Summary of The Gunning of America

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Gunning of America book summary


8 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


In the American imagination, Colt, Winchester, and Smith & Wesson guns are frontier legends, part of a pistol-packing ethos baked into the national psyche. The reality is messier, reports historian Pamela Haag in this study of the US armaments industry. She traces the way American gun manufacturers perfected gun production, and then cultivated a market at home and abroad. Gun control advocates will appreciate Haag’s take on the morality of commercializing lethal weapons, but the National Rifle Association posted a review on its website panning her book. Haag writes dazzling sentences, but sometimes strains to create a narrative that makes compelling reading. Even so, she uncovers fascinating material about the roots of the US gun business. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends her fresh look at the long-established, often misunderstood industry at the center of many contemporary policy discussions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How American gun manufacturers replaced gunsmiths,
  • How rifle makers weathered the boom and bust of the US Civil War, and
  • How increasingly lethal weapons led to the first attempts at gun control.

About the Author

Pamela Haag holds a doctorate in history from Yale University. Her work has appeared in American Scholar, Slate and The Times of London.



Not Marksmen, but Businessmen
Firearms and the Second Amendment to the US Constitution – assuring the right to bear arms – hold a vaunted place in national politics. The US media often describe citizens as having a centuries-old love affair with their weapons, depicting a strong relationship...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    History of Business
    Learn how today's markets and masters were shaped by yesterday's events and disasters.

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category