the story of inventor Gaston Glock, who has become something of a "strange bird"; he became a billionaire despite many years of mismanagement at the company.
VERDICT This book, which has received wide prepublication buzz in the gun press and Internet communities, is a balanced study, a must-read for anyone interested in guns, their role in American life, and how a product becomes an icon in the popular imagination.
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