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Guns Of The American West

Dennis Adler, award-winning author and photographer, and contributing editor to Guns of the Old West magazine, has woven together enthralling tales of the guns and gunmen who made the Wild West wild. Beginning with the early western expansion and the California Gold Rush, Guns of the American West takes you through the development of America's most legendary handguns, rifles, and shotguns and the roles they played in our nation's history. As the Civil War erupts, the author follows the politics of a country divided and how North and South chose to arm their soldiers. In the aftermath of this great conflagration, Adler takes you step-by-step through the evolution of loose powder cap-and-ball revolvers, rifles, and shotguns to the conversion to self-contained metallic cartridges and the sweeping changes that resulted in firearms design. With a nation intent on its belief in Manifest Destiny, the author follows legendary lawmen, soldiers, and outlaws as America moves west in the 1870s and 1880s.

Hardcover: 324 pages

Publisher: Chartwell Books (September 1, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0785825509

ISBN-13: 978-0785825500

Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.8 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #241,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #82 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Firearms & Weapons > Firearms #10418 in Books > History > Americas > United States

Over the decades, I've read a lot of books on firearms...and a few of those are really outstanding...but it's only rarely that I am as positively impressed...excited, actually... as I have been by this glorious book. The book is primarily a collection of photographs, and those photographs are gorgeous. If you're interested in a book on this subject, you already probably see a lot of beauty in these old guns; but, Dennis Adler seems to have a special talent for magnifying and enhancing that beauty. Sharply-focused, well-illuminated, often highly-detailed pictures of wonderful old guns, many photographed against sumptuous backgrounds which not only avoid detracting and distracting from the guns pictured, but actually add historical meaning and context to them...this author has a talent for photography of guns (and cars too, or so I've been told) that I've not often seen before. And, the price: I'm accustomed to paying very high prices for good gun books, something I accept because I assume that the market for such books is too small for the publishers to recover their costs through high volume. Well, this book is for that same market, and it only costs $18 from (and, I think, $30 list), and it's as good as some of the best firearms books ever published. I've just received Vanderlinden's truly excellent book on FN pistols: invaluable text and great photos, but it cost $65 and it's all black & white (and Adler's "Guns of the American West" is in color, completely in should see the case colors on some of the SAAs.). I've just received Brunner's "The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols II": great photos, but this one costs $80(!), and wastes 78 of its 240 pages on a mindless, mind-numbing list of guns issued to generals.

I ordered this book expecting the ultimte story on the fascinating subject of Old West firearms. Indeed, the photographs of the guns discussed are absolutely stunning. No reader will be disappointed there. But just a quick scan at some of the photo captions revealed some frustrating annoyances: 1) in many multi-gun pictures, the exact location of each gun within the photo is not clearly called out in its caption; this is confusing, especially to those readers unfamiliar with the guns shown. It would have been much easier to find each pictured gun if the author had numbered each one, then included these numbers in his captions so the reader would know exactly where in the layout a particular gun is located. 2) Most of the gun photos include interesing period accouterments such as holsters, badges, documents, photos, etc. Sometimes the accompanying caption identifies these intriguing items, but at other times the caption ignores them. This, too, is frustrating, since in most cases these historic paraphernalia are as interesting as the pictured guns themselves. 3) A few captions contain factual errors. One, for example, states that a small medal shown with one pistol is the Medal of Honor, which it is not. In another, it is stated that Lt Col George A. Custer lost his entire regiment (the 7th Cavalry) at the Little Big Horn battle. In fact, only the five companies under Custer's immediate command were wiped out. Hundreds of troopers from the other companies survived the fight. Bottom line: from this first quick look at the book's photos and captions, I must reluctantly conclude that there are probably many more mistakes and frustrations in the captions that I didn't have time to find.

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