When New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers went missing from the paper some months ago, the logical assumption was that he’d taken time off to write a book about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, both of which he has covered with distinction.
Instead, Chivers – a Pulitzer Prize winner and former infantry officer in the Marine Corps – has written The Gun, a biography of the AK-47, which has become “as fundamental to contemporary warfare as Microsoft operating systems are to corporate computing,” according to a Wall Street Journal book review.
Sheer numbers have made the AK-47 the world’s primary tool for killing—an “everyman’s gun,” Mr. Chivers calls it. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has for decades been a primary U.S. and international concern, and much press attention in recent years has been focused on the fashionable campaign against landmines. Mr. Chivers focuses our attention on an ordinary item that has been vastly more destructive and done more to define the character of warfare today than any other weapon.
Not to mention that the reporting done by Chivers from Iraq and Afghanistan has done more to define the character of warfare today than most other journalists.