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Firearms of the American West, 1803-1865.

Every so often an exceptional gun book is published. Firearms of the American West, 1803-1865, coauthored by Louis A. Garavaglia and Charles G. Worman, and published by the University of New Mexico Press, is definitely one of that breed. Although the subject matter covers a lot of ground, the authors have given it their full attention and have included all of the small arms used during the early years of our westward expansion--from flintlocks to metallic cartridge, rather than just the popularly accepted types and makes. Also, they relate how these firearms were used and, in many instances, by whom. Garavaglia and Worman, who are no strangers to writing historical articles (they have had many fine pieces published in leading arms magazines), have obviously spent years of research on this subject and have carefully planned this work. It is well written in a scholarly, yet entertaining way. Their style of writing is relaxed and interesting to follow; and with the careful but generous use of original diary and journal excerpts from explorers, military men and other contemporaries of the firearms covered, the text is very much alive. It's as if one were reading an adventure--which, when you think about it, is exactly what this work is all about. It offers true accounts of taming America's wild frontier. Most firearms books are designed to be read piecemeal--for research purposes--rather than from cover to cover as one would read a novel. However, with Firearms of the American West, I found that once I started reading, I was hooked and didn't want to put the volume down.

The graphics in this 402-page work are noteworthy. The overall size of this hardcover book is 9X12 inches, and it is profusely illustrated with goodsized quality photographs of original firearms and accoutrements, several interesting period photos and other eyecatching artwork.

I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in the guns of the early and how they were used. It is a refreshingly interesting volume that is full of reliable information. The authors deserve a vote of thanks from arms studients for this worthwhile effort. This compendium is sure to become a standard reference work in years to come. Priced at $37.50 postpaid in the U.S., Firearms of the American West, 1803-1865 is available from Dale Seppa, Dept. GA, 103 Sixth Avenue North, Virginia, MN 55792.
COPYRIGHT 1985 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Spangenberger, Phil
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1985
Words:392
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