The book opens with a vivid picture of a violent robbery, using a Thompson submachine gun, or Tommy Gun. Then it plunges into the history of the famous weapon, starting with the Gatling gun during the Civil War and progressing into the development of the Tommy gun. Once the gun was finally perfected, the wars it was made for were over and the company was left with a superfluity of powerful machine guns. They marketed them to individuals and police departments, but it was the gangsters and criminals of the 1920s who made the "Tommy Gun" a famous weapon. Blumenthal weaves the beginnings of the NRA and the first attempts at legislative gun control, the development of police departments and the effects of Prohibition with grim stories of the role the Tommy gun played in criminal and racial killings. The concluding chapter explains how the Tommy gun fell out of favor and the ongoing effects of its development on gun control and culture.
This is written in a way that will be accessible to teen readers. More serious discussions of legislation and how the gun fits into history are interwoven with the stories of criminals and "G-Men" that caught people's fascination in the 1920s. Blumenthal presents the history neutrally, letting readers draw their own conclusions about how history has affected current controversies like gun control or the development of the FBI.
ISBN: 9781626720848: Published 2015 by Roaring Brook; Borrowed from another library in my consortium