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Thread: The Gun - by C.J. Chivers

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    Default The Gun - by C.J. Chivers

    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.

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Excerpt: The Gun, by C.J. Chivers. Esquire, October 27, 2010.
    It is perhaps the most potent question to echo from the cold war: Who lost Vietnam? Well, there were certainly many factors, but an important new book forces us to consider this: For the first time in human history, a poorly trained peasant army humbled a great power with the gun its fighters carried in their hands. This is the story of that gun, and of the scandalous way that Washington responded to it. An exclusive adaptation.
    The AK-47: Questions About the Most Important Weapon Ever. Popular Mechanics, October 12, 2010.
    In his new book, The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War, out Oct. 12, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers traces the origins of modern assault rifles—particularly Avtomat Kalashnikov 47, or the AK-47—and analyzes how they've changed warfare. Popular Mechanics spoke to the author about how and why the AK-47 was developed and why it has had even more of an impact than nuclear weapons.
    From Russia With Blood: C.J. Chivers talks with Foreign Policy about the Kalashnikov, the world's real weapon of mass destruction. Foreign Policy, October 15, 2010.
    Chivers, a Marine Corps veteran and senior writer at the New York Times, has spent nearly a decade mapping the spread of the Kalashnikov and untangling its history, from the dusty government archives of the former Soviet Union to the battlefields of Afghanistan. The Gun, his history of the weapon, was published this week. He spoke via email with FP's Charles Homans about the AK-47's uncertain origins, how it has transformed modern warfare, and why the age of the Kalashnikov won't end anytime soon.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-12-2017 at 10:10 AM. Reason: 8.9k views, was closed and just re-opened

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Update on C.J. Chivers

    I had missed this update on Mr Chivers, in 2015, but his name appeared recently on a NYT article on the Manchester (UK) bombings and a member provided the pointer.

    The title explains all: Why the Best War Reporter in a Generation Had to Suddenly Stop; After fourteen years of being immersed in the bloody wars of our era, C.J. Chivers came home.

    Just started reading the long article.

  4. #4
    Council Member Condor's Avatar
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    Dec 2013


    I read that article back in 2015 and it was a powerful read. I have never read Chivers book on The Gun but I'm sure it's just as good as his articles I have read.

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