Here is armed America—a land of machine-gun gatherings in the desert, lederhosened German shooting societies, feral-hog hunts in Texas, and Hollywood gun armories. Whether they’re collecting antique weapons, practicing concealed carry, or firing an AR-15 or a Glock at their local range, many Americans love guns—which horrifies and fascinates many other Americans, and much of the rest of the world. This lively, sometimes raucous book explores from the inside the American love affair with firearms.
Dan Baum is both a lifelong gun guy and a Jewish Democrat who grew up in suburban New Jersey feeling like a “child of a bitter divorce with allegiance to both parents.” In Gun Guys he grabs his licensed concealed handgun and hits the road to meet some of the 40 percent of Americans who own guns. We meet Rick Ector, a black Detroit autoworker who buys a Smith & Wesson after suffering an armed robbery—then quits his job to preach the gospel of armed self-defense, especially to the resistant black community; Jeremy and Marcey Parker, a young, successful Kentucky couple whose idea of a romantic getaway is the Blue Ridge Mountain 3-Gun Championship in Bowling Green; and Aaron Zelman, head of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Baum also travels to New Orleans, where he enters the world of a man disabled by a bullet, and to Chicago to interview a killer. Along the way, he takes us to gun shows, gun stores, and shooting ranges trying to figure out why so many of us love these things and why they inspire such passions.
In the tradition of Confederates in the Attic and Among the Thugs, Baum brings an entire world to life. Written equally for avid shooters and those who would never touch a firearm, Gun Guys is more than a travelogue. It gives a fresh assessment of the heated politics surrounding guns, one that will challenge and inform people on all sides of the issue. This may be the first book that goes beyond gun politics to illuminate the visceral appeal of guns—an original, perceptive, and surprisingly funny journey through American gun culture.
About the Author
Dan Baum is the author of Nine Lives, Smoke and Mirrors, and Citizen Coors. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker and has written for Rolling Stone, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.
Praise for Gun Guys: A Road Trip…
“Dan Baum may be exactly what America needs right now: a liberal journalist with a gun.”—The Dallas News
“Vivid. . . . Schlepping among the gun lovers with this guy is unfailingly diverting as well as illuminating.”—Newsday
“[A] wonderfully guileless and open-minded guide to American gun culture. . . . [Baum] has done a public service.”—The Christian Science Monitor
"Baum sets out to understand what motivates so many Americans to be "gun guys"... [and] depicts these people and their different motives with genuine empathy."—New York Review of Books
“A thoughtful, well-reasoned antidote to the polarized hysteria that currently passes for a national gun debate. By the end of the book, Baum arrives at something that feels truly fresh: a middle ground on guns.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“As a writer, Baum doesn’t have it in him to lay down a dull sentence. (Gun Guys) is wise, considered, delectably written, fun to read and wholly lacking in tendentiousness.”—Bloomberg.com
“An accomplished nonfiction storyteller ... Baum's also more much articulate than the average gun-lover—or hater.”—Tampa Bay Times
“It is interesting and funny. But most of all it is enlightening.”--Beaufort Observer (North Carolina)
“His descriptions of the frequently awkward encounters are pitch-perfect.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“For every yahoo in the gun culture prattling on about world government there are nine guys (and girls) who simply like to shoot.”— The Wall Street Journal
“The strength of Baum's book is that he doesn't drink from the tap of conventional wisdom.”— The Gambit (New Orleans)
“A provocative, probing and frequently funny journey deep into the mentality of the approximately 40 percent of Americans who own guns.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“Thoroughly entertaining and provocative.”— Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Fascinating, intelligent... Gun Guys is a necessary, insightful”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Thank goodness we have Dan Baum to guide us through this morass.”— Chicago Reader
"Baum stretches across the divide like few others.”—Maclean’s
“A fascinating look at a part of our culture often vilified without recourse.” —Florida Times-Union: