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Download The Gun Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Gun Audiobook, 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: October 2010 ISBN: 9781400189144
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It 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, 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Eye-opening.... An entertaining work that combines technical details, biographies, political maneuvering and insightful military history. Kirkus

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Barr | 1/25/2014

    " It is a fascinating look at the evolution of the deadliest piece of weaponry to surface in the 20th Century. It puts into perspective all of the nuances of the development of small arms and places them at the apex of the deadliest bits of machinery of the last 150 years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 1/8/2014

    " I picked this up on a recommendation from a podcast about Apple (go figure). That said, Chivers clearly knows his topic and does a good job of providing lots of historical context around his main thesis. It's definitely not for the faint of heart though. Several sections go into immense detail into the effects of various weapons on living tissue that can be a little hard to stomach. But, if you're interested in geo-politics, this book is certainly a unique viewpoint. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice-erin | 1/5/2014

    " It was a very nice book to read, 99% of the information was accurate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 1/5/2014

    " A fine history of not only the AK-47 (arguably the most dangerous item on the planet, due to its proliferation), but also mechanized/irregular warfare in general. In a few spots, however, Chivers goes too deeply into certain topics, hurting the book's pace. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Holland | 12/13/2013

    " Pretty interesting book, although it's nearly as much about the Gatling and Maxim guns, as well as the early history of the M-16 as it is about the Kalashnikov. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alain | 11/9/2013

    " Excellent history of the development of automatic weapons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hadrian | 10/16/2013

    " Interesting! Describes history and philosophy of the world's most famous weapons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 R. Sinnema | 10/15/2013

    " Wide-ranging history of AK-47 & automatic weapons "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rajveer Prajapati | 7/22/2013

    " Very informative ....This book has changed my perception towards guns ....They are the wonder of technology "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Grindy Stone | 4/10/2013

    " Sprawling, and lots of bits that are of interest to the hardest of hardcore battle fans. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 May Khaw | 2/5/2013

    " It's not a bad book. It just hasn't lived up to expectations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Farrell | 8/1/2012

    " In spite of the title - this book is really about Russian and American history and how those histories shaped the development of each countries primary weapon for field soldiers. As someone who is interested in Russian history and guns I found this book fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erhard | 7/10/2012

    " A history of the AK-47 assault rifle, but lots of other stuff about automatic weapons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 10/5/2011

    " It was a well written book about the history of the AK47 and the machine gun in general. The Cold War was not a cold war and millions died in it around the world. The AK47 and how the USSR used it was a big part of that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 9/15/2011

    " This history of the AK-47 assault rifle is more episodic than exhaustive, but fundamentally military history done right - one that doesn't shy away from the deep moral discomfort that should surround efforts to build a better way to kill people in large numbers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Larry Ausley | 7/22/2011

    " Interesting but about 5 times too long. The author could've made his points in much, much less volume. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 6/23/2011

    " 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 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 4/22/2011

    " In spite of the title - this book is really about Russian and American history and how those histories shaped the development of each countries primary weapon for field soldiers. As someone who is interested in Russian history and guns I found this book fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gentlemanvillain | 4/21/2011

    " Very well done, a sharp and sad history of a weapon out of control. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremiahclark | 3/30/2011

    " A fascinating look at the development and proliferation of the AK-47. The AK-47 is arguably the most successful weapon the world has ever known, and I found the history of it to be incredibly intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerome | 3/13/2011

    " Interesting history of the machine gun with special interest in the development distribution of the AK47 and the development and misadventures of the U.S. M16 assault rifles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaworu | 3/6/2011

    " Interesting! Describes history and philosophy of the world's most famous weapons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 2/21/2011

    " Exhaustive and fascinating. Bogs down in details, occasionally. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 2/12/2011

    " I got this from the library and love it. Unfortunately, it finally came in right as I started my graduate classes so I didn't get to finish it before I had to return it. I'm about a quarter done and love it. I plan on requesting it again so I can finish it. "

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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.

About the Narrator

Michael Prichard is a Los Angeles-based actor who has played several thousand characters during his career, over one hundred of them in theater and film. He is primarily heard as an audiobook narrator, having recorded well over five hundred full-length books. His numerous awards and accolades include an Audie Award for Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman and six AudioFile Earphones Awards. He was named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine. He holds an MFA in theater from the University of Southern California.