Tuesday, October 28, 2008

American Rifle

I am currently reading Alexander Rose's American Rifle: A Biography. While on one level it is one of those history books that shows the impact of a small corner of history on the broader canvas, it provides a in-depth look at the development of rifles over time in the US.

For some it might be too detailed, but for those interested in how technology develops, this is a great and engaging study. Some view technology as a natural progression of increasingly improved devices. Development of the rifle in the was shaped by social factors, including the Westward spread of Europeans, political factors, including the sudden popularity of Daniel Boone and philosophical factors, including whether the ideal rifle should focus on accuracy or firepower.

This last debate is central to Rose's narrative and he nicely shows the shifting perspectives. Even as the larger debate might shift in one direction, powerful people at the Bureau of Ordnance could stall or quickly shift actual development another way.

More later.

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