Blumenthal, Karen. Tommy: The Gun That Changed America. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press 2015 232p $19.99 ISBN 978-1-62672-084-8 ms/hs Nonfiction E-BN
The history of the Thompson submachine gun, which was conceived during World War I but did not see the light of day until the war ended, is detailed in this well-written, entertaining and informative book. Blumenthal begins by discussing the Gatling gun, the antecedent of the Tommy, and, using a zippy, upbeat writing style, she continues to discuss the creation and manufacture of the Thompson, gun-running to the Irish Republican Army, prohibition and the history of the bootleggers, Al Capone and 1920s and 1930s gangsterism, the FBI, and the legacy of gun violence in America today. Except for the prologue, the chapters follow a strict chronological order and each chapter is fascinating. It is incredibly interesting to read American history as told from the point of view of a piece of technology, and it should make the history that much more interesting for the reluctant reader. There are also plenty of black-and-white photographs illustrating every aspect of the history along the way, from the factories where the first Tommys were produced to stills of James Cagney playing Al Capone in the movies. The author also provides numerous references, notes, acknowledgements, picture credits, and a good index. Altogether a very satisfying read.
Summary: The history of the Thompson submachine gun, which was conceived during World War I but did not see the light of day until the day the war ended, is detailed in this well-written, entertaining and informative book.
Guns, Firearms --Carol Kennedy