Firearms in American History

Firearms in American History

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The firearm, like the compass, axe, and plow, was an essential tool in the exploration and settlement of America. The firearm provided food for the cooking pot and protection against animal and human marauders. It was also a major trade item with American Indians—who embraced the new technology—and was carried by soldiers of the many armies who fought over the New World. It is no coincidence that guns are intertwined with American history: the development and mass production of firearms parallels the history of European involvement in the Americas. Yet despite its long and important service, an accurate portrayal of the role of firearms in American history remains obscured by recurring inaccuracies, anachronisms, and tall tales at the popular level. The gun frequently appears as an element in both fiction and nonfiction writings, sometimes accompanied by half-truths and fallacies, and often misstatements are accepted as fact merely because they appear in print.

Firearms in American History: A Guide for Writers, Curators, and General Readers by noted expert and historian Charles G. Worman describes firearms development and use in America from colonization in the 1500s to the end of the 1800s in the hands of the soldiers and sailors, American Indians, and civilians. Here readers will learn accurate information about makes such as Deringer, Colt, Sharps, and Remington, alongside discussions of firearms used in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the West, some odd and unusual guns, and those preferred by women, target shooters, American Indians, and frontiersmen. With more than 275 illustrations, the book will enlighten the general reader, serve as a resource for both private and professional curators, and assist those authors unfamiliar with firearms who wish to avoid inaccuracies in their writing.

Charles G. Worman is retired deputy director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. A Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, he is coauthor of the two-volume Firearms of the American West 1803-1894 and Gunsmoke and Saddle Leather: Firearms in the Nineteenth Century American West.

Additional information

Dimensions 1 × 8 × 10 cm