Best Defense

4 questions from Tom about books: The global politics of firearms, the Army in Kansas, a history of copyright, & more

Is there a good book on the political history of firearms, from their invention to their apotheosis in America today?

Opperguncontrol

 

— Is there a good book on the political history of firearms, from their invention to their apotheosis in America today? I know there are some books about the United States and gun politics, but I am looking for something more global. I specifically am interested in whether there is a perceived relationship between democracy and firearms, and also if attempts to regulate their ownership have been seen as rooted in class differences. Yes, I know what Mao said about where political power comes from.

— Is there a strong but detailed account of how the U.S. Army tried to handle its role in Kansas in 1856-1861? I’m especially interested in Geary’s governorship. In some reading the other day I was struck by how important a political tool the census was. In a democratic system, it is the beginning of political power. (Speaking of which, has Iraq done a census since the Americans arrived in 2003? Seems to me that probably was the first thing we should have done, as soon as feasible.)

— Also, is there good global history of copyright? (I ask because I read the other day that we are coming to the end of the copyright era.) I am more interested in history than law. I found this book, but judging from the table of contents, it isn’t really the Braudelian overview I want to read.

— Also, who would be the best living novelist to write about this year’s presidential election campaigns?

Image credit: Frederick Burr Opper (1881)/Puck/Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum/Ohio State University/Wikimedia Commons

 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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