Paths of Fire
If you squeeze the trigger of a Kalashnikov a bullet is kicked up the barrel by an archaic chemical explosion that would have been quite familiar to Oliver Cromwell or General Custer.
The gun, antique, yet contemporary, still dominates the world. Political and international structures and consumer culture have been moulded by research that firearms have provoked; the new science of Galileo and Newton owed much to the Renaissance study of ballistics as well as more recent mass production and artificial intelligence. This book follows the history of the gun from the first cannons, to modern gunnery, to Star Wars and the yet to be realised electrical futures of rays and beams.
'This is a brilliant book about guns which isn't about guns. Instead, it's about progress, intellectual and industrial, seen from a wholly original and convincing new perspective. Full of surprises, unexpected connections and portraits of remarkable figures from our recent history, I can recommend it without reservation.' - Andrew Marr 'Son of a gun! Andrew Nahum is no flash in the pan. But if I called him a hot shot, he would go ballistic. Indeed, the everyday prevalence of firearm metaphors reveals the deep resonance the gun has in culture. Nahum is a distinguished historian of science and technology, and he has written Paths of Fire with a nice combination of cool authority and gentle wit. It is a completely original study. Who cannot be engrossed by connecting Buffalo Bill to cybernetics, via Mikhail Kalashnikov?' - Stephen Bayley
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