Cover image for Making a killing : the business of guns in America
Making a killing : the business of guns in America
Diaz, Tom.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton, [1999]

Physical Description:
258 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9744.F553 U63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The gun industry is the last unregulated manufacturer of a consumer product in America, with a level of secrecy that makes the tobacco industry look like a model of transparency. This text blows away the smoke and offers a provocative analysis of gun violence in American society.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The enduring tension between profit maximization and social responsibility figures in all three of these studies. Ex-journalist and congressional counsel Diaz is a senior policy analyst for the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., so it's no surprise that his history of the gun industry is less than admiring. Yet most Americans don't know much about the companies that manufacture the firearms they either own or fear or both, and Diaz's portraits of manufacturers, dealers, and promoters are enlightening. The author critiques "the spiral of lethality" as manufacturers have increased their products' "killing power," as well as the industry's marketing campaigns. The book closes with suggestions for "cleaning up the mess." Teenager Kielburger is clearly the youngest of these authors: in 1995 the Canadian was shocked by the murder of 12-year-old Pakistani child labor activist Iqbal Masih (himself a child-labor escapee) and formed the group Free the Children to get young people around the world involved in opposition to child labor. With the help of writer Kevin Major, Kielburger tells how the group was formed and describes his seven-week journey, with a young human rights worker, through Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Pakistan to see child labor conditions firsthand. Kielburger also discusses his efforts to define a role for young people in child-focused movements (and child-focused charities like UNICEF), and his 1998 return to India with eight other Free the Children members to participate in the Global March Against Child Labour. An appendix spells out how kids can get involved. Journalist-historian Tate has an interesting story to tell in Cigarette Wars: the first antismoking battle in the U.S. between 1890 and 1930. Tate examines the legal and social restrictions cigarette smokers faced a century ago; studies the arguments cigarette opponents used (including virtually all the positions current antismoking activists use); considers the impact of World War I and cultural trends such as urbanization and new roles for women after that war on the popularity of cigarettes; and discusses the multiple reasons, from internecine bickering to the need to replace government revenue once liquor sales were prohibited under the 18th Amendment, that this early antismoking movement fell apart. A fascinating sidelight on current controversies. --Mary Carroll