C.J. Chivers is without doubt one of the best war correspondents today, and has recently published his first book titled simply The Gun.
Bing West has posted this brief review (five stars) on Amazon:
Chris Chivers knows how to tell a story that has historical significance, depth and insight. The Gun explains how one rifle changed the face of war in the late 20th Century. Formerly the New York Times correspondent in Moscow, Chivers takes the reader behind the scenes inside the Soviet industrial and propaganda machine, laying out a fascinating narrative of how the regime plotted and schemed to engineer myth while designing the automatic rifle that was the most significant technical factor in the North Vietnamese victory over the south. Chivers wraps his deep understanding about military history inside a refreshing compendium of characters - heroes, inventors, knaves and entrepreneurs. He knows the secret of story-tellling; the reader finishes each page by asking, and then what happened? - Bing West, Newport, RI
Armed for a Fight, by Andrew Exum. The Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2010.
Implicit in C. J. Chiversís fascinating new history of the development and spread of light automatic weaponry is the argument that while the academy, the military, and the rest of society were busy contemplating nuclear weapons, a quieter revolution in arms was taking place in lesser technologies that deserves at least as much attention. Just before the Soviet Union tested its new atomic bomb in 1949, it began to manufacture and disseminate a light assault rifle of devastating simplicity and durability. That assault rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, or AK-47, has killed orders of magnitude more people than atomic weaponry, though its effect on the battlefield is never mentioned in the same breath as that of nuclear weapons. A modified design is still in production today.