It is not every day you get the opportunity to review a book on the life and inventions of the grandfather of modern firearms or as the book refers to him,” the Thomas Edison of guns”. When I saw the chance to read all the way through the new book published by Simon & Schuster: The Guns of John Moses Browning by Nathan Gorenstein, I was ecstatic! Let’s dive right into the review.
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Specifications: The Guns of John Moses Browning
The Guns of John Moses Browning was published relatively recently, back in May. As soon as I received my copy, I tediously chipped away at all its contents and made sure to take the proper time to absorb the sheer multitude of information. My in-depth review is below just after some quick specs!
Author: Nathan Gorenstein
Date Published: May 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Number of Chapters: 13 Chapters (also Prologue & Epilogue)
Cover: Hardcover with sleeve
Illustrations: Yes ( 3 gun schematics)
Formats Available: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook, Audio CD
Book Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
Book Weight: 1.1lbs
The Guns of John Moses Browning is currently available at $28.00 on the book’s website. Otherwise, I have seen it in Barnes & Nobel and available on Amazon. It should be noted that prices vary depending on the retailer. On the book’s website, I found this particular chunk that I think is a quote touching close to the essence of the tone of the book:
Few people are aware that John Moses Browning—a tall, humble, cerebral man born in 1855 and raised as a Mormon in the American West—was the mind behind many of the world-changing firearms that dominated more than a century of conflict. He invented the crucial design used in virtually all modern pistols, created the most popular hunting rifles and shotguns, and conceived the machine guns that proved decisive not just in World Wars I and II but nearly every major military action since. Yet few in America knew his name until he was into his sixties.
First Impressions: The Guns of John Moses Browning
First impressions of the book were weary but not because of anything negative regarding the book. Growing up and being interested in firearms meant I wanted to learn more about them and their history. In my personal experience, there are a lot of sources out there that may not be all that trustworthy and people are too easily swayed by things that appear to be common knowledge but actually are not true. This book blew those jaded feelings away with how it explained impossibilities and common misconceptions to do with the man himself; John Moses Browning.
Tidbits: The Guns of John Moses Browning
One thing I noticed in this book was the quite frequent use of what I would call tidbits. There would be a really eloquent and well-versed set of pages and then it felt like suddenly you were thrust into a different story at times. At first, I found it kind of jarring. I got more and more used to it as the book went on because as a writer I realized one thing: John Moses Browning’s life story, although filled with exciting moments, was overall fairly mundane and the book tells you as much. He was an exceptional man but a quiet and polite one. It would be a lot more action-packed if John Moses Browning was a crazy huge jerk or a more aggressive dude. That being said, I eventually understood the tidbits and appreciated them. They were like little breaks talking about Sgt York and his 1911 moment or Audie Murphy and the M2 Browning Machine Gun. They were relevant, informative, and a nice break from talking about a man’s long life.
Simplistic and Systematic: The Guns of John Moses Browning
The flow of the book is very systematic and structured but in a way, I would say is somewhat uncommon. As the title implies (The Guns of John Moses Browning) it is going to have some gun talk. Rather than just a normal life story of an inventor, it takes each gun that John Browning made and uses it to talk about a chapter of his life. An example or two would be young John Browning’s family and their lives in Utah mixed with his first dabbling in gun making and also his later sporting and hunting life mixed with his new semi-automatic shotgun.
The book also delves into explaining how things work in a simple and understandable way. Whether it be what parts are called, how they function together, or even how military trials work, it was all explained very easily. That being said, I think this book does a good job of not alienating anyone unfamiliar with the subject matter at its base level.
Final Thoughts: The Guns of John Moses Browning
Overall I found the subject matter of this book feeling very sound. When there are guesstimates or conjecture it was stated and I appreciate that. The bottom line is I found this book honest. It was easy to read but took a little getting used to at the beginning like most books. By the end of it, I really did want more because of how much it felt like was still unexplored but looking back Nathan Gorenstein covered mostly everything. Some guns I would have liked to know more about like the Remington Model 8, for example, get glossed over and that’s alright because the road to that gun was paved by the Auto 5 and there probably was not much to talk about and what they had to say was said.
All in all, I am proud to say I have read this book and informed myself on multitudes of information that I was not previously privy to. It is gonna have a spot on my shelf and I definitely recommend it to anyone out there looking for some real deep diving information on the man who changed not just the world of firearms but the world itself. Nathan Gorenstein, well done! This book is a breath of fresh air and I am thankful that someone took the time to really talk in-depth about John Moses Browning.
In closing, I want to say thank you to Nathan Gorenstein for compiling such a great catalog of a great inventor’s life and for granting TFB and myself the opportunity to review it! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this book of valuable history is something worth spending your money on? Would you sit down with a warm cup of joe and give it a read? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
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