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Download The Gun Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Gun, by C. J. Chivers Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (606 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: C. J. Chivers Narrator: Michael Prichard Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The AK-47 is the world’s most widely recognized weapon, the most profuse tool for killing ever made. More than fifty national armies carry the automatic Kalashnikov, as do an array of police, intelligence, and security agencies all over the world.

In this tour de force, prizewinning New York Times reporter C. J. Chivers traces the invention of the assault rifle, following the miniaturization of rapid-fire arms from the American Civil War, through World War I and Vietnam, to present-day Afghanistan, when Kalashnikovs and their knockoffs number as many as 100 million—one for every seventy persons on earth. It is the weapon of state repression, as well as revolution, civil war, genocide, drug wars, and religious wars; and it is the arms of terrorists, guerrillas, boy soldiers, and thugs.

It was the weapon used to crush the uprising in Hungary in 1956. American Marines discovered in Vietnam that the weapon in the hands of the enemy was superior to their M16s. Fidel Castro amassed them. Yasir Arafat procured them for the P.L.O. A Kalashnikov was used to assassinate Anwar Sadat. As Osama bin Laden told the world that “the winds of faith and change have blown,” a Kalashnikov was by his side. Pulled from a hole, Saddam Hussein had two Kalashnikovs.

It is the world’s most widely recognized weapon—cheap, easy to conceal, durable, and deadly. But where did it come from? And what does it mean? Chivers, using a host of exclusive sources and declassified documents in the east and west, as well as interviews with and the personal accounts of insurgents, terrorists, child soldiers, and conventional grunts, reconstructs through the Kalashnikov the evolution of modern war. Along the way, he documents the experience and folly of war and challenges both the enduring Soviet propaganda surrounding the AK-47 and many of its myths.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rahadyan | 2/15/2014

    " A comprehensive history of the development of the AK-47 and its proliferation, prefaced by a history of the development of machine guns from the Gatling gun to U.S.'s counterpart to the AK-47, the M-16. Compelling and sobering work, by a Marine veteran now foreign correspondent for The New York Times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Fresno Bob | 2/6/2014

    " excellent work on the use of automatic weapons in warfare, with a focus on the development of the AK-47 and the M-16 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tom | 2/4/2014

    " History of the AK47 and the M1943 ammunition. Interesting to compare the two acquisition processes and their consequences - i.e., AK47 vs M16. End result is if you have a gun even a child can use, then you will have children using it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adam | 2/2/2014

    " Book #10! Took me forever to get through it, but this little audiobook has kept me company for the last month and half while walking up to campus. Great listen. Of course it's about much more than just said gun, the AK-47. Chivers does a fabulous job using machine guns to frame modern warfare. "

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About the Author

C. J. Chivers is a senior writer for the New York Times and its former Moscow bureau chief. He was an infantry officer in the United States Marines from 1988 to 1994, serving in the Gulf War. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including a shared Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2009 for coverage in Afghanistan and citations from the Overseas Press Club.