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GUNS Magazine June 2011 Digial Edition - Page 32

HOLT BODINSON LEARN It, LOVE It recent additions to the surplus Locker library. Iannamico’s AK-47 is 860 pages of solid information about every variation of the AK. ne of the most enjoyable sidelines to collecting and O shooting milsurps is delving into the rich literature on their development, deployment and performance. The quality of the scholarship, data, photographs and increasing access to heretofore classified information have proved remarkable in terms of the final printed product. The only downside to this out flowing of new arms literature has occasionally been the cost of the book. Unfortunately, our local libraries don’t seem to stock them. Here’s my pick of some of the best to hit the bookshelves in the last few years. The Gun by C.J. Chivers Chivers, a former Marine Captain and Pulitzer Prize winning senior writer and past Moscow bureau chief for the New York Times, has written an incredibly riveting story about the Kalashnikov assault rifle and its role in modern foreign policy and warfare. The central theme of the book is the geo-political role the Kalashnikov has played in post-war Soviet foreign policy and how the establishment of Kalashnikov manufacturing facilities throughout the Soviet’s sphere of influence tied that sphere to Moscow. The result was not only the division of the world into two competing power blocs, but the uncontrolled, overproduction of millions-andmillions of AK/AKMs which, in the author’s view, have destabilized the world. A parallel theme in the book is the very late development of the M16 as a competing “assault rifle” and its unenviable record during the early years of the Vietnam war. In a “no holds barred” analysis, the author meticulously documents the M16’s early failures and names the names of those in the militaryindustrial complex who tried their best to cover up the debacle. The Gun is a good read with events and facts carefully annotated in over 30 pages of bibliographical notes. AK-47—The Grim Reaper by Frank Iannamico Rather than being a sweeping geo-political study of the AK-47, Another page from the AK-47 discusses the obscure, Serbian AK variant in 7.62 nATO. The full color pictures in the AK-47 make the identification of AK designs easier than ever. Weaver’s Desperate Measures (above) is a fascinating study of Germany’s least known weapons deployed at the end of WWII. The crude, bolt-action 8mm VG1 (below) was produced by a number of major German arms firms. Iannamico gets down to the nuts and bolts of the model. After 860 pages, he not only covered the development of the Kalashnikov, but also documented every model variation of the design and national production facility now known in extensive detail. The close-up, black-and-white and color photographs contained in this tome are invaluable for identifying AK variants and worth the price of the book alone. Of special interest to collectors are several chapters devoted exclusively to the semi-automatic variations of the AK series, both pre- and post-ban imports, as well as a company-bycompany study of the American firms now producing new AK/AKM models. Additional chapters are devoted to AK accessories, ammunition, optics, 32 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JUNE 2011

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