Friday, February 23, 2007

Book suggestion: Armed America

Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie
By Clayton E. Cramer
ISBN 1595550690

I'm not a hunter, but I'm a gun owner and an NRA Life Member, and I believe as much in the Second Amendment as I do the others.

The first reason this book caught my eye is because Clayton Cramer is a neighbor of sorts. He lives in the Boise area. I read his blog every so often; it's always well-crafted, and his viewpoints usually line up quite nicely with my own.

The second reason is because it was on the list of "Second Amendment Must-Read" books, in my NRA magazine that just arrived. In fact, it was the first book on the list.

A bit of background:

Back in 2000, a fella named Michael Bellesiles wrote a book called Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. The general premise of that book was that the historical significance of guns in the Story of America has been vastly overstated, and that they were not part of our nation's development, at least to the degree as usually portrayed.

Naturally, Bellesiles' book was lauded by the mainstream media, Academia, Sarah Brady and Charles Schumer, and all the other anti-gun voices. He won Columbia University's "Bancroft Prize." (That's probably a good thing, I'm guessing.)

But it also got the attention of gun-lovers across the Fruited Plain, including Mr. Cramer, the author of this new book. They quickly did some fact checking on Bellesiles' book, and discovered that much of it was made up, and largely inaccurate.

Columbia University took away their prize. Bellesiles lost his tenure at Emory University, and resigned his position there. (Of course, the anti-gun crowd, never inclined to be persuaded or dissuaded by facts, continues to gush over the book!)

Okay... enough background.

Regarding Cramer's new book...

His description, from the beginning: "Here's a history of guns in America … Minutemen. Fur trappers. Davy Crockett. The shot heard 'round the world. Pioneers circling the wagon trains. Cowboys and Indians. Jesse James. Wyatt Earp. Buffalo Bill and the OK Corral. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., downed one and all, by gunmen. Rambo. Dirty Harry. Lethal Weapon. Columbine." All of these historical, or not-so-historical, incidents have been ingrained into Americans from the day we are born – on TV, in books, on the big screen, in our daily play as a child and as news items.

I have not read the book yet, but intend to. In fact, I just put a "hold" on it at the public library. Check back.

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