front cover of Dog and Gun
Dog and Gun
A Few Loose Chapters on Shooting, Among Which Will Be Found Some Anecdotes and Incidents
Johnson J. Hooper, with an Introduction by Philip D. Beidler
University of Alabama Press, 1992
The least well known of Johnson Jones Hooper’s works, Dog and Gun was first published as a newspaper series, then appeared in six book editions between 1856 and 1871. Hooper is Alabama’s most celebrated antebellum author, and here he gives insight into the meaning of a culture where every male hunts – and a man who shoots as a gentleman will be assumed a gentleman. Beidler’s introduction to this reprint edition explores the social, literary, and technical dimensions of Dog and Gun, which he sees as an important commentary on class distinctions in the antebellum South, as well as a straightforward treatise on hunting.
Although the book is a manual for the hunter, with characteristic humor and a certain disdain, Hooper gives a full picture of the gentlemanly sport of hunting – clearly distinct from hunting for food – in all aspects including hunter, weaponry, and sporting dogs. He takes us back to an autumnal ritual of the hunt, where one is always a boy with his first gun – to the natural mystery of quest, competition, predation, pursuit, survival, bravery, endurance, and eventual defeat, called the mystery of the hunt.

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The Gun in Central Africa
A History of Technology and Politics
Giacomo Macola
Ohio University Press, 2016

Why did some central African peoples embrace gun technology in the nineteenth century, and others turn their backs on it? In answering this question, The Gun in Central Africa offers a thorough reassessment of the history of firearms in central Africa. Marrying the insights of Africanist historiography with those of consumption and science and technology studies, Giacomo Macola approaches the subject from a culturally sensitive perspective that encompasses both the practical and the symbolic attributes of firearms.

Informed by the view that the power of objects extends beyond their immediate service functions, The Gun in Central Africa presents Africans as agents of technological re-innovation who understood guns in terms of their changing social structures and political interests. By placing firearms at the heart of the analysis, this volume casts new light on processes of state formation and military revolution in the era of the long-distance trade, the workings of central African gender identities and honor cultures, and the politics of the colonial encounter.


front cover of Language of the Gun
Language of the Gun
Youth, Crime, and Public Policy
Bernard E. Harcourt
University of Chicago Press, 2006
Legal and public policies concerning youth gun violence tend to rely heavily on crime reports, survey data, and statistical methods. Rarely is attention given to the young voices belonging to those who carry high-powered semiautomatic handguns. In Language of the Gun, Bernard E. Harcourt recounts in-depth interviews with youths detained at an all-malecorrectional facility, exploring how they talk about guns and what meanings they ascribe to them in a broader attempt to understand some of the assumptions implicit in current handgun policies. In the process, Harcourt redraws the relationships among empirical research, law, and public policy.

Home to over 150 repeat offenders ranging in age from twelve to seventeen, the Catalina Mountain School is made up of a particular stratum of boys—those who have committed the most offenses but will still be released upon reaching adulthood. In an effort to understand the symbolic and emotional language of guns and gun carrying, Harcourt interviewed dozens of these incarcerated Catalina boys. What do these youths see in guns? What draws them to handguns? Why do some of them carry and others not? For Harcourt, their often surprising answers unveil many of the presuppositions that influence our laws and policies.

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Necessary Evil
Settling Missouri with a Rope and a Gun
Joe Johnston
Missouri Historical Society Press, 2014
From the Mormon Wars to the Border Wars to gangs of Bald Knobbers and Bushwhackers, Missouri’s reign of vigilante justice during the nineteenth century is unparalleled by any other state in the nation. Situated as the Gateway to the West, Missouri experienced an influx of new cultures, races, and political factions, while already home to a population of patriotic war veterans. The state marked the boundary of eastern civilization and was a stronghold of fierce independence, bordered by Bloody Kansas and Native American territories. With new lands opening for settlement, and a fledgling system of law enforcement, the people themselves were compelled to invent laws and punish transgressors. Lawmen opposed vigilantes but at times were forced to cooperate with them and adopt their methods. Missouri spawned countless stories of individual and mob violence that finally ended at the turn of the century with advancing technology and the people’s enduring insistence on decency and peace.

Necessary Evil is the first book to chronicle the implications of vigilantism in Missouri, ultimately showing that the state could never have been settled without a healthy dose of rebel justice. Packed with stories of popular gunslingers such as Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, and Jesse James, this action-filled read will be of interest to crime enthusiasts and historians alike.

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Paths of Fire
The Gun and the World It Made
Andrew Nahum
Reaktion Books, 2021
Type “Mikhail Kalashnikov” into Google and the biography of the inventor will come back to you almost at the speed of light. Squeeze the trigger of a Kalashnikov and a bullet is kicked up the barrel by an archaic chemical explosion that would have been quite familiar to Oliver Cromwell or General Custer. The gun—antique, yet contemporary—still dominates the world. Geopolitical events and even consumer culture have been molded by the often-unseen research that firearms evoked. The new science of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton owed much to the Renaissance study of ballistics. But research into making guns and aiming them also brought on the more recent invention of mass production and kickstarted the contemporary field of artificial intelligence. This book follows the history of the gun and its often-unsuspected wider linkages, looking from the first cannons to modern gunnery, and to the yet-to-be-realized electrical futures of rays and beams.

front cover of Patty's Got a Gun
Patty's Got a Gun
Patricia Hearst in 1970s America
William Graebner
University of Chicago Press, 2008
It was a story so bizarre it defied belief: in April 1974, twenty-year-old newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst robbed a San Francisco bank in the company of members of the Symbionese Liberation Army—who had kidnapped her a mere nine weeks earlier. But the robbery—and the spectacular 1976 trial that ended with Hearst’s criminal conviction—seemed oddly appropriate to the troubled mood of the nation, an instant exemplar of a turbulent era.
With Patty’s Got a Gun, the first substantial reconsideration of Patty Hearst’s story in more than twenty-five years, William Graebner vividly re-creates the atmosphere of uncertainty and frustration of mid-1970s America. Drawing on copious media accounts of the robbery and trial—as well as cultural artifacts from glam rock to Invasion of the Body Snatchers—Graebner paints a compelling portrait of a nation confused and frightened by the upheavals of 1960s liberalism and beginning to tip over into what would become Reagan-era conservatism, with its invocations of individual responsibility and the heroic. Trapped in the middle of that shift, the affectless, zombielike, “brainwashed” Patty Hearst was a ready-made symbol of all that seemed to have gone wrong with the sixties—the inevitable result, some said, of rampant permissiveness, feckless elitism, the loss of moral clarity, and feminism run amok.
By offering a fresh look at Patty Hearst and her trial—for the first time free from the agendas of the day, yet set fully in their cultural context—Patty’s Got a Gun delivers a nuanced portrait of both an unforgettable moment and an entire era, one whose repercussions continue to be felt today.

front cover of She's Got a Gun
She's Got a Gun
Nancy Floyd
Temple University Press, 2008
In 1991 Nancy Floyd bought her first handgun.  Soon she was participating in Ladies Day at her local shooting range and reading Women & Guns magazine.  In 1993 she began interviewing and photographing women who were fellow gun owners.  In 1997 she started researching "gun women" from the past to see how they were represented in the popular imagination.  Now she has brought her work together in a riveting new book, filled with remarkable photographs and candid first-person stories, accompanied by an eye-opening illustrated history of female gun ownership in America.

Sympathetic but unsentimental, Floyd presents gun-toting women young and old, including an eleven-year-old girl competing in her first gun competition, a woman whose grandmother was killed by an intruder, and a war veteran who experienced firefights while stationed in Iraq.  Whatever you might think about gun-toting women before you open this book, your preconceptions are sure to be shattered by the end.

front cover of They Both Reached for the Gun
They Both Reached for the Gun
Beulah Annan, Maurine Watkins, and the Trial That Became Chicago
Charles H. Cosgrove
Southern Illinois University Press, 2024

Examining the case that inspired a pop culture phenomenon

In 1924 Beulah Annan was arrested and incarcerated for kill­ing her lover, Harry Kalsted. Six weeks later, a jury acquitted her of murder. Inspired by the sordid event, trial, and acquittal, Maurine Watkins, a reporter at the time, wrote the play Chicago, a Broadway hit that was adapted several times. Through a fresh retelling of the story of Annan and of Watkins’s play, Charles H. Cosgrove provides a critical examination of the crim­inal case and an exploration of the era’s social assump­tions that made the message of the play so plausible in its own time. His careful historical research challenges the received portrait of Annan as a killer who got away with murder and of Watkins as a savvy cub reporter and precocious playwright.
In They Both Reached for the Gun, Charles H. Cosgrove expertly combines meticulous research into inquest transcripts, police records, and interviews with Annan’s relatives with detailed analysis to shed new light on the participants, the trial, and the subsequent play and musical. Although no one will ever know what really happened in the south side apartment one hundred years ago, Cosgrove’s interrogation shows how sensationalized Watkins’s writing was. Her reporting on the Annan case perpetuated falsehoods about Annan’s so-called “confession,” and her play gave an inaccurate portrayal of Chicago’s criminal justice system. Despite Watkins’s insistence that her drama revealed the truth about its subjects without any exaggeration, her play depicted police, prosecutors, and judges as the only “good guys” in the story, ignoring those who lied, misled, and used brutal methods to obtain forced confessions.


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