When I was a little boy, reading matter was a staple on the family list of Christmas presents. As both primary gifts and “stocking-stuffers,” I did the same with my kids, and they do the same with theirs. This being mainly a gun blog, let’s look at some good reading for “gun guys and gals” on your gift list. Be warned: there will be some degree of controversy in each.
“Gun Guys: A Road Trip.” Author Dan Baum is a self-described left-wing liberal gun owner, who I think did his best to take an unprejudiced look at the whole gun ownership controversy. The book is insightful interviewing and participatory journalism in which the reader hears from those of us who carry, as well as those who hate guns. Like most impartial views of this complicated topic, he will manage to anger the hard-core advocates on either side, but I think a dispassionate reading will show that logic brought him, for the most part, to our side. (Which seems to be the usual outcome in unprejudiced analysis of this topic, but I digress.) Wherever the reader personally comes down on the issue, no one can expect to defeat an opponent they don’t understand, and Baum gives insight into the thinking of pro-gun and anti-gun people alike.
“The Third Bullet.” Stephen Hunter is one of my very favorite novelists. His fictionalized account of the JFK assassination, while I don’t see it as a template for reality, may be the most believable “conspiracy theory” yet to see print. I think it’s appropriate that it’s presented as fiction. It is, simply, a great read brought to us by a master of the writer’s craft.
“Dangerous Men.” Scott Ferguson is a lifelong student of human conflict in general and gunfighters of the Old West in particular. He is also a deeply-experienced instructor of defensive shooting and police officer survival tactics. Blending vocation with avocation, “Dangerous Men” is a study of gunfights and the people who fought them. From the OK Corral to the infamous “FBI Firefight” of 4/11/86, Scott reminds us that different historians have different takes on these events, but the takeaway lessons of tactics and the psychology of coping with mortal violence remain the same over the centuries. Excellent, insightful reading for anyone who keeps or carries a gun.
The first two are now out in paperback for affordable stocking-stuffers, as well as hardcover, Kindle and Audio. I’ve seen the first two on the rack at Barnes & Noble. Amazon has “Dangerous Men” in eBook form at their Kindle Store.