American Rifle: A Biography

Drawing on the words of soldiers, inventors, and presidents, based on extensive new research, and encompassing the Revolution to the present day, American Rifle is a balanced history of firearms technology and its place in American culture. We witness the high-stakes international race to produce gunpowder . . . how the mysterious arts of metallurgy, gunsmithing, and mass-production played vital roles in the creation of American economic supremacy . . . and the ways in which the bitter rivalry between armsmakers shaped diplomacy and influenced the most momentous decisions in American history. 

The title of Alexander Rose’s marvelous book says it all: Although American Rifle is ostensibly about the history of a piece of machinery, a tool, a killing instrument, it is only in America that the rifle has become an ineradicable part of the culture and can be written about as if it were a living person. Like David McCullough in The Great Bridge, Rose has the rare ability to make technology come alive even for the non-technology-minded. He is not only a good historian but also a gifted storyteller.
— Michael Korda, Washington Post
Rose’s writing style is consistently rollicking and fun to read, turning now and then from calm historical narration to dry humor, and then to insider gossip about the various personalities involved at different times. American Rifle is a window into the past that informs, entertains, and engages the reader in a journey through over 250 years of history and technology. It is a delightful read for anyone interested in history, weaponry, or politics.
— Internet Review of Books