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The great rifle controversy.

The bitter struggle analyzed by Edward C. Ezell has serious implications not only for U.S. servicemen, but for the American general public as well. The story is mind boggling.

The reader is given a detailed, blow-by-blow account of the development of the M14 and M16 rifles and the massive furor they caused.

This excellent study has just two noticeable lapses. In the first half of Chapter One, the author attempts "a quick review of the troubled history of American small arms." Unfortunately, it is too quick and too superficial to do justice to this important subject, and it does not provide an adequate background to the main story.

Secondly, he skips over a key complication: deep-seated inter-service rivalry between the Army and Air Force whose shoulder arm requirements usually differ. Though initiated by Army officials, the M16 early became an Air Force-sponsored rifle after the Army rejected it. Secretary of Defense Robert S. MacNamara, a World War II Air Corps veteran and a Reserve Air Force officer, replaced the M14 with the M16.

Ezell otherwise covers his subject superbly and supports it with well-chosen, meaningful photos and charts.

This hardback 344-page, 6-inch by 9-inch volume is well worth its price. Suggested retail is $29.95 from your local book dealer or from Stackpole Books, P.O. Box 1831, Dept. GA, Cameron and Kelker Streets, Harrisburg, PA 17105.
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Author:Rutledge, Lee A.
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1985
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