Cover image for Guns in America : a reader
Guns in America : a reader
Dizard, Jan E., 1940-
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 517 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV7436 .G878 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Firearms have long been at the core of our national narratives. From the Puritans' embrace of guns to beat back the "devilish Indian" to our guilty delight in the extralegal exploits of Dirty Harry, Americans have relied on the gun to right wrongs, both real and imagined.

The extent to which guns have been woven into our nation's mythology suggests that the current debate is only partly about guns themselves and equally about conflicting cultural values and competing national identities. Belying the gun debate are a host of related issues: contesting conceptions of community, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, and the locus of responsibility for maintaining order.

Guns in America documents and analyzes the history of firearms in America, exploring various aspects of gun manufacture, ownership, and use--and more importantly, the cultural and political implications which this history reveals.

Eschewing single-minded partisanship and emphasizing nuance and compromise, Jan E. Dizard and Robert Merrill Muth have assembled a diverse array of writings from all points on the ideological spectrum. The documents span the whole of American history, from Puritan sermons to contemporary NRA documents. The result is an indispensable panorama of the never-ending controversies over gun control, crime, hunting, and militias.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A trio of academics with expertise ranging from American culture to public policy administration have compiled this collection of scholarly and insightful essays tracing the position of firearms in our society. The uniqueness of the American Colonial and Revolutionary experience and the rugged nature of the American frontier combined to foster an attitude about guns and a prevalence of firearms unmatched by other Western industrialized nations. The problems posed by this historical legacy as it collides with our modern, more urban, and more civilized society are fully explored. Collectively, these essays point to a common conclusion: guns are here to stay. Even though the need for an armed citizenry has disappeared, the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights worded the Second Amendment in a deliberately vague manner so as to allow for a happy medium that provides for a modicum of governmental control and regulation over firearms without infringing on the individual liberties that gun ownership was supposed to protect. These essays are carefully researched and documented and yet written in a clear and lucid manner that could benefit either a college or general audience.√ĄPhilip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.