GUNS OF THE OLD WEST: AN ILLUSTRATED SURVEY OF THE GUNS THAT INFLUENCED THE PIONEERING ERA OF THE OL
Author: Dean K. Boorman
Publisher: GLOBE PEQUOT ( THE LYONS PRESS, FALCON), Oct 2002
An illustrated history of the firearms that influenced the pioneering era. Used by pioneers, hunters, soldiers, lawmen, & the lawless. Color & B&W illus; 8x12 inches, 128 pgs.
In the remote parts of America's Western territories during much of the 1800s, law and order was overextended or even nonexistent. A man's best friend was often his gun, and it became an integral part of his life. Guns were used by some, such as hunters and settlers, for self-protection and their very salvation, and by others as a means to impose their will, legally or otherwise. There can be no doubt that the exploration and exploitation of the Western frontier that began in 1804 was inextricably linked to the development of the firearm. It is certainly true today that firearms are associated with the Old West more than with any other era of American history. That Old West period, which ended officially in 1890, saw gun design and manufacture improve dramatically, such that the "taming of the West" could be accomplished with grit and determination, and also with reliable firearms. It is not surprising to learn that very often those firearms were Colts or Winchesters, since these were the gunmakers who achieved more than most in technological development and manufacturing prowess, pioneering the revolver and the lever-action rifle, respectively. Both companies laid claim to the accolade "The Guns That Won the West," and with some justification. But there were many other gunmakers, of course, whose contribution to firearms development (and therefore the opening of the West) was significant. This fabulously illustrated book presents specially commissioned images of all the most important handguns and shoulder arms in use during those often exciting and certainly turbulent times. Within these pages are the pistols, revolvers, rifles, and carbines used by the hunters, the settlers, the lawmen, and the lawless, the military and the showmen. All are interestingly described in accompanying essays written by an acknowledged expert in the field.
The gun has long played a role in America's social and historical development, and understanding its part in the exploration and civilizing of the Old West is essential to any explanation of the continuing fascination with firearms. While their importance has often been obscured by an overexposure in movie and TV Westerns, as with all facets of historical and social expansion, guns were used for practical purposes rather than as symbols of power. Only later did the power of the pistol assume significance during the period when civilization imposed itself upon the so-called freedom of earlier days. In Guns of the Old West, Dean Boorman explains the development of the gun and its use in the Old West, from the early frontiersman using muskets for protection and hunting through its military service in the wars against Mexico and others, against Native American tribes, and by American against American in the bloody Civil War and range disputes, to its use by lawbreakers and law enforcers in developing towns and cities.
Guns of the Old West is a fascinating story, told with great insight by an expert author who separates fact from fiction; it is enhanced with more than 150 magnificent pieces of art ranging from contemporary photographs to dramatic paintings, as well as carefully photographed artifacts. This book makes an appealing choice for armchair historians, collectors, or anybody who is interested in learning more about our American heritage.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
"A fascinating, informative volume which is especially recommended for antique gun collectors & Western history buffs." -- Wisconsin Bookwatch
"Packed with illustrations, descriptions, & photos, rendering it a useful source for anyone interested in Western history." --New Mexico Magazine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dean K. Boorman is president of the Armor and Arms Club of New York, the "oldest club of collectors in the Western Hemisphere." He is also a longtime member of the prestigious American Society of Arms Collectors, and keeps several highly collectible Colts and Winchesters in his private collection. A well-known expert on various firearms, he has written for both the American Society of Arms Collectors and the Armor and Arms Club of New York, and is the author of well-received books on Winchester rifles and Colt firearms.